On the Spot: Higher Level, Standard Level IB math courses combine (with video)

Hannah Sigler and Heather Lee


Sydney Rowe

Coppell High School IB math teacher Ian Vanderschee teaches his 6th period Standard Level and Higher Level math class in preparation for a test. Recently, HL and SL courses have combined due to difficulty students were having completing their course requirements.

Nicolas Reyes, Staff Writer

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Coppell High School (CHS) recently underwent a change in the scheduling of its math courses. The Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (CL) classes combined due to the difficulty many students were having in fitting in their IB math requirement with other IB requirements. 

This arrangement provides students with a wider variety of options to take their math requirement. 

“The main reason I combined the classes is that with so little IB students it is hard to schedule them into the proper math classes with all of their other classes,” IB math teacher Ian VanderSchee said. “I didn’t want my class to be the reason that they might have to drop out of IB all together.” 

The merging of the two classes has not changed the curriculum as some might fear. 

“The combination didn’t necessarily change the curriculum but it did change how I deliver the curriculum,” VanderSchee said. “There’s a lot of overlap between HL and SL in that HL is doing everything that SL is doing and more.”

However, the curriculum is not always the same, which is why VanderSchee has implemented a unique style of teaching.

“I present all of my lectures in video format,” VanderSchee said. “That way they can watch them at their own pace and I can work individually with each student whether they are in HL or SL.” 

Many students have easily transitioned into the combination of HL and SL. It has helped develop a culture of teamwork. 

“Having the HL kids in the class has been a pretty smooth transition. We haven’t really gotten to the point where HL kids and SL kids have separated into their different subjects yet so we aren’t completely sure of the system yet,” senior Theodore Whapham said. “This will be beneficial for the SL kids because the HL kids are more likely to understand what is going so the SL kids can piggy-back off them so they can better understand the concept”.

Likewise, HL students have found benefits to the new class arrangement.

“Even though some people think it’s a one way street with the HL kids teaching the SL kids that’s not always the case,” senior Abhishek Mishra said. “The SL kids bring up a lot of interesting viewpoints the SL kids might not have considered. It’s a two-lane street.”

This year, both classes will be operating under the 6.0 GPA scale. Yet this has not stopped students from wanting to take the more challenging course. 

“I took HL instead of SL even though the GPA scale is the same because it is harder mathematics and the field I’m going into, Aerospace Space engineering, requires students to be comfortable with complicated math,” Mishara said. 

Follow Nicolas @nico_reyes19.