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Source: IB & AP

IB - A Holistic Education

What is the International Baccalaureate?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) is a rigorous preuniversity program leading to assessments in six subject areas. Established in 1968, the IB offers a challenging curriculum noted for its depth and its international perspective. The two-year IB Diploma provides a coherent and demanding educational experience across the full curriculum. Beyond completing college-level courses and examinations, IB students are also required to engage in community service, individual research, and an inquiry into the nature of knowledge.

 

The IB Diploma is accepted as an admissions credential at universities in 102 countries. In addition, high scores on IB exams often entitle students to credit or placement at university. IB courses and exams are offered at 1,217 schools in 113 countries. 

What is the IB Diploma?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma, based upon best practices from national systems of education around the world, was designed to provide students from all countries an education credential that could be understood by universities in any country. IB assessment is varied, authentic, and takes place over the entire course of IB instruction. It culminates in a series of examinations, which were offered in 157 different subjects in 2001. These subjects are drawn from the following six subject groups:

  • Language A1
  • Language B, Language A2, Ab Initio
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Experimental Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts

Full IB Diploma students must study one course from each of the first five groups, plus either an Arts course or an elective from Groups 1-5. In addition, all diploma candidates must fulfill three central requirements:

  1. Theory of Knowledge, an externally assessed course that contrasts ways of knowing in all six subject areas;
  2. Extended Essay, an externally assessed, independent research project of 4,000 words in one of the six subject areas;
  3. Creativity, Action, Service (CAS), active involvement in community service, artistic, and physical activities that fulfills eight learning outcomes. 

IB assessments are scored on a 1-7 scale, with up to three additional points available for exemplary work on Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. To earn an IB Diploma, a student must achieve a minimum total score of 24 points without any failing conditions.

What is the Advanced Placement Program?

The Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a challenging academic program designed to provide motivated high school students with college-level academic courses. Established in 1955 by the College Board, the AP Program is a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. High school students who complete AP courses demonstrate their mastery of subject material by earning qualifying grades on AP Examinations. 

 

AP is considered a standard for academic excellence in the United States, where nearly 60% of secondary schools participate in the program. AP courses with qualifying exam grades are accepted for credit, advanced placement, or both, by most American colleges and universities. In addition, AP courses and exam grades are used in the admissions process in nearly 300 universities outside the United States. 

What similarities exist between the AP and IB programs?

  1. Both are rigorous programs devoted to educational excellence; each program sets high performance standards for students and faculty.
  2. Both programs involve dedicated and creative teachers committed to their students, their disciplines, and their profession.
  3. Both programs attract highly motivated students who wish to excel academically and attend the most selective colleges and universities.
  4. Both programs provide for articulation with middle-school curricula, IB through its Middle Years and Primary Years Programmes, and AP through its Pre-AP program and its K-12 initiative.
  5. Both programs have attracted the attention of international educators, educational policy-makers, and the general public as ways to improve the quality of education around the world.
  6. Both programs value students doing independent research, thinking, and writing. IB students are expected to produce a 4,000-word Extended Essay as a formal requirement of the IB Diploma. 
  7. In support of the academic programs, both AP and IB offer extensive professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators worldwide.