THE AP/IB DECISION – Which one to choose . . .
With quotations from this publication: (Katelyn Williams and Katarina Gregurich, “Uncovering the Truth: AP, IB,” Sandscript (CHS school newspaper), November 20, 2014)
Chesterton High School is proud to be able to offer both AP classes and the IB Diploma Program. These two options were never meant to be enemies, but rather, different choices for students in grades 11 and 12. When filling out an application for admission to college, expect this question: “Did your school offer the IB diploma, AP classes, or dual credit; if so, which of these did you opt to do?” The answer speaks volumes to the college about the learner as these are all choices beyond the general high school diploma. The IB diploma is an “extra” high school diploma awarded by IBO. Most IB diploma students receive the academic honors diploma at graduation and then later, when scores come in, the IB diploma from IBO.
Advanced Placement classes may be chosen individually and in any combination. For example, a student may choose to take AP English as his/her only AP class, or a student may choose to take 4 or more AP classes. As Mr. Lowery explains it, “AP is a buffet style of choosing classes. You take only what you want.” It is perfect for the student who might want a concentration of electives in one area and can’t fit in the 6 courses required of the IB diploma program.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is just that, a program of courses much like a college program of classes leading to a degree. “It’s like ordering the meal that comes with some foods you may not particularly like, but that you know are good for you.”
Scores on AP tests (1-5) are granted by the College Board. One test is taken in May at the end of the course, and the score that is later submitted to a potential college may or may not result in advanced college credit. Credits awarded in college are left to the discretion of the admitting university.
One teacher said, “If the goal is to accumulate college credits, maybe the dual credit classes should be considered, too, as they result in the student having a college transcript that can be taken to the student’s chosen college for consideration.”
The scores in IB courses are granted by the International Baccalaureate World Organization. An individual subject score (1-7) is comprised of a project (or an oral recording for English and world languages) graded by the CHS teacher and then submitted to IBO for review and two (or sometimes three) different test papers taken in May. Depending on the overall subject score, like AP, the score may or may not result in advanced college credit by the student’s chosen college.
A former student said this about the IB program: “I felt like IB wanted to know what I knew and not what I didn’t. On the tests we were given several essay questions, asked to choose one, and I then had a chance to write what I knew about that particular choice. I also didn’t enroll in the IB diploma program to get college credit. I wanted to go to Yale. I liked learning, and I wanted the challenge of having choices in my learning, learning through projects, and collaborating with others in my classes. That’s why I chose IB.”
“Both AP classes and the IB program classes are very rigorous,” says Michele Dailey, a guidance counselor. “They are the highest level courses [available to students here], so students need to consider the workload that they’ll have and whether or not they have previously completed work that supports them so they can move on to that higher level. Some benefits are that all the classes are weighted; they also are nationally recognized programs.” Mr. Uehling teaches both AP and IB English and says, “AP and IB are labeled as non-traditional types of learning. They both teach in-depth skills that are meant for college readiness. They both have served as models for what the federal and state governments are using to dictate standards for what students need in order to be successful at the college level.” AP classes are under the direction of the College Board in the United States. IB is recognized globally and is under the direction of the International Baccalaureate World Organization.
The IB program was originally developed to establish unified goals and achievement objectives that could operate globally. Today IB programs are in place in 147 different countries. If the family of an IB student in the US moves to a country that also offers IB, the intention is that the education is seamless.
A large component to consider when comparing the two is classroom environment and teaching approaches. “AP classes have more discussions and require a higher level of thinking and the ability of practical application of the information you learn,” said Dan Paff, AP science teacher. Mrs. Dean, IB psychology teachers says, “Instead of my giving out information, students read ahead of time and then we talk about various issues in psychology. I love the IB format of going deeper, so you’re not just learning facts, but you’re taking it to the next level, and that’s more challenging.”
There are test fees for both AP and IB. In the 2014-15 school year, AP test fees are approximately $90 per test and IB tests fees are approximately $110 per test. The IB diploma program requires a registration fee of $160. IB fees are spread out over several months each school year.
The mission statement of IBO serves to identify its greater unifying intent: . . . “to recognize that individuals, with their differences, may also be right.” In all IB classes, there is recognition of these two components: “international mindedness” and “theory of knowledge.” We live in a global society, and our students may someday live or work in another country. The IB diploma program offers students insight and recognition of people in the world through the curriculum in all IB classes.