What is This Talk of IB & Diploma?

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: January 2004 Archive: What is This Talk of IB & Diploma?
By Neelg01 (Neelg01) on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 03:13 am: Edit

Everyone here talks about getting IB and they have that and some diploma. What the heck are they talking about?

By Uncchlocalmayor (Uncchlocalmayor) on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 04:03 am: Edit

the IB diploma is something special, hehe.

By Binarystar (Binarystar) on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 04:03 am: Edit

It's an advance placement program similar to the AP. It's big outside the US, but it's spreading in the US as well. Instead of one year courses you take two year courses. The differences are subtle, I think.

For more info go here: www.ibo.org

By Wrinklefiber (Wrinklefiber) on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 05:35 am: Edit

The differences are subtle, but sweeping.

IB (International Baccalaureate) is a highly organized, comprehensive educational programme (as they call it; the formalistic tone is patently appropriate) taken in the fianl two years of high school. It is taught in one of three languages: English, French, or Spanish. It involves the completion of one class in each of the six major subjects (which are easy to figure out).

As in AP, May (or November for the Southern hemisphere) examinations are sent in, although they're scored from 1 (name and serial number successfully on paper) to 7. But, unlike AP, there is also some form of Internal Assessment that is made (papers, recorded presentations, portfolios, or combinations, depending on the subject) by the teacher, some scores of which are reevaluated by others to norm the teacher's grades (if the teacher scores consistently easy/hard on the 10 or so Internal Assessments from each class that are submitted to the reevaluaters, everyone's scores for that teacher are lowered/raised (often in brackets of low, middle, and high scoring students)). AP relies only on one test taken in May. Thus, one huge difference between IB and AP is that to take the IB test, you must have taken the class. It's a requirement.

Completing an IB course successfully in one subject can earn you a certificate for that subject; however, to complete the IB diploma, even more involvement is required. A person must take six IB courses, 3 Standard/Subsidiary Level (SL) and 3 Higher Level (HL), or 2 SL and 4 HL. SL courses (usually) are one year long, while HL courses span two years, with the test at the end of the second year.

Also included, beyond the scope of individual classes, is an Extended Essay of approximately 4000 words and a Creativity-Action-Service community service requirement (50 hrs from each category for a total of 150 required CAS hours). Internal Assessments and Extended Essays are sent around the world; May/Nov tests go to Geneva, I believe, and then are redistributed; and CAS logs go to Cardiff. I believe that at least some of this might go through regional offices in places such as New York and Singapore, but I am uncertain. This program is supported by a huge but surprisingly efficient bureaucracy.

Anyway, a school must have special approval (including visits from Geneva HQ staff and evaluations and pre-formed curricula and such) before it can have IB.

As regards it versus AP: IB is more invloved, more comprehensive, usually more work, and arguably much, much harder (case in point: even the best-organized, hardest-working folk (which is not necessarily to say smartest - everything in IB is rubric-based, so rubric-workers win out over quality) can only manage a seventh IB class, as "insurance," whereas I believe I've heard reports of persons taking 20+ APs.).

Unfortunately, IB is also less well rewarded by colleges: whereas every good AP score is worth credits, often only the HL exams will get you anything. This is, I think, a completely unfair system, as IB is at the very, very least matched with AP on a one-to-one basis, but there are no credits to be had for one-year IBs as there are in AP. While internationally, APs can sometimes be regarded (I hear) as dinky compared to IB, stateside IB is the misunderstood and ignored yonger child.

That's my brief assesment of IB, given what I know of it from my IB experiences. If you want information geared toward bewildered parents (for my school in particular), I recommend you visit www.sanjuan.edu/schools/miraloma and look for the IB Parents' Handbook. Or the IBO link the previous poster offered.

Just as a note, I mean no ill will against AP students or their tests or curricula, in case it comes off that way. I have respect for those tests, and having taken the two my school offers, I know they're not necessarily a cakewalk. And my school quite obviously favors IB courses, so my assessment of their relative diificulties might be skewed.

Still, I hope my summary and comparison helps.

By Warriorlax22 (Warriorlax22) on Sunday, January 04, 2004 - 09:07 pm: Edit

here's how i think of IB: it's an int'l AP.

By Jacknjill (Jacknjill) on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 11:36 am: Edit

well, here's how I think of IB: it's a harder and more prestigious version of AP's...

By Intb (Intb) on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 12:53 pm: Edit

my school only offers IB courses, and the sad thing was that it ties u down in ur course selection

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 04:07 pm: Edit

SL courses are generally two years. Further, successful completion of the IB usually requires that you begin preparing for it in middle school.

For the description of the IB program at an international school in Washington DC go to:
http://www.wis.edu/academics/. This school is accredited by the IBO from primary through secondary school. Learning is cumulative and aimed toward obtaining the IB diploma.

My son has an bilingual IB diploma and he was given 24 general education credits by his college based on his HLs, language AP, and having an IB diploma. The IB program doesn't require rote factual memorization. Rather it stresses critical thinking/analysis, writing and language skills, and understanding cultures different than your own. Many courses particularly at the primary or middle school level are taught in languages other than English.

It makes for especially well-educated and thoughtful young people.

By Davidrune (Davidrune) on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 04:20 pm: Edit

Sadly Tsdad, you have been mis informed.

Succesful completion of the IB program does not require preparation beginning at middle school.

My school only offers the IB diploma at the high school level, and we have consistently maintained an average higher than the world average. With one or two perfect scores each year.

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 06:13 pm: Edit

No doubt the IB can be done in 2-years. But why would you want to do that? If you just devote two-years to the IB you miss the whole point of the program. It's not about getting high scores. Force feed yourself an AP program if your only interested in scores. It's about learning to think and learning to analyze and evaluate information, and about seeing the links in disparate information, and learning to value those different than you. That takes a comprehensive program beginning with the primary years program, proceeding through the middle years program, and then to the IB. Take a look at the last q and a below describing the middle years program.

From the website of the IB North America, part of the IBO:

What preparation do students need in order to succeed in the Diploma Programme?

"Students prepare for the Diploma Programme in a number of ways. Many IB schools
have created ďpre-IBĒ programmes, designed to assist students in developing a solid
background in such subjects as languages and mathematics. Another excellent
preparation for the Diploma Programme is the IBOís Middle Years Programme, which,
besides providing a solid academic foundation, helps students develop their sense of the
connections between subject areas."

What is the Middle Years Programme?

"The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is an educational framework that requires students
to study in eight subjects (literature taught in the studentís native language, foreign
language, social studies, science, math, arts, physical education and technology) in each
of the five years the programme lasts. Local, state, provincial, or national curriculum
requirements are the basis of each subject's content. Teachers present their curriculum
focused through the MYPís Areas of Interaction, so that instructional strategies change,
rather than the subject content. The model embodies three fundamental concepts:
communication (valuing language acquisition in at least two languages); holistic learning
(finding the connections across and within the subjects and grade levels); and
internationalism (a growing understanding of a studentís own culture coupled with an
understanding and appreciation of other cultures)."

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