AP or IB?

The linked articles provide further rational for why IB is a beneficial program in creating a well-rounded student and human being.  They also showcase differences between AP and IB courses so that you can make the best decision for yourself or your student.  If you are trying to decide if IB is the right program, please take the time to read these well-supported and respected articles.  I have also provided excerpts from the articles that I found to be particularly helpful:

“Discover the Difference Between AP and IB Classes” by Alexander Pannoni in US News, 2 September 2014.

  • The educational objectives differ: AP courses tend to focus intensively on a particular subject, while IB courses take a more holistic approach.
  • IB students can earn an IB diploma: High schoolers who have embraced IB's global educational philosophy can elect to earn an IB diploma, which is recognized by colleges around the world.

    "What's nice about IB and the diploma particularly, is you're saying, 'Hey, I'm willing to challenge myself in areas of strength, but I'm also willing to challenge myself in areas where I'm not as strong as well,'" he says. 
  • Students can earn college credit with either: Both IB and AP classes culminate in an exam, and depending on the score, students may be able to earn college credit. 

“International Baccalaureate – Guided by a Mission” by the International Baccalaureate in Newsweek, 8 April 2016

What is so special about IB programs?

  • IB programs are recognized around the world and ensure an increased adaptability and mobility for IB students.
  • The curriculum and pedagogy of IB programs focus on international perspectives of learning and teaching, while insisting that students fully explore their home culture and language.
  • IB programs encourage a positive attitude to learning by challenging students to solve problems, show creativity and resourcefulness and participate actively in their communities
  • IB World Schools must undergo an exhaustive authorization process in order to offer one or more of the programs, which includes a study of the school’s resources and commitment to the IB mission and philosophy.
  • Many students graduating from the Diploma Program find that it enhances their opportunities at tertiary institutions. The IB works closely with universities around the world to gain recognition for IB programs.
  • The core components of IB programs encourage students to participate in creative and service-oriented activities, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of reflection on a personal and academic level. 

“International Baccalaureate – Setting the Standard in Excellence” by the Insight Educational Team published in Newsweek, 19 April 2017

  • Grounded in rigorous curricula, they encourage deep inquiry and relentless curiosity to develop students to be caring, courageous risk takers and critical thinkers. An IB education inspires young people to become lifelong learners, using their energy, conviction and positivity to engage with increasingly complex and interconnected global challenges. The foundational idea is that each one of us is responsible for the rest of us, and this understanding is a necessary basis for progress toward a more just and peaceful world.
  • The IB champions critical thinking and a flexibility for learning by crossing disciplinary, cultural and national boundaries. All IB programmes are driven by a commitment to multilingualism and international mindedness, and to action through service in the student’s own community and beyond. The IB encourages the curiosity inherent in every child, developing an attitude of constant questioning and a hunger for knowledge and understanding.
  • The organization creates their own, internationally-benchmarked assessment to ensure that students are challenged to think critically, rather than simply being able to recall knowledge. 

“Ten Reasons to Choose IB” published on the district website for Davis School District in Bountiful, UT, updated 2017

  1. It offers academic breadth and depth
  2. Graduates care about more than just results
  3. It creates independent learners who feel prepared
  4. It’s a genuinely international qualification
  5. Universities recognize it – and give credit for it
  6. The IB encourages critical thinking
  7. You’ll never need to learn time management
  8. It assesses more than examination techniques
  9. Subjects aren’t taught in isolation
  10. And here are 10 more…

    The IB learner profile offers 10 qualities underpinning the Diploma Programme and the learners who embrace it. From ‘open-minded’ to ‘balanced’, they form a framework for an international education that goes much deeper in meeting the needs of a changing world.

“Tips for Parents: AP vs. IB – Which is best for my kid?” by J. Matthews, published on Davidson Institute, 2011

“HOWEVER, and I capitalize that word for a reason, if your student is an 11th or 12th grader and you are choosing between AP and IB, in my mind IB is the better program. The principal reason is that it has significantly more emphasis on writing than AP. The IB exams, unlike AP, rarely have multiple choice questions. Students must answer in essay form and their answers graded by human beings. (Usually about half of AP exam questions are essays graded by human beings, but a good grade on that section can get the student a final top grade of 5 on the exam even if he misses most of the multiple choice questions.)”

“What’s Better for You: IB or AP? College Expert Guide” by Halle Edwards, published on PrepScholor, 1 April 2015.

“The programs have different goals, as well. IB has more emphasis on writing and developing critical thinking skills – and not just on the exams themselves. The IB diploma also requires the extended essay, a long, college-style research paper. The IB program also has extracurricular requirements.

“In contrast, the AP is program focused on teaching students specific content and testing their knowledge on the exams. There is more multiple-choice and emphasis on meeting certain content goals.”

“One thing to keep in mind is that the IB diploma shows you are challenging yourself in all subject areas, whereas with the AP program you could just pick subjects you are strong in. Colleges will notice this.”