The Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs are both considered the highest level of courses a student can take in high school in the United States.
Both programs are revered by colleges and universities, and in recent years, as the understanding of the IB program has grown in the United States, it has become a preferred curriculum for many post-secondary institutions because of its similarity to university-level learning and teaching methodologies. AP is still accepted at most colleges and universities, as well.
Both programs offer opportunities for students to receive post-secondary credits once enrolled at a college or university. The IB program is more widely accepted in countries outside the United States, especially in Europe.
Advantages of IB. The IB program is not solely about academics; it also challenges students to enhance their personal growth. IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students with strong character and a global mindset. IB students often indicate that they have gained excellent time-management skills and other critical attitudes needed for academic and personal success.
The IB program increases understanding of languages and cultures and explores globally significant ideas and issues in each subject area. Subjects are not taught in isolation. https://thelearningcentr.com/ib are interdisciplinary and connect learning across the curriculum. The IB program is a liberal arts approach to education. Students must study two languages, math, science, individuals and societies, and the arts. There is both depth and breadth.
A unique part of the IB program is the requirement of three core courses for full diploma status: the theory of knowledge (TOK) course, the extended essay (EE) research project, and the creativity, action and service (CAS) component.
Through the TOK course on critical thinking, students make connections across traditional disciplines and explore the nature of knowledge. They inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.
In the EE, students undertake in-depth research into an area of interest through the lens of one or more academic disciplines. And through CAS, students enhance their personal and interpersonal development. Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking. Action seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. The service aspect offers an avenue for new learning that supports academic development.
Finally, in terms of assessment, students have multiple opportunities in each course to “show what they know” using various modes of communication and formats. The IB program is not about memorizing and guessing from a list of answers, but about truly understanding the material at a deeper level.
Advantages of AP. The College Board states: “The purpose of these classes and tests is for students to earn college credit while in high school. Advanced Placement exams began in the 1950s as a way for students to stand out on their college applications, and they are still growing strong as kids prepare for a competitive market. The tests are offered in 34 subjects, which range from biology, statistics and psychology to art history and studio art drawing.”
Many AP classes in high school are given extra “weight” and thus increase a student’s GPA if she or he performs well. Taking AP courses not only offers a high level of academic learning, but it can also save families money for college and university. At most colleges, students receive some sort of class credit for AP exam scores of 3 and higher (exams are scored from 1 to 5). This credit often goes toward introductory-level college courses in the same subject.
With the option to skip some introductory classes, AP students can choose to graduate early. Further, AP students often find more flexibility in their scheduling at college because they can jump right into many courses that speak to their interests and career objectives.
Because of the accelerated speed of an AP class and the higher-level learning that occurs, many college admissions counselors find AP students well prepared for college-level learning. These students have shown that they can handle a fast-paced, academically challenging program, and that will serve them well in their post-secondary educational pursuits.
How does a student evaluate whether the extra effort and work will be worth it? If a student is self-motivated and committed to her or his studies, any higher-level academic program will be worth it in terms of college and university placement and overall preparation for the next academic step.
Both IB and AP are very rigorous courses that colleges like to see on high school transcripts. If the goal of a student is to get into a top college, both programs will give the student an advantage and possible credit for work completed.