IB and AP
We are frequently asked what the difference is between International Baccalaureate (IB) classes and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. First, here are a few similarities:
1. Both programs offer chances for ambitious high school students to work at a collegiate level on specific subjects.
2. Both programs offer rigorous exams in May of each year.
3. Both programs can earn advanced standing for students in certain colleges.
The differences are subtle, but important:
1. IB is as much a philosophy as it is an academic enrichment program. This means that IB students are expected to reflect upon what they learn in all their classes and to see connections between the classes.
2. IB students, in order to sit for an IB exam, must complete a major class assignment known as an Internal Assessment. These are often research papers which challenge students to draw connections between what they've studied and the world around them.
3. IB requires its full diploma students to complete three additional requirements that AP students do not face:
a. Theory of Knowledge - a class designed to teach critical thinking and writing skills
b. Creativity, Action and Service - an hourly requirement in which students document community service, artistic involvement and physical activity
c. The Extended Essay - a 4000 word research paper on a subject chosen by the student.
Our experience with both IB and AP over the years has convinced us that IB students are expected to work at a very high academic level, but also to understand themselves in a global context. The IB Mission Statement explicitly mentions this global context:
The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.