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IB Highlights: The IB vs AP

IB Question of the Week: What is the difference between IB and AP? (This is simplified…)

Structural Differences:
IB is an integrated program of study
• Critical thinking (within classes and in TOK class)
• Emphasis on writing skills (must write a 4,000-word essay)
• Essay exams, free response
• Must take the class in order to take the exam
• Must take entire program of courses (6 of them) + the Core to earn diploma
• End-of-year IB tests are graded according to how well your exam demonstrates mastery of the stated course objectives. The criteria for each class is identical – regardless of where you register for it. Grading is conducted by a team of experts whose work is closely monitored to ensure that the assessment is consistent between students.

AP allows students to choose from an “a la carte” menu
• Content based
• Very limited time to teach writing and research skills in an AP course
• Multiple choice 50% and essay exams 50%
• Don’t need to take the class to take the exam
• For most AP Exams, your score is a weighted combination of your scores on the 2 sections, multiple choice and free response. Some AP courses have assessments that include other scored components.

Philosophical Differences:
The IB classes take a more international focus than AP courses. “In an AP class, you may look very deeply at an issue and look at it from multiple perspectives,” says Matthew Nelson, director of advanced academics for Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee. “In IB, it would probably be more…. You may be looking at an issue over time and how it has impacted other parts of the world and how there is that connectivity to it all.” (Information was obtained from an article in US News and World Report dated Dec. 4, 2019.)

EE Highlight: The junior class is continuing their Extended Essay process. Students have chosen their topics and are refining their questions as they continue their research. Here is a video that is shared with the juniors on How to Develop a Research Question. And here’s a quick example of the Evolution of a Research Question that is shared with students.

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for Upper School students include shoveling a driveway for a grandparent, preparing and serving a Valentine’s dinner, and horseback riding.