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IB vs. AP any thoughts?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Mrs. VR, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Mrs. VR

    Mrs. VR Sharon, you will be missed.

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    Anyone have any thoughts or opinions on the benefits of an IB path, vs. an AP path in high school? Anyone have any personal experience with either as it relates to college or real life? Thanks!
     
  2. Gino

    Gino Millennium Member

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    High school science teacher here. My school does not have an IB program, but I know people who teach in it, and students who have taken the IB track.

    AP classes are pretty tough. The IB program is even tougher. It seems like kids that go IB have to give up all extra-curricular activities, in order to keep up with their studies. If a kid is into a sport or band, they'll prob have to stop if they go for the IB program.

    IMHO, kids need the extra-curriculars to become a well-rounded person. It just seems to me that AP should be sufficiently challenging to most higher-level high school students. Now if the kid is a genius, then maybe he/she needs the rigor of an IB program, but I see it as a program pushed by schools to make themselves look good, at the expense of their student's well being.
     

  3. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Depends a little on what you're looking for, and what the school(s) under consideration are offering.

    As I'm sure you know, the biggest difference is that AP is generally a one-class-at-a-time offering. You can elect to take AP History, or AP Math or any other course in any combination. Most colleges award credit for getting a 4 or 5 on the AP exam for any subject.

    IB is in general a comprehensive curriculum, though more schools are starting to offer it with more class-by-class options. But it's really designed for a student to take everything together, and to get the whole IB degree. IMHO (I'm an instructor at a large public research university, but not in any way involved with admissions), getting the full IB degree is a mark of high accomplishment, but some colleges/universities get snooty about kids who don't complete the entire IB degree. It's also notoriously difficult to predict what kind of credit a college will grant for IB courses.

    In general, I'd say that AP is 'better', in terms of being 'more straightforward', 'easier to live with', and offering more flexibility. You'll probably end up with considerably more college credit also. IB is probably a better 'whole program', and for a kid who is really looking to max it out academically, it's a great program. But all other things equal, I'd tend to point people towards AP, just for 'ease of use'.
     
  4. Mrs. VR

    Mrs. VR Sharon, you will be missed.

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    I really appreciate the input!
     
  5. Critias

    Critias Freelancer CLM

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    I did AP stuff in high school, but only for English (somewhat ironically, I hated History in high school). It's well worth it, in my opinion, but it all comes down to how interested/motivated the student in question is.

    You can shave some real time off come college (general studies can get knocked clean outta the park), but at the same time it does add some additional pressure to their later years of high school -- even more expensive standardized tests being taken on top of regular ACT/SAT/whatever stuff, in order to reap the benefits. And, in a way, getting credit for several of those survey-level courses means making the Freshman year of college a little tougher, by missing out on the experience of taking those shotgun-blast-of-knowledge type of classes (which exist largely in order to help students transition from high school to college level courses).

    I was able to work hard on one AP area and still juggle Scouting and Church to go along with school. I can't imagine having been able to do so in multiple disciplines, or with more difficult course material (IB stuff).

    Really, it all comes down to the kiddo in question, and how they'll deal with extra tests to juggle, and then getting "bumped" up a difficulty notch right out of the box when they start at a university. Knowing your kids, I'd say they'll be fine.
     
  6. ruhroh

    ruhroh

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    I went through IB, and I recommend it, if nothing else it's good GPA inflation.

    So here's what I gathered, in a grossly simplified manner: IB classes learn a wide range of materials and then some, whereas AP classes learn most but go more in-depth on the sections that they learn.

    AP or IB, can't really lose. The IB/AP exams are good ways to get college credit before college. Don't know if the reverse is true, but I took the IB exams and was able/allowed to take the AP exams for free as well. I went into college a full semester ahead credit-wise while some of my friends entered into college as sophomores.

    Prepare the kid for sleepless nights though. Doesn't help that most projects/reports are due the same week before holiday breaks.
     
  7. Mrs. VR

    Mrs. VR Sharon, you will be missed.

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    To be totally honest, we weren't really expecting to even HAVE this choice! I know, there are a LOT worse problems to have!! :rollingeyes: :supergrin:
     
  8. brboyer

    brboyer

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    My daughter went AP on advise of a highly trusted family friend/school counselor. She also went to a 'magnet' only school. In Florida we have 'magnet' schools in that they have one special area of study to 'attract' students, but they are 'normal' neighborhood schools that everyone goes to. Even if it's not in your zone, you can go there for the magnet offering.

    One school in our area was strictly magnet. Had to apply to attend. Very high admission requirements: GPA, essays, test scores, teacher and community recommendations, etc. She wanted what they had to offer - Pharmacy.

    The family friend explained that IB would be a little more difficult for her but would severely limit extra curricular activities. We did not want that, so AP it was. This is the same reason we did not enroll her in the Gifted program in elementary school.

    Well, anyway she ended up in a lot of extra curricular activities: Band dance team, Student Government, BETA and others. Got an opportunity to spend a summer working at the VA in a special program for high achieving students working with and studying spinal injuries; clinical studies at Moffit Cancer Center, area pharmacies and hospitals, spent a lot of time at a local nursing home working with Alzheimer's/terminal patients and was one of two students from her school that attended the Broyhill Leadership conference in NC. All these activities gave her unprecedented exposure to people from all walks of life, areas of study, life, death and living that many people do not get to see in their entire lives. Overall she ended up having over 1,000 volunteer hours by graduation.

    Sorry for the Proud Daddy rant, but I firmly believe that these extra curricular activities helped her develop into the caring, bright, intelligent, loving, confident, self-sufficient young adult that she is today. :thumbsup:

    I do not think the IB program would have allowed her the time to develop the social and other non-academic skills that are so necessary for young ladies today.
     
  9. Critias

    Critias Freelancer CLM

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    Nothing to apologize for (not that's it my thread, but who's counting?) -- you're allowed to be proud!
     
  10. UTKEngineer

    UTKEngineer

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    I didn't read the other responses so please forgive me if my post is pointlessly repetitive. That being said:

    I took all the Math/Science AP courses offered at my high school and was thankful pretty much every day of my undergrad career for that choice.

    I took Calculus I and II in HS with one of the best instructors I've ever had. I got to take these courses with a dedicated instructor as opposed to an ESL grad student with LOADS of other responsibilities. I had more one-on-one time w/ my HS Cal teacher than any of my classmates got from their college level math professors. My ChE department head/unit ops instructor made a comment to me once that I clearly had a better Calculus education than most of the rest of the class. Obviously, most of the rest of the class took Cal I and II at the college.

    I also got to take Cal III hnrs as a 1st semester freshman which allowed me to take the higher level chemistry and physics classes earlier. This prevented me from having the really hard engineering classes at the same time I had the really hard tech electives. The added flexibility in my schedule helped me graduate a little earlier and arrange my course load to my desired level of difficulty.

    I also took AP Chem, Econ, and US History but did not sit for the tests at the recommendation of my instructors. Basically, other schools had multiple semesters of each while my school only had one thereby putting us at a disadvantage on the test.

    Still, taking those classes was a good choice for me. Most of the kids on the Honors/AP track took those classes so I was naturally grouped with students who were dedicated to learning and getting into a good college. This removed the idiots who sit in the back and disrupt class every day and all day.

    Even though I didn't sit for the tests, having a more rigorous introduction to those classes gave me a huge edge over my classmates who were seeing it for the first time while still trying to adapt to all the new experiences of college.

    Oh, and taking AP Chem in HS put me on track to take the Honors Gen Chem in college. My instructor was a graduate of MIT's PhD program who eventually wrote some of my recommendation letters for grad school.

    I'm currently in a top-ten in my field grad school and I think taking AP classes in HS helped get me here. But my experience may be specific to a technical track student. Not sure about AP English and foreign languages as I didn't bother to take those.
     
  11. Critias

    Critias Freelancer CLM

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    Another side benefit that I forgot. Being on the AP track for English (now my Minor) and not for History (now my Major and chosen profession) made a world of difference to me when I got out of high school -- I loved English, and hated History. I had qualified teachers for my AP English stuff all through high school, and a string of football coaches for History. Bright, attentive, students in English, and...well...your average teenagers (both bright and dim) in History.

    Environment makes a world of difference in what you get out of a class in a public school -- and that was one benefit AP type stuff really delivers.
     
  12. First Sgt

    First Sgt

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    I agree wholeheartedly with brboyer above. My daughter also was advised by close friend/vice principal/Sunday School Teacher/Deacon, to proceed along the same path as your daughter..i.e. AP. She graduated 17th out of 369 in High School. Took many of the same classes the IB students took, but had the AP flexibility to participate in extra curricular activities and summer programs that IB students had to pass on because of their academic concentration. Daughter was Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Spanish Club, Varsity Cheerleader, represented her city in the All America City competition, etc. Because of her efforts, she was able to CLEP several courses for her Freshman year in college and started out with 12 hours credit. She also earned a "full ride" to include enough money for books and spending money all four years. She graduated "cum laude" with a BSN in Nursing and now can choose her own path for her future in the Nursing field. The AP route allowed her to be a "young person" and enjoy her high school times without being tied to a book 24/7. After observing both sets of students, I would not hesitate to recommend the AP route, given the choice. JMO
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  13. Mrs. VR

    Mrs. VR Sharon, you will be missed.

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    Again, I appreciate all the input. I'd love to hear from someone who DID go the IB route. The school is having a parents meeting next week, and hopefully we'll get all our questions answered.
     
  14. Mrs. VR

    Mrs. VR Sharon, you will be missed.

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    We went to the meeting last night, and BOY did they do an incredible sales job. We also got a chance to talk to a lot of the current students. That went a long way towards easing our minds re: things like extracurriculars, social life, etc.

    It's a pretty incredible opportunity. He has a few days to make a final decision.
     
  15. MarcoPolo

    MarcoPolo

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    If nobody has said so yet, "CONGRATS!" on your son's accomplishments. Even being offered the IB program speaks well for his efforts. Well done, young man!
     
  16. Critias

    Critias Freelancer CLM

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    I'm sure he'll make the right call, ma'am. :wavey: The kid's got a good head on his shoulders, and knows his interests and such better than we do.
     
  17. Mrs. Tink

    Mrs. Tink Semper Fidelis

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    I did both IB and AP overseas, where the IB program is very prevalent and generally expected if students want to go to European universities.

    I also have to say that I didn't have a problem with extracurricular activities. I was on student government, the varsity basketball team and the National Honor Society, as well as a few other things that took up a little less time. I found that my studies didn't suffer.

    I didn't really think that one prepared me any better over the other. IB is perhaps more comprehensive because of the two-year class over the AP's one year. Additionally, with the full IB diploma, the Theory of Knowledge project could be an added benefit depending on the student's strengths. My school offered a dual diploma, both the "American" and "IB" diploma earned by the student who wanted to take on that challenge. I did not simply because it would have necessitated that I give up my music classes, which I was not willing to do. So I just sat for five IB classes and one AP.

    My opinion is that students can get the benefit of both if the formal diploma is not at the top of your priority list. I did NOT notice a problem with single IB classes (as opposed to the diploma) at the university I attended. I suppose it depends on where you go to college. I was able to apply the benefits from those classes to test out of or skip some entry-level core courses in school, and no one batted an eye.
     
  18. Batesmotel

    Batesmotel

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    A friends son dropped out of an IB program to and just took AP classes with the regular students. He felt the IB at his school was unnecessarily hard with a lot of "make work" that did little for their education. There was also a lot of social pressure put on him to associate only with other IB students because they were "more worthy" than the regular kids. That school is not a good example of the IB program everywhere but look into how well your school runs the IB.

    My son was offered IB at a different school but opted to attend an advanced math and engineering oriented charter school that partners with the U. of Utah. He will graduate high school having completed his first year at the U. of U. via concurrent enrollment. You may also have other options other than just IB and AP. Charter and Magnet schools may be a good choice. Good students have choices.
     
  19. Mrs. VR

    Mrs. VR Sharon, you will be missed.

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    I didn't realize you'd done both, I woulda bent your ear last week! :supergrin:

    It's good to hear input from both sides. We left feeling like this was an exceptionally strong and well run program. Well, since we both grew up in this county, we've known OF the program and its reputation our whole lives, we just hadn't had a chance to really examine it, or talk to anyone with personal experience.



    Marco Polo, thanks! We are REALLY proud of his accomplishments. Especially since up until this year, he was homeschooled!

    And since I am bragging...I got this email from our daughter's science teacher today:

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    :hearts:






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