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AP & IB - A Matter of Excellence

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Description of the Advanced Placement (AP) Program:

AP is the acronym for Advanced Placement. AP coursework and exams are developed and administered by CollegeBoard.com and include 35 courses and exams in 20 subject areas.

AP® or Advanced Placement Program consists of a three year sequence of course work in a specific subject. It is available to serious students in Grades 10-12. The course work culminates in rigorous examinations held in May of the graduating year.

AP Grading:

The examinations are scored on a five point scale, with 5 being the highest mark attainable. The course work in a given subject is generally equivalent to a first year college course. As a result, a student who achieves a 4 or 5 is usually permitted to skip the corresponding course as a freshman in college. Administered by the College Board, the AP program is guided by a panel of expert educators from around the U.S.A. This great program prepares students for the rigors of college level work.

AP Subjects:

Subjects offered include:
    Art History
    Biology
    Calculus AB & BC
    Chemistry
    Computer Science A
    Economics
    English
    Environmental Science
    European History
    French
    German Language
    Government & Politics
    Human Geography
    International English Language (APIEL)
    Latin
    Music Theory
    Physics
    Psychology
    Spanish
    Statistics
    Studio Art
    US History
    World History

Each year according to the College Board more than half a million students take more than a million Advanced Placement Program exams!

College Credits and AP Scholar Awards:

Each college or university sets its own admissions requirements. Good scores in AP coursework indicates to admissions staff that a student has achieved a recognized standard in that subject area. Most schools will accept scores of 3 or above as the equivalent of their introductory or first year courses in the same subject area. Consult university Web sites for details.

The College Board offers a series of 8 Scholar Awards which recognize outstanding scores in AP examinations.

Advanced Placement International Diploma:

In order to earn the Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID) students must earn a grade of 3 or higher in five specified subjects. One of these subjects must be chosen from the AP global course offerings: AP World History, AP Human Geography, or AP Government and Politics: Comparative.

The APID is the College Board's answer to the IB's international cachet and acceptance. It is aimed at students studying abroad and American students who wish to attend university in a foreign country.

Description of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program:

The IB is a comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare students for liberal arts education at the tertiary level. It is directed by the International Baccalaureate Organisation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The mission of the IBO is "to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect."
In North America over 645 schools offer IB programs.

IB Programmes:

The IBO offers three programmes:
    the Diploma Programme for juniors and seniors
    the Middle Years Programme for students aged 11 to 16
    the Primary Years Programme for students aged 3 to 12

The programmes form a sequence but can be offered independently according to the needs of individual schools.

The IB Diploma Programme:

The IB Diploma is truly international in its philosophy and aims. The curriculum requires balance and research. For instance, a science student has to become familiar with a foreign language, and a humanities student must understand laboratory procedures. In addition all candidates for the IB diploma must undertake some extensive research into one of over sixty subjects.
The IB Diploma is accepted at universities in over 115 countries.

University Recognition:

Parents appreciate the rigorous training and education which the IB programmes offer their children. Still, the nagging question must be asked: Is the IB recognized widely both in the America and abroad? The answer is an unequivocal "Yes!"

A Matter of Excellence:

The International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) are all about excellence. A school doesn't commit to preparing students for these rigorous examinations lightly. Expert, well-trained faculty must implement and teach the courses which culminate in those examinations. They put a school's reputation squarely on the line.

It boils down to two things: credibility and universal acceptance. These are key factors in a school's graduates gaining admission to the colleges and universities which they wish to attend.

Credibility
College admissions officers usually have a pretty good idea of a school's academic standards if the school has previously submitted applicants. The school's track record is more or less established by those prior candidates. Grading policies are understood. Curriculum taught has been examined.

But what about a new school or a school from a foreign country or a school which is determined to upgrade its product? The AP and IB credentials immediately convey credibility. The standard is well-known and understood. Other things being equal, the college knows that a candidate with success in the AP or IB is ready for tertiary level work. The payoff for the student is exemption for many entry level courses. This in turn means that it the student gets his or her degree requirements completed more quickly. It also means fewer credits have to be paid for.

Universal Acceptance
AP and IB are almost universally accepted as proof of secondary academic achievement on a high level. Apply to Harvard or Yale and they will both know exactly what IB and AP are and what the results mean. It's not the same with an applicant whose only credentials are good marks in his school's leaving examinations and some nice recommendations.

The AP and IB programs are not for every student or every school; however, if it is true academic excellence which you wish to attain, you will examine what the programs offer, and consider implementing one or the other.

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