International Baccalaureate Program FAQ

List of 18 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program?

    The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is an internationally recognized curriculum that offers 11th and 12th grade students an opportunity to earn the IB diploma. The program is offered in over 2,294 public and private secondary schools in more than 141 countries around the world. To earn the IB diploma, students complete and test in six IB subjects; write an extended essay of independent research guided by a faculty mentor, complete 150 hours of creativity, activity, and service activities (CAS); and participate in a critical thinking course called Theory of Knowledge. This advanced, comprehensive program of study offers an integrated approach to learning across the disciplines with an emphasis on meeting the challenges of living and working in a global, technological society.
  • Q. I've never heard of an International Baccalaureate before. Is it an organization? What is its mission?

    The International Baccalaureate Program is governed by the International Baccalaureate
    Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and administered by the International Baccalaureate Curriculum and Assessment Center in Cardiff, Wales. The organization originated over forty years ago in Europe as an effort by international schools to assure quality educational standards for students, regardless of where they lived. Today, the organization uses the talents of educators around the world to continuously update curriculum, train teachers, assess student work, and evaluate the program. Its mission is 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 programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
  • Q. What aims do Sacred heart and the IB educators share?

    Both strive to educate active, compassionate, life-long learners who understand their roles and responsibilities in an interdependent world. The essence of Sacred Heart education is articulated in the five Goals and Criteria (for complete document please refer to Carrollton.org) and the IB translates its mission into a set of learning outcomes known as the IB Learner Profile (for
    complete document please refer to IBO.org). The Goals & Criteria and the IB Learner Profile complement each other and when considered together, the portrait of a 21st Century learner emerges. IB and Sacred Heart students strive to be: inquirers (Goal II), knowledgeable (Goal II), thinkers (Goal II), communicators (Goal II & IV), principled (Goal I & V), open-minded (Goal I, II, III, IV & V), caring (Goal I, III, IV & V), risk-takers (Goal I, II, III), balanced (Goal V) and reflective (Goal I, II, III & V)
  • Q. The IB sounds like a great deal of work. What are the advantages of taking an IB curriculum?

    There are numerous advantages to taking the IB curriculum. First, the IB curriculum was originally designed to ensure a cohesive, comprehensive education for students, no matter where they lived in the world. Today, that goal is still at the forefront of the IB mission. Students who complete this program are preparing, not only for success in college but for success in life. Students gain a broader world view; follow in-depth approaches to the academic disciplines; and develop time management, problem-solving, research, and organizational skills that will remain with them long after the IB experience is over. CAS activities provide opportunities for student involvement in the larger community beyond classroom walls. An additional benefit is that student work is assessed over a two-year period using internationally accepted performance standards. Student achievement is assessed in a variety of ways: on examinations that are developed and scored by international examiners; on oral language demonstrations in both the student's native language and a modern second language; and on science laboratory notebooks, art portfolios, essays, and other projects. These activities all count for a percentage of the student's final score in each subject and allow the classroom teacher to have input to the student's scores. The IB Program also allows for student and school flexibility in choosing areas of academic interest for student research.
     
    Another advantage is that receipt of an IB Diploma qualifies a student for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program establishes three lottery-funded scholarships to reward Florida high school graduates for high academic achievement. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program is comprised of the following three awards:
    • Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) awards-including Academic Top Scholars (ATS) award
    • Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) award
    In addition, Florida state schools may grant credit for successful completion of IB Curriculum courses which may result in sophomore standing at the start of a student’s college career.
  • Q. What is the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program?

    The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program establishes three lottery-funded scholarships to reward Florida high school graduates for high academic achievement. The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program is comprised of the following three awards:

    Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) awards-including Academic Top Scholars (ATS) award

    Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) award
  • Q. How is IB different from AP? Is one better than the other?

    The IB is a comprehensive curriculum that requires students to demonstrate knowledge and skills through both in-class and outside assessments in six academic areas. Schools that offer IB must be prepared to offer the total program upon initial implementation. AP, on the other hand, permits schools to pick and choose from 30 offerings. While neither program is better than the
    other, they each have different aims. Students whose main goal is to hone areas of strength and seek college credit will probably choose AP. Students whose main goal is to think critically and apply what they have learned in different contexts and across disciplines will choose IB. While the IB preparation will help those who wish to pursue a career with an international perspective or attend an overseas university, it will also help IB diploma students who plan to attend selective US colleges. They may receive preferential admissions consideration and college credit for satisfactory IB exam scores.
  • Q. How do IB courses compare to other high school courses?

    IB courses are more challenging. They are aimed at highly motivated students who seek extra challenge and involvement in their education beyond the classroom.
  • Q. What preparation does my child need in order to succeed in an IB Program?

    IB courses offer a high degree of challenge; students should, above all, be highly motivated learners (see IB Learner Profile). To participate in the IB diploma program, students should take algebra in the eighth grade and begin foreign language study no later than the ninth grade. In addition, students should complete graduation requirements such as health and PE early in their Upper School program. Honors or enriched level classes provide solid academic training for the IB but are not a requirement. Students need to develop good reading and writing skills and good study habits early in their schooling.
  • Q. Why should I encourage my child to take IB courses?

    Students who succeed in the IB Program do better than many other groups of students in university level work. Two studies indicated that IB students maintained higher grade point averages at universities and earned higher average SAT scores than students who had not attended IB schools. Clearly, the knowledge and skills obtained in an IB Program prepare students to succeed in higher education. Furthermore, university admissions officials expect students to take the most challenging courses of which they are capable in high school. Also, students who take IB courses learn to see the world from a variety of perspectives, to examine different points of view, and to see themselves as part of the world community.
  • Q. What are the IB courses required for the IB diploma?

    IB diploma students take six academic courses during their junior and senior years. The six required areas are:
    • Language A (English)
    • Language B (a modern second language which is spoken today-at Carrollton students choose from French, Spanish or Mandarin)
    • Individuals and Societies (History)
    • Experimental Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Marine Science)
    • Mathematics
    • A sixth area subject, which may include Art, Dance, Music, Theater, a second experimental science, a second social science (Design Technology, Computer Science or Psychology) or a second Language B.
    IB diploma students also take Theory of Knowledge, a course that encourages students to make connections among the academic disciplines and to examine knowledge, perception, and language as they relate to those disciplines. An extended essay based on independent research is required also.
  • Q. How and when do IB students test in their subjects?

    IB diploma candidates test in three of their subjects at the higher level and three of their subjects at the standard level. Higher level tests are longer and more challenging than standard level tests; these are the tests which may qualify for college credit. All examinations are administered by the Upper School, which is responsible for ensuring that IB standards for testing conditions are met. The testing takes place in May.
  • Q. What scores must a student earn in order to gain the diploma?

    Diploma candidates must earn a total of 24 points on their six IB examinations. Bonus points may be awarded for excellent extended essays, and for excellent Theory of Knowledge work. A score of 4 is considered to be a passing score on an IB examination. Though every university has its own criteria, most universities that award credit for IB courses require a score of 5 or better on higher-level exams.
  • Q. Will my child receive college credit for IB tests?

    Every college has its own credit policies concerning AP and IB test scores, and students should research individual college policies. No high school can promise college credit based on these test scores.
  • Q. How much will it cost to participate in the IB Program at Carrollton?

    The student is responsible for the exam. Fees are comparable to the fees for AP exams on a per test average.
  • Q. Does my daughter have to take an IB course in order to take an IB exam?

    Yes! The IB is a curriculum that provides for ongoing assessment throughout the two-year program. Because a percentage of the exam score is based on those assessments, the student
    cannot just sit for an exam without having taken the course.
  • Q. How can I help my child prepare for IB courses?

    Students who plan to take IB courses should begin their preparation early. Encourage students to develop and practice good study habits and to work on time management skills. Proficiency in a second language is necessary so language classes should begin early but students may begin the study in 9th grade. Exploring areas of interest such as drama, art and music will help students decide which elective they hope to pursue in the program and provide some foundations upon which to build. Maintaining a serious attitude toward learning, developing independence, and encouraging self- motivation are all important factors in student success at any level.
  • Q. How can I be sure the courses my child is taking are preparing her for IB exams?

    Schools that belong to the IB organization must undergo a rigorous selection process. They constantly scrutinize and evaluate their own programs in order to be certain that they measure up to IB standards. Each year, the International Baccalaureate Assessment Center provides schools with feedback about student and teacher performance that helps schools to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in each subject. The IB organization also carries out periodic reevaluations of member schools and provides ongoing teacher training. IB schools want their programs to succeed, and that happens when students succeed.
  • Q. How have Carrollton students performed in the IB program?

    Schools that belong to the IB organization must undergo a rigorous selection process. They constantly scrutinize and evaluate their own programs in order to be certain that they measure up to IB standards. Each year, the International Baccalaureate Assessment Center provides schools with feedback about student and teacher performance that helps schools to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in each subject. The IB organization also carries out periodic reevaluations of member schools and provides ongoing teacher training. IB schools want their programs to succeed, and that happens when students succeed.