IB FAQ

What kind of student is a good candidate for the DP?

The DP is a rigorous course of study for motivated students. That said, prior academic success is less an indicator of ability to earn the diploma than are a student’s determination to do his or her best, willingness to be organized in order to complete the work while leading a full, balanced life, and strong commitment to learning in and beyond the classroom.

Do DP students have time for anything beyond academics?

Absolutely. Most successful Diploma Programme students (coursework or full diploma) lead very full lives. They are often members of athletic teams and involved in a wide range of activities. Time management and organization are key skills the IB develops in students.

Are IB programmes considered “gifted” programmes?

The IB does not control how schools designate their Diploma Programme. North Hall’s selection is an application process. To that, we use it as a vehicle to determine strengths and gifted areas of students. You do not have to be designated as “gifted” to be in the programme. Actually, the most successful students are those who have the most drive and motivation to learn.

What preparation does my child need in order to succeed in an IB Diploma Programme?

Because DP courses offer a high degree of challenge, students should, above all, be highly motivated learners. To participate in the IB Diploma Programme, 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, P.E. early in their high school program. Honors or enriched level classes from middle school onward provide solid academic training for the IB. Students need to develop good reading and writing skills and good study habits early in their schooling. DP Students must be organized and prepared to spend several hours of homework at night in addition to any other school activities.

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 insure 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. Community, Activity and Service (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, science dossiers, 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.

Do DP teacher receive special training?

All DP teachers receive professional development in the IB’s approaches to teaching and learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement for IB World Schools implementing the DP.

Does implementing an IB programme mean my child’s school will not teach state or national standards?

This IB is committed to making sure that student in IB programmes meet and exceed local or national standards. With the implementation of any IB programmes, schools are required to examine their curriculum carefully to ensure that there is alignment with local, state, or national standards. More information on the IB and Common Core is available at www.ibo.org .

What’s the difference between the diploma and coursework (“certificate”)?

Not all students choose to take the full course load leading to a diploma. Instead some take a few DP courses in areas where they have a particular interest or strength, similar to honors and Advanced Placement classes. Certificates are awarded on a course-by-course basis to students who choose not to do the full programme. Students who satisfactorily complete the DP course exam earn a certificate and may be eligible for university credit.

How does the IB DP differ from other university-preparatory programs such as Advanced Placement?

The IB DP is a two-year comprehensive curriculum with a culminating set of externally graded final exams. IB and Advanced Placement (AP) are all university preparatory, academically rigorous programmes. There are important differences, however, in the content and exams. The DP is a cohesive and comprehensive programme, not a collection of individual courses as is the case with AP. The DP has internal assessments that are graded first by the teacher, then moderated. This allows for the student to show their knowledge on a variety of assessments, not just a one-time summative assessment. The most important distinguishing factor is the core of the Diploma Programme (CAS, TOK and the extended essay).

Why should I encourage my child to take IB DP courses?

Students who succeed in the IB Program do better than many other groups of students in university level work. Two studies carried out in the 1980’s 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.

Can you give a specific example of how the DP prepared students for college?

North Hall’s IB graduates have stated that “college was easy compared to the IB curriculum”, “I am ahead of the other college students”. North Hall IB students have more early acceptances and scholarship offers than other students. Colleges respect student coming from a DP programme. They understand that they are well prepared for college level work, can write and analyze text due to the experiences they receive in the programme. For studies on the programme impact, please go to www.ibo.org/research .