IB Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a school that offers IB and a school that offers AP classes?
Both programs offer academically advanced courses that are designed to prepare students for collegiate level work and both courses are internally weighted at 5.0 (compared to a 4.0 weight for a standard class and 4.5 for an honors class). AP courses are individual classes in a specific subject that culminates in an AP test at the end of the school year. IB is a program that encompasses much more than just its courses. Along with being a collection of some required and many optional courses, all of which are at the 5.0 level, IB allows students to experience a well rounded 2 years of high school that will prepare them for college (plus two years in pre IB that sets the stage for the IB years). In a school that offers only AP classes, students opt in and opt out for whichever classes they want. In an IB school, all the students in the program are a part of a larger structured program that is designed to guide them to an end result that speaks volumes about their ability to handle advanced academic rigor.
Are all IB programs the same?
While the International Baccalaureate program is governed by an association that dictates how the programs are run, every school has the potential to be slightly different. Some schools have programs that are too small to offer every possible IB course. One may have Physics 2, another may only be able to offer Physics 1. Additionally, every IB program is a reflection of not only the international governing body, but of the school itself. The very magnitude of the IB program at Spruce Creek High School (with over 700 students) makes this program a significant portion of the school and therefore many resources are dedicated to supporting the program. Not all schools have the ability to maintain their IB program at the level Spruce Creek has achieved.
Can students do IB and still be an athlete?
Being in the IB program requires dedication and organization. Homework and studying plays a large part in the daily life of an IB student. But that doesn’t mean a student cannot participate in sports. A great many IB students are also involved in athletics. Students will become very adept at utilizing their free time (before and after school and lunchtime) to fit in the required work.
Can students do IB and still be in the band? Have a job? Do extracurricular activities, etc.?
Much like the demands of being a student athlete, those students who are in band, have part-time jobs and are involved in extra-curricular activities will find that organization is the key to their ability to participate in areas outside of class. Students quickly learn to keep up with their work and maximize their productivity during free time. Studying before school, reading during lunch, and doing homework during the breaks in their activities are examples of how they make everything fit. Fortunately, most classes have their test days based on a set schedule so the student can prepare in advance. Parents may choose to keep a watchful eye to make sure that a student is not over-extending themselves, which is certainly possible. Students have to remember to make time for sleep!
What is the job of an IB Counselor and what is the best way to work with them?
IB Counselors are your child’s advocate. They are there to help with academic scheduling, college preparations and any issues that arise with one of your child’s teachers. They will help your child understand the requirements for graduation and what they need to get their IB Diploma. Should you have any issues with a teacher or a class, contact your IB counselor and they will assist you in resolving the matter. Should a conference be necessary, they will be present to facilitate the meeting and its resolution.
Will IB prepare my child for college?
The IB program is an academically advanced program that is designed to prepare your child for college. Based on the courses themselves, the community service projects, the extended essay and the testing itself, students will be prepared for college level work. Their level of comfort will obviously be impacted by the level of college they attend. Many former SCHS students who attend state schools have reported that they work load was much easier in college. Some students attending more rigorous universities have felt both challenged, but ready for the challenge.
How soon should I start working on college plans and how does the IB program impact them?
Choosing to enter the IB program is an excellent way to start working on college. Most universities list as their #1 criteria for selection the level of academic rigor the applicant experienced in high school. Additionally, the school will remind students of many milestones along the way such as certain tests and state of Florida application deadlines for federal student aid.
What are CAS hours?
CAS is an aspect of the IB program that allows students to grow in ways the classroom cannot teach them. CAS stands for creativity, action, and service. Students must gain 150 hours (appx 50 hours of each type) between summer before your Junior year and April of your Senior year. During the course of the program they must undertake at least one longer project. There is an online process for the students to document their activity.
What is the Extended Essay?
The extended essay is a requirement for an IB diploma. It is in the center of the curriculum circle along with TOK and CAS hours. It is not tied to any single class. It is instead intended to be an independent research project in an IB subject of your choice that you conduct with the guidance of a supervising teacher. The process is intended to promote high‐level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity.
What is Theory of Knowledge?
Theory of Knowledge is a required 12th grade course that offers students and their teachers the opportunity to reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge, and consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world. This course prompts students to be aware of themselves as thinkers. TOK also has an important role to play in providing coherence for the student as it transcends and links academic subject areas, thus demonstrating the ways in which they can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.
What is Sixth Area?
There are several required courses for every IB student, including English, History, Math, Science, and Foreign Language. There is also the planned space in their schedule for students to focus on an additional, or “Sixth” area. This can be Music or Art, Psychology or Economics or even an additional Science course. These courses not only allow students to learn what they are interested in, but also choose which course they want to have as a part of their final IB testing.
What is Group 4?
During the mid-point of their Junior year, all IB students will participate in Group 4, which is a full school day of Science in action. They break into groups of students (avg. 10) and work together as a team all day. Multiple groups are assigned to one of several different environments (forest, pond, wildlife, etc.) in the nature areas behind Spruce Creek High School. They spend the morning collecting specific data for their area, then return to the school to input the data into an ongoing database that has been capturing this data for many years. They then work as a team to create a project from start to finish in only a few hours. Presentations are made in multiple classrooms at the end of the day.
What are SL & HL exams and how does my child receive their IB diploma?
The IB Diploma itself is earned in stages throughout the two years in the program. Points are earned from all the aspects of the IB experience: CAS hours, Extended Essay, and Individual Tests given in multiple core areas. Students are required to take at least three HL tests and three SL tests (although they can choose to take 4 HLs and 2 SLs). HL tests are given at the end of two years of study in a subject. One HL will be in English and another in History. The third HL is the student’s choice. The remainder of the tests will be in Science, Math, Foreign Language and Sixth area. The IB counselors will work with all students on their schedule and all the planning for the IB tests.
1. CAS requirements have not been met.
2. Candidates total points are fewer than 24.
3. An "N" has been given for TOK, Extended Essay or for a contributing subject.
4. A grade "E" has been awarded for one or both of TOK and the Extended Essay.
5. There is a grade "1" awarded in a subject/level.
6. Grade 2 has been awarded three or more times (HL or SL).
7. Grade 3 or below has been awarded four or more times (HL or SL).
8. Candidate has gained fewer than 12 points on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
9. Candidate has gained fewer than 9 points on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL).
Will the IB program earn my child college credit?
Every college has their own standards for allowing students to receive credit for their IB involvement. The same is true for AP testing. By simply searching the name of a college along with “IB credit” you will find a link to what their specific policy is. Oftentimes these credits have specific scoring requirements on the specific IB test you are seeking credit for.
What is the IB Advocates and why should I join?
The IB Advocates is an organization that is run by parents of IB students and supports the needs of the IB program throughout the school year. Meetings are held monthly and all parents are encouraged to attend. Information is provided throughout the year on many timely issues that affect IB (and pre IB) students in every grade. The IB program can be very complex in understanding its nuances and how to best navigate four years of your child’s involvement. Allow IB Advocates to be there for your family to help assist you with finding the answers you need. During the school year, IB Advocates is responsible for selling school spirit wear at different functions along with handling preparations for the IB Banquet at the end of the senior year. The fundraising they do helps teachers with their needs as well as providing scholarships to IB students.
What are the differences between Diagnostic, Formative and Summative grades?
Diagnostic scores are given a grade weight of 0%. Most daily homework falls into this category. Formative scores are given a weight of 40% of your child’s total grade. These are often smaller projects or quizzes. Summative scores are given a weight of 60% of the total grade. These are given for tests and large projects. Teachers often will allow a single summative grade that is below a certain threshold to be retaken within a nine-week grading period. Every class has different requirements for these issues. Please refer to your teacher for their guidelines.
What different choices does my child have for IB Foreign Language?
IB students can study and test in Spanish, French and German.
What different choices does my child have for Science?
Students can choose at the SL level Physics, Environmental Systems, Biology and Chemistry.
At the HL level, students can choose Biology and possibly Chemistry.
What different choices does my child have for Math?
IB students can choose a Statistics (SL only) or Calculus (SL and HL ) Path