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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 02/21/2012

Admissions 101: Getting college credit for International Baccalaureate courses

Deborah Wilchek leads an IB class at Rockville High School in Rockville. (Sarah L. Voisin - THE WASHINGTON POST)
For the last several years I have been ranting about the failure of most U.S. colleges to give proper credit for IB high school courses successfully completed with a good score on an IB exam. The rule has been, for idiotic reasons lost in history, that a student who takes an AP one-year course and gets a good grade on the AP exam will get college credit. But if that same student takes a one-year IB course (called Standard Level in IB) and gets a good grade on the IB exam, the student will not get college credit. The student may even have to take the university's placement test to take the higher-level course, rather than the introductory one that the student has already in a high school IB program.

This was rank discrimination against IB, and in nearly every case when I asked the college why they did that, they had no answer. The best they could do was: Well, that academic department (credit rules for AP and IB are decided by each academic department at most colleges) set up its rules 20 years ago, and all of those professors are dead now.

In the last two years many university people have told me this is changing. The Virginia legislature passed a law in 2010 that requires public colleges to put International Baccalaureate courses on the same footing as AP for college credit. Other universities, such as the University of Maryland, looked at the data and changed their policies. But there has been no wholesale change.

So, I ask those of you in touch with IB credit policy as students, parents, college admissions officers, department chairs, high school counselors and IB coordinators: Have you seen signs of change? If so, what changes and at which schools and in which states? (Keep in mind this is NOT a problem for admissions. Admission offices treat AP and IB alike. This is only a problem for IB students trying to get college credit for good exam grades on IB one-year course exams, as AP students do. IB students who get good grades on IB exams at the end of two-year courses usually do get credit.)

By  |  12:25 PM ET, 02/21/2012

Categories:  Admissions 101 | Tags:  admissions 101

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