Finding a Solution to the IB vs. AP Dilemma

(By Julie Zhu)
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dear Extra Credit:

My son is attending an International Baccalaureate high school in Fairfax County, and I have been reading with interest the discussions regarding IB vs. Advanced Placement. A colleague who lives in the Charlotte area also has a son in an IB high school. That school system has attempted to deal with the IB/AP issue by preparing their IB students for not only the IB exams, but also for the AP exams.

It is my understanding that the students in the North Carolina school have the regular IB curriculum, but that the school also gives them a prep class on the ins and outs of the AP exams and the option to take both exams.

The principal at my son's high school told me that the school counselor could help us make arrangements for my son to take the AP exams (at our expense, of course). We are exploring this option. Such an option might solve the IB vs. AP issue for others.

Eleaner Loos

Fairfax County

This is a practical and popular solution to the problem, but wouldn't it make more sense for colleges to start giving the same credit for single-year IB courses and tests that they do for single-year AP courses and tests? Research shows they are pretty much the same in content and rigor. Most colleges decline even to explain their inexplicable policy on this. It is comparable to your child learning to write dates and numbers in Arabic numerals, then being told by the colleges that they will not accept any application that does not write each number out in English: two-thousand nine instead of 2009.

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