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In-depth discussion controlled largely by students is what International Baccalaureate (IB) is all

about. Created in Switzerland in 1968 for students in international schools, IB is now offered in 3,460
schools across 143 countries with 1,370 public and private schools (and counting) in the U.S. IB
has gained popularity for setting high standards and emphasizing creative and critical thinking. IB
students are responsible for their own learning, choosing topics and devising their own projects,
while teachers act more as supervisors or mentors than sources of facts. IB emphasizes research and
encourages students to learn from their peers, with students actively critiquing one anothers work.
Beyond preparing students for critical thinking and college-level work, the full IB program calls for
students to express themselves through writing, requires community service, and aims to develop
inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful
world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Understanding what IB schools are all about

Technically, any school with an IB program is called an IB school. Since IB school is used as
shorthand, its important to ask how students participate in IB at any given school. Its most
straightforward at IB elementary schools, where IB is part of every class school-wide. But in middle
school and high school that may not be the case. Some middle and high schools are 100 percent IB,
but not all. For example, at many high schools there is an IB program that kids may opt into, much
like attending a school within a school. If thats the case, students may participate in IB at different
levels, ranging from taking a single IB course to earning an IB diploma, which involves taking a full
course load of IB classes and meeting a series of requirements. Given this range, its crucial to ask
what your local school offers and allows.

Although widely seen as an alternative to Advanced Placement [AP] classes, IBs different for a few
reasons. For one, IB is offered at the elementary and middle school levels. AP is not. Whats more, IB
can be the curricula for a handful of classes (like AP) or it can be an intensive school-wide program
(unlike AP). A key difference is the final exam. IB exams are set up to challenge students to apply
what theyve learned in new scenarios, such as analyzing a case study, in an effort to test students
ability to react to new information in a limited period of time. The tests (often essays) are then sent
to one of 6,000 trained international examiners to be graded alongside work from other IB students

However, AP courses may carry extra benefits that not all IB courses do. For instance, AP class
grades may be weighted (check with your local school), which boosts students GPAs for college
applications, and passing grades on AP exams can provide college credit, whereas passing grades on
IB course exams may not. As a result, many students who take IB courses and exams also take the
related AP test (but not the class) in order to secure college credit.

An inquiry-based approach

At all levels, IB takes a global approach, looking at big ideas across disciplines, such as examining
connections between the early 20th century novel The Jungle and communism or considering visual
depictions of music. No matter what theyre studying, students dig deep into subjects and try to find

Is IB right for your child?

This depends partly on how your child learns. In an IB class, your child is less likely to take notes
during teacher-led lectures and more likely to work on individual or group projects with the teacher
facilitating. IB classes tend to be academically challenging, requiring students to take initiative,
organize and complete projects, and speak in front of their classmates. Students who thrive in a
demanding environment and like having options (like picking research topics and choosing how to
present what they learn) would probably do well in IB. Others might feel overwhelmed by the
intensity of the curriculum. Also, IB can be time-consuming. Children who struggle in school or have
serious extracurricular commitments, such as playing a varsity sport or singing in a competitive choir,
may not have the requisite time or energy for IB.

Another factor to consider is the IB curriculas emphasis on asking questions and searching for
answers no matter how controversial the subject. Questions on every imaginable topic from
global warming to gay rights will be up for debate as teachers challenge students to ask questions
and research their answers. As topics arise, the only rules are that questioning is okay and that
students seek not only answers but to understand the cultural biases that exist in competing
arguments. Its all in the pursuit of IBs mission to teach students that, other people, with their
differences, can also be right. To some, these class discussions may seem politically charged or they
may touch on points that are at odds with a familys belief system, so you should take this into
account when considering an IB program for your child.

What is IB?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) provides challenging programs that help students develop the
intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills they need to live, learn, and work in a rapidly
globalizing world. Founded in 1968, the IB has sustained its reputation for high quality education for
over 35 years. IB programs focus on international mindedness and on promoting a positive attitude
towards learning. Collectively, they represent the best curricula from around the world. The IB now
has programs in over 3000 schools in over 135 countries.

IB Mission Statement

"The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people
who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and

"To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to
develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

"These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and
lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right."
Science Project Supply List

No Name of Item Student Level Description Total/Amount Proposed by