You have probably heard the usual arguments in favor of IB that include phrases like "IB is more inquiry based," or "IB is a broad study of the subject, AP is an in depth study." Some IB advocates make the claim that IB emphasizes student self-discovery, whereas AP is just rote memorization. The problem with any of these claims is two-fold:First none of these claims has ever been properly researched and validated.Second, the individual AP class, like IB, is so much a product of the teacher that any IB or AP class can differ in terms of the instructional methodology from one day to the next.Good teachers, in any classroom, are employing best practices which these days rarely rely solely on the old style of rote memorization. There is some information on the subject, however, which we have gathered here. The only extensive evaluative research that has been conducted and published is about the AP Program. They have consistently worked with Colleges and Universities to improve their courses and their assessments. We have included links to their research papers. We invite all interested parties to read the information provided here and to make up their own minds.
FORDHAM REPORT The only study we know of that actually attempted to do an evaluation of the two programs.
How is AP different from IB? Advanced Placement courses, like HL International Baccalaureate courses, allow students to gain college credit for courses taken in high school. By taking a test on the content of the course and passing that test with a 3 or more on a scale of 1-5, an AP student may be able to gain college credit for that course. The number of credits is dependent on the policy of the individual colleges. Most require a score of 3 or better. Some are more restrictive.
IB students take IB certificate exams which can also lead to college credit. A score of 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-7 is the usual requirement for credit. However the course must be HL (Higher Level) not SL (Standard Level). SL courses are not considered for college credit at most institutions. Don't be fooled. It should also be noted that an IB Certificate is nothing more than a receipt of the test fee and report of the grade achieved by a student. An IB Certificate is issued whether the student passes or fails the exam. Therefore, there is no such animal as an "IB Certificate Candidate", since every student receives one as long as they submit their test fee and write their name on the test. In introductions to the IB program, parents are falsely led to believe that an IB Certificate is something prestigious that must be earned. This is simply not the case. Anyone can take an AP exam, even if they have not participated in an AP class. In contrast, only students enrolled in the specific IB classes are allowed to take the IB tests. The cost of an AP exam is $87 per subject. The first IB exam costs $237 ($141 registration fee + $96 exam fee). Each additional IB exam costs $96. AP tests taken by US students are graded by professionals here in the US. IB tests are sent to International Baccalaureate external examiners all over the world. Test results for AP are available on July 1st by phone for a fee of $8 or received in the mail approximately 6 weeks after the date the exam was taken. IBO does not indicate on its website when students can access their results via its online curriculum center, however past experience has shown this date to be somewhere in the beginning of July, subject to change or delay. AP provides the opportunity for students to have the multiple choice section of an exam to be rescored ($25 per exam). IBO offers no such opportunity. Furthermore, AP provides students with the opportunity to have their official AP transcripts sent automatically to five (5) schools they are considering attending FREE of charge. IBO charges students $12 for each school a student wants their official IB grades sent to: http://www.ibo.org/ibna/graduates/transcriptsfaqs.cfm#Transcripts2 IB does allow one (1) free submission to a U.S. university, two (2) to a Canadian university, if the student somehow has the foresight to request this option in September before the May exams. Diploma candidates who earn the IB Diploma do not receive the actual document until sometime in October when they are already Freshmen at university. Any questions about scores or disputes, are required to be adjudicated through the IBO in Geneva, Switzerland. Jeffrey Beard, IBO's Director General declares close to $500,000 in salary and benefits on his U.S. tax return. The College Board of Princeton NJ oversees the AP Program. The CEO of The College Board earns approximately $650,000 annually. The College Board has consistently conducted substantive research on all of their AP programs. In addition score reports for more than ten years are available for review on their website. In contrast IB has conducted little evaluative research on their programs. No score reports are available for public review and none of their research has been peer reviewed or compares the two programs in a substantive way.
Comments: Some of the information on your "IB vs AP" link is incorrect. For example, IB does inform the student when the scores will be posted online. My IB coordinator handed out print-outs of our IB information and when the scores will be posted. I was given this paper twice during my senior year. Also, IBO does have a multiple-choice section for the IB HL Biology Exam on the Paper 1 Exam, I believe. This is all information that I know is certain because I took several exams and received the IB Diploma this year (2011). Also when you have questions about your IB scores IBO specifically asks that you send concerns regarding scores to the IB coordinator and not to them directly. This was indicated on the results website when I checked my IB scores yesterday. On your "IB vs AP" site near the end you say that IB does "evaluative research on their programs." After taking the IB exams the IB coordinator at my high school gave us the link to a website IB created where they asked a series of questions about the IB program. My IB coordinator told us IB students that the survey is mandatory and someone from IB emailed all of us Diploma Candidates to remind us to participate in the survey. But that's about all of the incorrect information I have found so far on your site. I don't mean any harm but I feel as though someone looking up information on IB may be swayed to not partake in the IB classes because of the false information presented on your website. If you are going to give a versus argument the information on both ends must be correct for the argument to be valid. ~ CC from California
Are IB Exams Mandatory?
The short answer is yes and no. Yes, a student is required to sit for all 6 IB exams if they want a shot at earning the IB Diploma. However, if a student is only taking one or two IB classes, a student cannot be forced to take the IB exam. A student must voice their desire to opt out of the exam at the beginning of the course, prior to the November/December registration deadline.
"Schools pay IB exam fees in November-December for the following May exams. IB does not charge unless students register for exams. IB encourages, but does not require, that students in an IB course take IB exams. " ~Paul Campbell, Director of IBNA, e-mail 09/02/10
It should be noted that IB considers the one time $141 student registration fee part of the exam fees.
AP is better than IB - Reno HS Administrative Testimony