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Old 01-13-2010, 11:02 PM
 
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My daughter is presently in 8th grade and in all honor classes.

She will be moving to 9th grade next year and has to make a decision by this weekend to either choose IB program or settle for AP courses. She has to submit an essay by this Tuesday if we go for IB

I am looking for advise from parents / students on what to choose and how it is going to help her in college selection. Your input is very much appreciated.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:46 PM
 
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Hmm...well I don't know that much about IB. I was an AP crazyperson in high school and took 9 tests--got me 33 hours of college credit at OU. Well worth it.

AP seems to be the more common way to advanced credit in high school, from my personal experience.

Does your child have any idea where they want to attend college--that could be the defining factor. Some colleges accept lots of AP credits, some none at all, some will give you credit, but only for top scores. Rice University is a good example of one that wont accept a thing. I would look into this first.

Oh, and AP scores/tests definitely help on college applications--shows they can handle college-level coursework.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:42 AM
 
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This article seems to cover the bases.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:18 AM
 
Location: The Big D
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Do it.

My daughter is in the 9th grade and started out the year full IB. She only dropped down for this semester (spring) to partial because of Geometry bit all of her other classes are still "IB". She is going to pick it all back up in her junior year. She finally "hit her wall" in the IB Geometry class in the Fall. She struggled but passed. Now she is saying that AP is a "snoozefest" and SLOOOOOOOW! Comes home saying the things they do she has already covered. Of course my response is that she better be pulling straight A's in it then and I did tell her to go speak to the counselor and teacher and ask them which would be better. She opted to stay in the AP class for this semester. Depending on how the school has the IB program set up you don't really start FULL IB until junior year so you CAN drop down for a semester or two in your freshman and sophmore years to AP then pick it back up to full IB your junior year. Most of the first two years are "pre-IB" anyway. It is MUCH easier to start out full IB and drop down and pick it back up but you can't start full AP and then try and go IB your junior year. My daughter had several friends that opted to attend different high schools and switched this semester to the IB school and doing IB. Coming from the G/T magnet the courses were just not up to par even though they were AP.

Now, I did not know this but found out that AP is not equal everywhere. Unlike IB there is no set standard that must be taught in AP classes. This means that the AP courses at one school can be a lot harder than the AP courses at another school even in the same district. What I have found out though is that the AP classes at the school with the IB campus ARE harder and put a lot more into it. I've found this out from NUMEROUS people from many different high schools. One friend whose very academically smart child went thru the G/T magnets but chose to attend a regular high school and take AP has had problems. The kid went on their own to the counselor the first week of school to make sure they were in the right math class. Wanted to make sure for themselves that they were in the TOP class. They were. The kids coming out of other schools with just an "honors" course were not prepared for the AP courses and so the teachers have to take a much slower pace. Therefore, those kids that ARE up to speed struggle with even staying awake as the material being covered they did years ago and it goes so slow. I've heard this from enough people across the board from MANY schools that I'm glad my daughter is doing the IB program. She can not STAND to be in a class that moves slow and she has already covered the material.

As I said, you can start out IB and then adjust down. Not as easy to go the other way.

FYI, I have a neighbor and both of their kids went full IB all thru high school. One graduated w/ 40-something college credits and the other with 36 college credits. I can handle my child starting out college with that many credits already taken care of. Not only that but it is going to make college that much easier for them. I have yet to talk to a single parent or student that did Full IB and regreted doing so. I know that our school has about 45-60 IB graduates every year. A lot of kids start out full and drop to partial which is just fine too.


Read the link provided above. Even went to another link from there that was a forum for students.
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/...-ap-vs-ib.html
One thing to keep in mind and they bring it up on this one. Your counselor will be asked to check on your college app if the student took the most advanced courses available to them. So, if your qualified for IB and could easily pass it and don't take it will they check "no". Something to consider. Another point brought up and it was debated last year in the state. Texas DOES weigh courses. IB courses get heavy weighting than AP and AP gets heavier weighted than regular courses. So a B in an IB course is still more points towards your GPA than a B in an AP course.

Last edited by momof2dfw; 01-14-2010 at 07:31 AM..
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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Hey mom, did any of your friends tell you why some of the AP classes in some schools were lacking? I've been told by quite a few folks what they say is really going on and it's quite shocking to me. Are you talking about pre-AP, too?
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:40 AM
 
Location: The Big D
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FYI: You do NOT have to take AP courses to be able to take the AP exams. So the IB kids CAN take the AP exams and get those credits for college. I plan on my daughter taking them and she is going to take the SAT next month. Yes, the SAT and not the PSAT. You can take the SAT as many times as you want and they will always keep the highest score. The score is good for 4 years so if she takes it now in her freshman year and she rocks it and she does not do as well on the later ones she can still use the best score for college admissions. Plus it gives her an edge to know what is on it and how it works. She is actually pumped about taking it, lol.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:53 AM
 
Location: The Big D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarNorthDallas View Post
Hey mom, did any of your friends tell you why some of the AP classes in some schools were lacking? I've been told by quite a few folks what they say is really going on and it's quite shocking to me. Are you talking about pre-AP, too?
Believe it or not I'm finding out more about this because of my 5th grader. I'm in the process of getting ready to chose her middle school. We changed elementary schools this year to one that has a higher academic standard even though it is not a magnet (she was not in one to start with and I sure wish I could have bribed someone to get her into them). I've come to find that the schools in the "lily white" and "upper income" are NOT the best (I never really thougt so to begin with anyway). What you tend to have in those and it does not matter what district either........... but you have the parents that see that lil johnny or princess are always right and they just don't have time for homework and you have school staff (including weak principals) that cater to these folks and let them run the schools. So they get to middle school/jr high and they stay right on course w/ a complacent academic standard that is medicore. Sure they got all A's and were always on the "principals honor roll" but did they REALLY learn anything. So they get to high school and they are not prepared. Of course lil johnny and princess were in "honors" classes in middle school so they are surely ready for AP in high school . So the teachers have to water down the course to get these kids up to speed. The kids don't get kicked out of AP because they are not prepared because these FAKE school ratings really like to see schools w/ a high number of kids in AP courses. It totally skews the REAL academic ratings for the schools. The kids that are ready for a more advanced course are let down. They either sink (because it is boring) or swim (because it is so stinkin easy). It starts WAY before high school but carries the same problems all the way thru because of it.

I spoke to a mom of two kids that graduated a few years ago in our district. They both went thru the elem and middle school G/T magnets and started at GHS in the IB program. Both ended up dropping down to AP but one went ahead after another year and transferred to the "neighborhood" high school. The mom and daughter were both in shock in the difference in the AP courses. Like I said, I thought AP had a set curriculium to follow but they don't. This mom thought the same thing. Might as well let her daughter go to the school right by the house since she is going all AP, it should be the same. Right....... NOT!

I can't tell you how many of these complacent parents I've talked with that are just happy their kids are getting "all A's" and think they are getting the best education. You talk to them a bit longer and start putting the pieces together and you see that they are not interested in the strong academics. They are more concerned w/ them being w/ their friends, being on the team, getting "all A's" (not gonna help in college if your not learning anything ) and all of the fluff. I just shake my head and the worst part is these are parents that all seem to be well educated themselves. I really don't get it.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:27 AM
 
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Yeah, I agree that there are some white parents who insist their kids be in AP classes - kids who really shouldn't be there. But I have had parents and teachers tell me that white parents are insisting their kids be in pre-AP and AP classes to get then away from the "riff-raff" in the regular level classes. So, the pre-AP and AP classes are mostly white and the regular level classes are mostly poor Hispanics and African-Americans. It's the school-within-a-school thing, an internal segregation thing. But really there is no difference in difficuly level between the classes since there are so many unqualified kids in the pre-AP and AP classes which forces the teacher to water it down.

That's what I've heard from parents and teachers all over the state. So, there is no currciculum difference between the AP track and the regular track. It's just segregation.

I have never heard this about the IB program, though. Maybe it's more legitimate?
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:36 AM
 
Location: The Big D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarNorthDallas View Post
Yeah, I agree that there are some white parents who insist their kids be in AP classes - kids who really shouldn't be there. But I have had parents and teachers tell me that white parents are insisting their kids be in pre-AP and AP classes to get then away from the "riff-raff" in the regular level classes. So, the pre-AP and AP classes are mostly white and the regular level classes are mostly poor Hispanics and African-Americans. It's the school-within-a-school thing, an internal segregation thing. But really there is no difference in difficuly level between the classes since there are so many unqualified kids in the pre-AP and AP classes which forces the teacher to water it down.

That's what I've heard from parents and teachers all over the state. So, there is no currciculum difference between the AP track and the regular track. It's just segregation.

I have never heard this about the IB program, though. Maybe it's more legitimate?
Yep, plain old segregation. Funnier to me is since my oldest went thru the G/T magnets and now attends the IB school is the perception of some of these people that I'm somehow bad because I send my child to "those schools". Because of the "demographics". I literally responded to one that, "I don't base who I associate with based on their skin color or financial statement". LOL!!! They didn't say anything after that. I chose to put my kids academic program as priority number 1 and don't pick schools based on skin color or financial well-being (HA) of the kids parents. I say "HA" because some of these people are the ones that BELIEVE they are "rich" but are usually only 2 paychecks away from a free handout. They try to act like they are all that and rich but their schools are the WORST when it comes to raising funds and parent volunteers. Oh, they have volunteers but only the ones they want......anyone else is kind of put off. Where my daughters magnet schools on the OTHER SIDE of town w/ the "neighborhood riff-raff" have no problem getting money when it is needed from ANY of the parents (the neighborhood ones actually are the first to respond ) and parents from all walks are accepted and volunteer their time and resources. Her elementary magnet school usually won the volunteer hours award every year at the annual PTA meeting for the district and it is half the size of most neighborhood schools.

I've also found out that at the schools w/ just the AP programs and no true magnet program that there are more problems with race relations amoung the students. At my daughters high school that is so diverse from the students ethnic background to their parents financial means it is NOT like that at all and the race problems are not there. Everyone is more accepted no matter if they are in IB, AP, Honors, band, orchestra, live on the poor side of town, live in "a mansion", black/white/brown/purple/pink hair/dreads/etc. Everyone gets along. The problems w/ race (and drugs) are swept under the rug and not addressed at all. It is more because the parents don't want to accept that there are problems (remember the thread from the other day about another district ). That would just make their school look "bad"

The IB program is VERY legitimate. It gets the "riff-raff" out. LOL!!! Only the kids that REALLY want to learn are in there and can hang. And believe it or not the kids in the IB program are NOT all white. There are plenty of minorities in there.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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wow, okay. a lot of weird information.

I was in IB for 2 years, then dropped out. My sisters completed all 4 years, and are IB graduates. I have both perspectives. For reference, my experience is with IB in the PISD, so I can't speak for everyone else.

Pro's of IB: From an education perspective, Going AP vs. IB doesn't matter. Both will give you college credit, though it's easier to get college credit if you go the AP route- most colleges will give you credit for a 4 or 5 on an AP exam OR a 6 or 7 on the IB exam. It's easier to get a 4 than get a 6.

Most IB kids will end up taking a lot of the AP exams, anyway. Things like AP government, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, there's really no IB equivalent for, so you end up taking the exams.

I don't know if they told you how IB is structured, but you end up having to take 6 IB exams by the time you graduate - 3 SL (lower-level exams) and 3 HL (higher level exams). Colleges ONLY give you credit for the HL exams, and give you nothing for the lower level exams.

In PISD, it's very hard to go out all out math and science and do IB. For example, they didn't offer an IB Physics or Chemistry HL. If you wanted to do an HL in a science, you were stuck with Biology. At PESH, this class was co-mingled with AP Biology. If you wanted to do two sciences, you were also stuck. It's impossible to fit AP/IB Bio and AP Physics into your schedule (Bio and Chem are double blocked, and thus take a lot of time).

I've found that IB works best for kids who are more "right-brained" than "left-brained". If your child likes English, History, etc., they will probably be successful in IB.

Another aforementioned example: the IB Mathematics HL doesn't cover Integral Calculus (Calc BC). It only covers Calc AB. Students at East that want to take the Calc BC exam usually sacrifice their lunch/after school hours to sit with the Calc BC teacher (who is amazing!).

Additionally, IB requires 4 years of a foreign language. I absolutely hated this (mainly because i'm terrible with foreign languages!)

The other things I didn't like about IB:

the CAS hours. Sounds good in theory. In practice, most of these hours end up getting done at the last second/fudged/done doing stupid things to earn credit. No one takes them seriously.

The extended essay. This is a great idea in practice, but it doesn't really matter towards getting your IB diploma (it's not worth a lot points). So you end up procrastinating it/doing a half-hearted job to get it done.

the busy work. You will have hours of hw. This is terrible if you're active in extracurricular activities. I saw my sisters (who are very bright and are both at Ivy League schools now) have entire weeks where they went to bed at 4 AM and woke up at 7:30 AM, simply because they played a sport that took a lot of time.

Now i've hated on IB a lot, so I will tell you the pros:

The structure. IB inculcates a tremendous sense of discipline. The majority of your classes will be with only other IB kids, so it does foster a sense of competition/camraderie. I missed this the most after I dropped out. It's a lot easier to be lazy in AP classes (which I definitely took advantage of).

IB Student only classes - These classes tend to be smaller than AP classes, so you really connect with your teachers. Plus, you avoid a lot of the social drama that exists in the general student population. You never worry about who's homecoming king, who is prom queen, what the football score was, etc. You basically exist on your own IB planet.

The value of the IB Diploma in college: Really, it hardly matters. No one is going to care that you have an IB diploma. It didn't give my sisters a leg up on college (though it may have forced them to work harder and get better grades). I went to an info session back in 2000, and the college admissions officer asked me, "what's IB?" when I asked her about it (at this point, I decided to drop). Now, I think colleges are aware of IB, but it's still too small for it to really mean anything.

Anyways, I hope this helps you. Feel free to ask me any other questions.
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