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Opinion: Advanced Placement classes provide opportunity

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College credit more available than in IB courses

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Since the International Baccalaureate (IB) program came to Park in 2001, there has been a steady decline in the number of Advanced Placement options available to students. This is due to the district’s embracing the IB curriculum and truly becoming an IB school. Along with this decrease in the number of AP classes, students are also pushed toward IB classes more frequently because they are seen as more rigorous and thus better suited to higher performing students.

This increases the quality of these IB classes, but is bad news for students who hope to earn credit toward a college education while in high school. In many cases, universities in the U.S. award credit to qualifying AP scores at a higher frequency than IB scores. One example is the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, which gives credit to any AP score of 3 or above but is unwilling to accept any IB score less than a 5 out of 7.

According to International Baccalaureate, only 37 percent of test takers receive a score of five or above in higher level biology, compared to the 59 percent of AP biology test takers scoring a three or above. Because of this difference in the proportion of test takers receiving scores that can be exchanged for credit at universities between AP and IB, it is advantageous for credit seeking students to take AP tests.

In addition to the difference in difficulty in earning accepted scores, almost all colleges and universities will only accept higher level IB test scores. For instance, even if a student scores a 7 on the IB chemistry standard level test, a score only six percent of test takers earn, most institutions will not award the student any credit. For this reason, paired with the comparable difficulties and content of standard level IB classes and AP classes, students are better suited to select the Advanced Placement option if their primary motive is to receive credit toward higher education.

With the rising cost of college education in the United States, it is advisable for students to plan ahead and earn credits in high school while it is free. Although credits can be earned through either AP or IB test scores, AP scores almost universally carry more weight among American colleges and universities and thus should be chosen over IB classes by students hoping to get a head start on the path to a college diploma.

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Opinion: Advanced Placement classes provide opportunity