Students Begin to Question IB’s Future Value

The IB logo.

The IB logo.

Simon Scannell, Staff Writer

  Is IB worth it? That’s a question that many sophomores have to ask themselves before choosing what to do with the last 2 years of their high school career.

  They have six options: CAL, middle college, regular classes, full IB, part-time IB, and dropping out of high school altogether. IB stands for International Baccalaureate and is, according to the Gresham High School website,a rigorous college-prep program which prepares students for the next level in their education”.

  The requirements for the IB diploma are testing in six different areas (English, a foreign language, an elective, Science, Math, and Social Studies), three of which must be in a higher level, and scoring at least 24 points total on the IB testing. Students also have to take Theory of Knowledge and do a Creativity Action & Service project of 30 hours of community service by the time they graduate. In addition, students must also write a 4,000 word extended essay about a topic of their choice.

 There are mixed reviews from students taking IB classes.  Some students at GHS seem to appreciate the program, while others seem to feel it is a lot of work. “The classes are fine, but the extended essay is a bit much,” said IB diploma senior, Abigail Hernandez.

  Along with all of these requirements the full IB diploma costs a good chunk of money.

 According to the GHS website “the cost to register [for testing] will be $50, and each individual exam will be $50”. The registration fee for IB is $158. Students who have free or reduced lunch do not have to pay these fees.

  So if the IB program takes this much effort, why would someone choose to do this?  Currently, there are only 31 students at GHS who are doing full IB, 17 juniors and 14 seniors.

  The full IB diploma is no easy feat, but according to IB Coordinator Alan Simpson, “colleges respect IB more than Advanced Placement (AP) classes”.  Students feel the constant pressure to do well in the classes and on the tests in order to get into good colleges.

  “The stress culture is not where it’s at. The IB students complain a lot about what we put ourselves through,” said Hernandez.

  The full IB diploma allows students to enter their freshman year of college taking sophomore classes. According to a study from 2011 done by the International Baccalaureate program “the average acceptance rate of IB students into university/college is 22 percentage points higher than the average acceptance rate of the total population”.​

   GHS is known locally for our IB program and it allows students to have. “We have a lot of kids who come here [to GHS] just to have [IB] on their transcripts,” said Simpson.

“The stress culture is not where it’s at. The IB students complain a lot about what we put ourselves through.

— Abigail Hernandez

The IB program also has an impact on the teachers here at GHS. Currently about half of GHS teachers teach at least one IB class. Before teaching the class, each teacher has to go to a three or four-day training where they learn about the program and enhance their teaching skills.

   IB English SL2 teacher Frank Thomas said, “I’ve got some pieces [from the IB training] that really enhance my teaching [in normal classes as well].

 IB teachers do not get as much time as they would like to collaborate. Math teacher Michael O’Brien said that he wishes teachers had more of a chance to see each other and talk about scheduling because he’s observed that there are periods of time where there’s hardly any work, and then times where there’s a “snowfall” of work for students to do.  Even with all the work, the program does have its benefits.

“It’s a good program and it will further your future especially if you want to go into college but it does take a lot of time and effort to succeed,” ex-IB diploma junior, Zoe Chambers said.