IB Myths

Myth:  IB is only for students who have lived orphan to live in another country.

Fact: IB is for any student regardless of past cultural experiences or future plans.

Myth:  IB is only for students whose parents are affiliated with The Dow Chemical Company.

Fact:  While MPS is fortunate to have The Dow Chemical Company Foundation as a financial partner, any student who has the prerequisite classes and a desire to dedicate themselves to the program may participate in IB.

Myth:  IB is only for the very brightest of students who are in the top 10% of their class.

Fact:  As stated above, any student who has the prerequisites and a desire to commit  themselves to the program may pursue an IB Diploma. Several MPS students who have earned the IB Diploma were not in the top of their class. While the IB Diploma Program is academically challenging, there is ample research to demonstrate that students with a wide range of ability can and do benefit.

Myth:  The IB is an elite club that does not impact many students.

Fact:  The IB is committed to making high quality education available to as many students as possible and aims to attract one million students by 2014. As of the 2010-11 school year, MPS students earned over 1,000 IB certificates.Currently, in the 2011-12 school year, 80 IB class sections are offered between the two high schools. In addition, because both Midland and H. H. Dow High Schools are IB World Schools, IB instructional approaches and curricular strategies impact the entire school environment.

Myth:  Students who pursue an IB Diploma do so because they have plans to attend Ivy League or very competitive universities, or they wish to study abroad.

Fact: While some IB Diploma students do have these plans, most attend in-statepublic colleges or universities,and a few have begun their education at Delta College and other community colleges.

Myth:  IB does not help students earn as much college credit as AP (Advanced Placement).

Fact: While this may have been true in years past, it is no longer the case. As IB has grown in Michigan, so too has college recognition. In some cases students have benefited from taking both IB and AP exams in a particular subject area. We always recommend that students and parents consult a particular university’s IB/AP recognition policy and/or speak directly to an admissions representative.

Myth:  IB is replacing AP.

Fact:  MPS supports both IB and AP in its high schools. There is no initiative underway for IB to replace AP. It is our understanding that AP is moving toward exams that are more similar to IB exams, i.e. more student choice and more writing, and away from multiple choice – dominated tests that cover a broad range of material. MPS currently offers four classes that are designated both IB and AP,and every effort is made to prepare students for both programs.

Myth:  There is no value in pursuing IB certificates if the chosen college or university does not recognize them.

Fact:  Even if no credit is given, there is always inherent value in taking IB courses and completing the required assessments.Universities are becoming increasingly aware of the knowledge and skills IB students bring with them to college classes. In addition, MPS has had students receive credit for SL (standard level) classes even though the published recognition policy was to recognize only HL (higher level) courses.

Myth:  Pursuing the full IB Diploma is not worth the extra effort, as earning individual certificates is equally as valuable.

Fact:  While Alma College is currently the only Michigan school that automatically gives Diploma students 32 credits and immediate sophomore status, many students who put this credential on their college applications state that they are given preferred status for acceptance and often receive invitations to join honors colleges. In addition, the benefits of completing the core of the IB program (Theory of Knowledge – ToK, the Extended Essay – EE, and Creativity/Action/Service – CAS) are repeatedly reported from students in terms of their improved thinking skills, time management and overall academic success at college.

Myth:  IB is a European program and does not emphasize the cultural history and values of the United States.

Fact:  While IB began in Europe, it draws on many cultural traditions. All IB subjects allow for a high degree of teacher choice so as to ensure that materials are relevant to students. By examining a variety of world perspectives, students are better able to understand their country’s place in it.

Myth:  The IB Diploma Program in MPS will no longer exist once the Dow Chemical Company Foundation grant money has been spent.

Fact:  MPS is committed to the IB DP program. It is an important part of the curriculum that helps fulfill the district’s 21st Century Learning objectives. Plans are currently being made to be able to financially sustain the program well into the future.