IB FAQs

What is IB?

IB stands for The International Baccalaureate. It is a two-year, academically challenging and balanced program of education which will prepare students for success both at the university level and in life.

Why take IB?

There are three reasons to take IB. First, there is the possibility that one could receive college credit for the course. Secondly, data reveals that one is more likely to get into the college of their choice having taken IB. Thirdly - and most importantly - the student will learn the skills necessary to be successful in college and the workplace.

What is the cost of IB?

The financial cost of IB is the registration fee (paid only as a junior if one is a diploma candidate - see below for further information on IB Diploma candidacy) and the cost of each test if the student chooses to test. For 2017 registration was $168 and $116/test. If a student receives Free/Reduced Lunch, we request the student pay 10% of the cost, though for any and all students CHS is committed to ensuring that the issue of cost never keeps ANY student from testing.

How much homework is there for IB classes?

It is expected that students will receive about 20 minutes of homework per class per night. So 5 classes should be 1h40m of homework; however, instructors are aware that some classes require more others less homework, so instructors focus on the overall amount of work given.

What is the IB Diploma?

The IB Diploma certifies that the student has completed the full IB course of study. This diploma can be earned in addition to the regular high school diploma by meeting the IB requirements. IB Diploma students must complete coursework that prepares them for 6 IB Exams (3 Higher Level and 3 Standard Level) over 2 years, while also fulfilling the Theory of Knowledge, CAS, and Extended Essay requirements.

How does one earn the IB Diploma?

To earn the diploma, one must test in 6 subjects earning 24 points (minimum 12 HL and 9 SL), complete and pass the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge, and complete the Creativity, Activity, Service requirement. Though the norm is 3 HL and 3 SL classes, a student may choose a 4HL : 2SL path in which case the top 3 HL scores must meet the 12 point minimum, though only 5 SL points are then required.

What are the six IB subjects?

Subject 1 English: in this category the candidate can choose the English Literature option or the English Language and Literature option, both either SL or HL.

Subject 2 World Language: the candidate here can choose between French, Japanese and Spanish HL or SL, though HL is independent study with instructor's permission.

Subject 3 Individuals and Societies: the offerings in this subject are History (History of the Americas + History of the World for HL, the latter only for SL), Business Management and Psychology which is only offered SL. It should be noted that neither Business Management nor Psychology meets WA state's senior Social Studies requirement.

Subject 4 Science: at present, the only Subject 4 offering is Chemistry which can be taken HL or SL. We are exploring the possibility of offering SL Environmental Systems and Societies as an option beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Subject 5 Mathematics: a candidate can choose between IB Mathematics (Calculus) and IB Math Studies (Discrete Math). The former is offered HL or SL, the latter SL only.

Subject 6 The Arts: there are 3 option in this subject, all of which can be taken either HL or SL. The options are Film, Theater Arts and Visual Arts.

Subject 6 Substitutions: It should also be noted that a second class taken in subjects 1-5 may be substituted for a subject 6 class.

What is the Extended Essay?

Begun at the end of the junior year, the EE project allows for a high degree of choice and independent work on the part of the student. Students select a topic from a within a wide ranging number of disciplines stipulated by International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and work with a self-selected faculty advisor to write a 4000 word investigation of their topic. It should be noted that a recent University of VA study provides evidence that this project is what truly differentiates IB students from their peers, and explains why IB student tend to do better and have a more positive attitude in college.

What is Theory of Knowledge?

This course is a keystone experience for the IB Diploma student that highlights the connectivity between the other coursework and outside activities that IB Diploma students engage in. This course will also be offered as a Senior Social Studies option beginning in the 2017-18 school year. All students are encouraged to take this course, regardless of whether they are an IB Diploma Candidate.

What is the Creativity, Activity and Service requirement and why does IB have it?

CAS (creativity, action, service) plays a central role in the educational mission of IBO to educate the whole student. IBO feels that traditional academic learning, though useful, is incomplete if the student's imagination is not engaged, their physical body not developed, nor a connection to their community fostered. IB requires that a student engage in a continual cycle of goal setting, action, and reflection in each of the three areas continually over the 2 year participation in the program.

Must a student be a diploma candidate to take IB?

No. For example a course candidate can choose which IB subjects to test in, and even if a student does not want to test in a subject, they are still encouraged to take IB classes.

What determines if a class is Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL)

An HL class is a two-year sequence while an SL class can be a one- or two-year sequence. Both SL and HL courses consist of the same educational aims, core syllabus, curriculum and assessment models; however, HL courses include a range of additional elements to give the student a greater breadth and depth of knowledge. SL should not, however, be thought of as a 'watered down' version of HL because the assessment criteria are equally demanding.

What is the advantage of taking a class at the Higher Level

Most colleges and universities in the U.S. have an International Baccalaureate policy granting incoming students credit and/or placement for qualifying IB exam grades. Most HL classes will be awarded college credit if the student's score on the HL test is high enough (CHECK WITH YOUR COLLEGE!). Additionally, with the awarding of the IB diploma, UW awards an additional 15 credits, and students at PLU and TESC enter with sophomore standing. The only school in WA that awards SL credit without a diploma is The Evergreen State College.

When and how does one register to take the IB exams?

Exam registration is always in the late October/early November with later registration windows as well, but the costs then increase. A candidate should register for all the subjects they will be testing in the following May. So if one isn't testing in the subject in May, there's no need to register.

What IB classes can be taken at the Higher Level at Capital?

All IB classes at Capital are currently offered at both the HL and SL levels, with the following exceptions: Psychology and Math Studies can only be taken SL, and a World Language class can only be taken HL with the instructor's permission.

What diploma pathways are available to IB students at CHS?

There are 4 types of pathways at CHS towards the IB diploma: Stem with Music, Stem without Music, Non-Stem with Music, Non-Stem without Music. Exemplary schedules can be found at the Capital IB website.

What enrollment requirements and prerequisites are there for taking an IB class?

The primary requirement - with very few exceptions - is that one is in the 11th or 12th grade. We always recommend sophomores talk to their subject teacher in 10th grade to determine if the student is prepared for IB, but there is no gatekeeper - if one wants to take IB one may.

How are IB classes graded?

IB classes are graded like any other high school class, though often using IB rubrics and standards and using IB assessment tools. IB exam scores have nothing to do with the student's high school transcript.

What about IB and state and district requirements for a high school diploma?

With respect to Core 24, if a student is an IB diploma candidate, Core 24 does not apply. District requirements such as 9th grade PE and Health and the High School and Beyond Plan are still required. As to requirements such as Occ Ed and the Arts, students are expected to fulfill these requirements, though they may be waived under very specific circumstances - check with your counselor and/or the IB coordinator.

How do Capital students fare on the IB exams?

Generally speaking very well. For example, in Psychology and History, CHS students have never scored below the international average. In virtually every other subject, the average score has been above 4 (frequently the benchmark for college credit). Additionally, about 80% of diploma candidates achieve the diploma.

What kind of universities do CHS students attend after being in the IB program?

Most students attend either a public or private university in WA, but many are also accepted into selective universities such as Georgetown, Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Chicago, Northwestern, USC, Claremont, Harvey Mudd, Embry Riddle, Webb, Johns Hopkins, etc.

How does IB compare with other programs such as AP, Running Start, etc.

All of these are excellent, college preparatory programs, The best current data on them can be found at OSPI. Please go to http://www.k12.wa.us/SecondaryEducation/CareerCollegeReadiness/DualCredit/default.aspx

Where can I find more information about the IB Program at Capital High School?

Please visit the Capital High School IB webpage (main site, top menu Academics, next page, side menu International Baccalaureate). You can also visit IB's webpage at www.ibo.org, email the IB coordinator, Ken Joling, at jolingkl@osd.wednet.edu, or call him at 596-8238.