IB is an international curriculum grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and designed to educate well-rounded, global citizens. The IB organization administers several programs, one of which offers the opportunity to earn college credit in high school: The IB Diploma Programme. Sometimes IB programs are offered as one option within a larger menu of school-based programming options. Other times, an entire school may be based around an IB curriculum.

Three Core Components

The IB Diploma Programme requires three core components: a theory of knowledge course; activities designed to promote creativity, action, and service; and an extended essay project based on original independent research. It also requires coursework in six different areas: first language, second language, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, and the arts. Students are required to take standardized courses in each subject area, and these tests are scored externally on a seven-point scale; a score of four or higher is considered college level.5

In 2005, the 79th Texas Legislature began requiring all Texas public institutions of higher education to grant college credit to high school graduates who have earned an IB Diploma Programme. Additionally, the legislation requires colleges and universities to grant at least 24 hours of credit to entering IB diploma students who received a score of at least four on the standardized exams required to earn their diplomas.6

Unlike AP, which can be offered on an individual-course basis, offering the IB Diploma Programme requires comprehensive implementation and fidelity to the IB model (the program is administered out of Switzerland). While this option may not be as readily available as the AP credit-earning option, there are a substantial number of IB programs being administered in Texas: currently 130 are being offered at 111 schools (101 of which are public) in 44 different Texas cities.7