Academics
Upper School | Levels 9-12

Commonly Asked Questions about IB at Alcuin

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What is the difference between getting the IB diploma or not?

    Our students will have completed the IB curriculum which is recognized very favorably by colleges and universities. Alcuin seniors will have gone through a complete high school IB curriculum and will graduate from Alcuin with outstanding preparation for college, whether they earn the IB Diploma or not.  IB offers academic breadth and depth, colleges and universities value students with meaningful experiences beyond the classroom, is recognized by universities around the world, creates independent learners and strong writers, assesses more than examination techniques, students have proven time management skills, and encourages critical thinking. IB students have proven time management skills and are valued by colleges/universities for their meaningful experiences. 

    If students so choose, they may sit for IB exams in May of their senior year, either in all their courses or a few of them.  At this point, all the college admission decisions have been made so the only difference between earing an IB diploma versus the traditional high school diploma is whether the students get college credit or not.  Should they score high enough, they will either be awarded a certificate for any courses in which they earn a score of 4 or above or the IB diploma if they earn 24 points out of a total possible of 45 for their required 6 subjects.
  • Q: Can IB student earn college credit?

    According to individual college/university policy, an IB student can earn college credits by taking and passing the IB exams.  For example, Texas Senate Bill 111 prescribes 24 hours of college credit for any student earning the IB diploma.
  • Q: What is the Diploma Programme?

    The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is for eleventh and twelfth graders.  All IB courses provide college level content.  The aim of the DP is to prepare students for success in higher education and to be active participants in a global society.  It addresses the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students.  DP has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

    One of the culminating projects of the 12th grade is an Extended Essay, a scholarly research essay of 3,000 to 4,000 words on the topic of interest to the student.  Students begin working on the essay in the fall of their junior year and complete it in the fall of their senior year.  This component is unique to the IB Diploma Programme and is greatly respected by colleges and universities. 
  • Q: Is Alcuin School displacing the Montessori Program with IB?

    No, Alcuin is not displacing the Montessori Program with IB.  Alcuin’s mission statements clearly states:…by providing the ideal Montessori and International Baccalaureate education.  Our mission statement is the tenet by which we abide, one that we hold dear as our roots are embedded in Montessori.  In the 6th level, according to their developmental needs, students are introduced to the IB Middle Years Program (IB MYP) framework, while still engaging with the Montessori curriculum.
  • Q: What is the difference between pure IB and some kind of hybrid?

    Alcuin offers a pure IB Middle and Upper School, meaning we only offer IB courses.  All the students courses will be IB courses (either at the regular level or advanced level) using the Middle Years Program (MYP) or Diploma Program (DP) curriculum.  A hybrid is a school that offers regular, AP or IB courses where the student can choose which level they would like to take.  These schools do not adhere to the pure IB curriculum; they only offer certain courses at the IB level.  Hybrid programs will have a more fragmented approach, whereas Alcuin School will have consistent offerings.
  • Q: What do IB students get that is different from traditionally educated students?

    The IB continuum of international education is unique because of its academic excellence.  IB challenges students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth.  IB aims to inspire a quest for learning throughout life that is marked by enthusiasm and empathy.  Students are taught to think for themselves and to drive the learning process.  Schools that offer the IB curriculum help students to become well-rounded individuals with character, who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, are confident in their own identities, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity, and are prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and unpredictable situations. 
  • Q: Is IB too rigorous for the average student?

    Alcuin School has for more than 10 years been authorized for the IB Middle Years Programme (IBMYP).  As an IB Diploma Programme (DP) candidate school, Alcuin School will join 2,795 schools offering the DP in 143 countries worldwide.  This continuum of inquiry-based world-class educational programs provides an aligned curriculum and pedagogy which benefits all Alcuin students from 6th level through Upper School.  As long as students have good time management skills, love inquiry and collaboration, consider learning fun and aren’t afraid to put forth effort, they will be able to handle the IB programmes.  IB is not intended for the brightest students only, all types of students are excelling in the IB MYP and IB DP.
  • Q: How does IB compare to Advanced Placement (AP)?

    Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses offer unique benefits to students, but have different educational goals.  AP courses tend to focus intensively on a particular subject, while IB courses take a more holistic approach.  AP focuses on the answer whereas IB focuses on the process.

    AP programs, which are structured around a curriculum representing introductory college courses, allow students to enroll only in those courses in which they exhibit both ability and interest.  In contrast, the IB program combines advanced content knowledge with a focus on the development of critical thinking and an appreciation of global issues.  IB is a more integrated program of study than AP, which is more “a la carte” in its offerings.  Students can earn college credit with either; however, college credit for IB courses is often prescribed by state law and college/university policy. 
  • Q: What is the Middle Years Programme?

    The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is for students in grade 6 through 10.  The MYP provides a framework of learning which encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers.  The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world.  The culminating project in 10th grade is the Personal Project where the students investigate, plan, take action, and reflect on a topic of their choice.
  • Q: Exactly how does IB complement the Montessori Program - how do they tie together?

    The Montessori and IB programs are linked by having the same underlying educational priorities of fostering the independence and inquiry of the student.  Both programs motivate students to excel in their studies and personal growth. 
  • Q: What happens if a student decides not to take IB Diploma Program tests or decides to take them and doesn’t pass any?

    Alcuin students who successfully complete Alcuin’s 12th grade graduation requirements, regardless of whether they take any IB test or not, will graduate with an Alcuin Upper School diploma.  Alcuin School is accredited by Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, which is recognized by colleges and universities as an approved accrediting agency.