IB program distinguishes Sequoia’s curriculum

Soana Afu and Sarah Fazio

Since 2002, Sequoia has been accredited as an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Like IB’s more-common counterpart, Advanced Placement (AP), IB courses are college-level classes meant to prepare students for post-secondary success.

“I think taking challenging classes is beneficial because it teaches students to struggle and then overcome that struggle,” junior Marco Pretell said.

While IB and AP share the goal of preparing students for future endeavors, the two programs differ in a multitude of ways.

“In an AP class, you might look very deeply at an issue and look at it from multiple perspectives. In IB, it would probably be […] looking at that issue over time and how it has impacted other parts of the world,” said Matthew Nelson, Director of Advanced Academics for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in an article.

Additionally, some feel that AP courses teach more to the test than IB courses do.

“[In AP courses] you learn everything in terms of the AP style. The way that IB is taught it’s more about learning the material,” Sequoia Senior Jasleen Pella-Lutzker said.
Teachers of AP courses can feel pressured to teach just to the test.

“It is a specific test,” said Woodside High School AP Physics teacher Stephanie Finander. “I have to teach exactly the topic they say I have to teach. It’s sort of restrictive.”

Both courses culminate in an exam that gets students college credit. IB, though, is internationally recognized, compared to AP’s primarily domestic reputation.

“I’ve always wanted to live outside of the country, so IB has definitely helped me,” Pella-Lutzer said.

Internationally, the IB program might be more beneficial, but, in the U.S., both programs help with admissions.

“Colleges know what courses are available at your school,” Finander said.