IB Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anyone take part in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program?
A: Yes. All students are welcome!

Q: When can a student start the IB?
A: The IB courses are taken over two years – during 11th and 12th grade. However, in order to be prepared to take the academically challenging courses, it is important that students begin to plan their academic path early.

Q: Do students receive an SBS diploma as well?
A: Yes. After successfully completing all requirements of the IB organization, IB Diploma Programme students will have earned an IB Diploma and after successfully completing all Stoneleigh-Burnham requirements, these students will also have earned an SBS diploma. We have structured our course of study to allow students to pursue both diplomas successfully within the traditional 4-year high school experience.

Q: Can a student take just IB courses and not take part in the full IB Diploma Program?
A: Yes. A student can enroll in an individual IB course and pursue an IB certificate by successfully completing all assessments.

Q: What are the IB assessments? When are they taken?
A: Students take written examinations in May of their 12th grade year, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assignments, science, labs, oral examinations, performances, and projects during their junior and senior years, which are either initially marked by SBS teachers and then moderated by external IB moderators or sent directly to external IB examiners.

Q: How many courses do I have to take to get the IB Diploma?
A: Six courses are required in addition to completion of the Extended Essay (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). At least three, and no more than four, courses need to be taken at the higher level (HL). The remaining courses are taken at the standard level (SL).

Q: How much does it cost?
A: Each subject costs $119. SBS provides financial support so that no student should let the cost prohibit her attempting certificates or the full diploma programme.

Q: How are SBS IB students prepared for college?
A: IB gives students a more seamless transition to higher education. Further, an IB diploma stands out because a student has had in-depth study in ALL types of subjects, not just the ones in which a student is “strong.” Students graduate with skills in time management, research, and public speaking.

Q: How does the IB Diploma Programme compare to the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP)?
A: The IB has become a preferred curriculum for many post-secondary institutions because of its similarities to university level learning and teaching methodologies. The IB programme is accepted in countries outside the US, especially in Europe. 



International academic standards U.S. academic standards
Exams are externally evaluated by an international group of educators Exams are scored by a US organization
Teachers are evaluated, monitored and provided with feedback No feedback to teachers other than student test results
IB teachers are required to participate in intensive training to be certified to teach the IB and are required to participate in on-going professional development Though encouraged, AP teachers are not required to receive training to teach AP classes
IB courses emphasize interdisciplinary thought and exploration AP courses are taught in isolation of one another
Students are assessed in multiple ways within their course work and with summative exams Exams are only requirement
The full IB diploma requires CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), an Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course No concurrency of learning
Upon successful completion of the programme, a diploma is issued which is recognized internationally Upon completion of AP coursework, no diploma is issued