Frequently Asked Questions
What is the International Baccalaureate Program?
The IB Diploma program is a two-year pre-university course for 11th and 12th grade which provides a core and elective curriculum and is measured through internal and external examinations. To earn the IB diploma, students complete and test in six IB subjects; write an extended essay of independent research guided by a faculty mentor, complete 150 hours of creative, action, and service activities (CAS); and participate in a critical thinking course called Theory of Knowledge (ToK). This advanced, comprehensive program of study offers an integrated approach to learning across the disciplines with an emphasis on meeting the challenges of living and working in a global, technological society. Students who take IB courses without completing the entire program may earn IB certificates by testing in selected IB courses.
What types of students are suited for the IB program?
The IB has always been committed to making an IB education available to students from all types of backgrounds. The IB program is challenging and interdisciplinary by nature. The main thrust of this program is to provide a well-rounded education. This program is designed for the intellectually curious and motivated student whose needs might otherwise not be met in a standard classroom. No student need be a "genius" or straight "A" student to enroll. It is elitist only in the sense of motivation not academic ability. The program serves many students of differing abilities on differing levels. Any student who is motivated to participate in stimulating classes is a candidate for the total curriculum or for individual classes in his/her specific interest areas.
The IB Program is the most challenging academic program available at LSHS. Students who took IB classes who now attend universities report that their involvement with the IB Program has given them the skills needed to succeed in college. In addition the ACT reports that only 21% of high school graduates who take the ACT meet college readiness benchmarks in English, Math, and Science. This same report states that students gain from taking more rigorous courses regardless of their achievement level.
The classes are also preparing, not only for success in college, but for success in life. Students gain a broader world view; follow in-depth approaches to the academic disciplines; and develop time management, problem-solving, research, and organizational skills that will remain with them long after the IB experience is over.
The IB has established a set of learning outcomes known as the IB Learner Profile. The hope is to develop students who become inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced, and reflective.
IB Diploma v. IB Certificate
While the IB emphasizes the Diploma Program students do have a choice within the IB program; they may either present themselves as a Diploma candidate and participate fully in the program or they may choose to participate as a Certificate candidate by enrolling in IB courses in their areas of interest. The Diploma offers a certain amount of specialization while ensuring complete instruction in Math, Science, Language Arts, History, Foreign Language, Philosophy and Art. Certificate candidates receive the benefits of smaller classes and the enriching curriculum in the subject matter of their choice without committing themselves to the rigors of the Diploma Program. Students who enroll in individual courses will receive an IB certificate noting the courses they took and the marks they earned.
While pursuit of the IB Diploma may present challenges, its requirements are definitely within the capabilities of those motivated students who want to experience the greatest academic and intellectual growth. A common goal of the teachers and our principal, Dr. Faulkenberry, is to increase both the number of students taking certificates in IB classes and those pursuing the IB Diploma.
What is the general workload in IB classes?
This will vary based on the subject. IB classes are typically more challenging than regular high school classes, and so students may be asked to do more homework. The challenge, however, is not always in the amount of homework assigned; rather, it is in the quality of the assignments and the extent to which students engage those assignments. Many students express satisfaction with the workload in that they understand its relevance to the subject matter and to their future. The added benefit here is that students take greater responsibility for their own learning while they acquire the valuable skills of time management and organization. The homework assigned cannot usually be completed on work breaks, in front of the television or in the presence of other distractions.
Can a student participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities while enrolled in the IB Program?
Yes!!! Most of our students are involved in extra-curricular school activities as well as church, community and family. This requires a bit of time management; however, quite often the most involved students are also IB students. Our students are athletes, cheerleaders, musicians, dramatists, club members and officers. They are individuals who have a great variety of interests. The added benefit for Diploma candidates is that some of their activities are incorporated into the Diploma Program through the “CAS” (Creativity, Action, and Service) requirement.
We recognize that IB Diploma Candidates are also motivated beyond the classroom. IB Diploma Candidates have performed successfully at the highest levels in music, theater, academic clubs/organizations, and athletics while maintaining the expected academic standards. Our teachers make every effort to take into consideration the demands on students both inside and outside the classroom.
When do students take IB Exams?
A student pursuing the full IB Diploma will take six IB exams, including one literature course taught in the student’s native language, one foreign language, one social science, one experimental science, one math, and one arts course. The arts course can be replaced by a second social science, a second experimental science, or a third language. Of the six exams, three are taken at the standard level (after a minimum of 150 teaching hours) and three are taken at the higher level (after a minimum of 240 teaching hours).
All candidates will take their Higher Level exams in May at the conclusion of the two-year class. Candidates testing for Standard Level classes take exams in May at the conclusion of the one-year class. All examinations are administered by the high school during the regular school day.
May 2012 Exam Schedule (pdf)
Can students earn college credit through the IB Program?
Possibly. Any credit or advanced standing awarded by a college/university is dependent upon a number of factors. The first consideration is the policies of the specific college/university the student has decided to attend. A second consideration is the score the student has received on the IB exam(s). Other things to consider include the IB subjects/exams that were taken and the level of the exams (Higher Level v. Standard Level). Many colleges will not award credit for Standard Level exams taken. The best way to find out which colleges/universities grant credit is to go to the university/college website (see the Links page of this website). In addition several classes at Lee's Summit High School also offer dual credit for a fee through colleges/universities such as UMKC, UCM, and Longview.
What is the cost of taking IB Exams?
All fees are set by the IB and change slightly every year. For Diploma candidates the cost of the exams is borne by Lee's Summit High School. For testing in May 2012 the cost for Certificate candidates is $245 for the first exam and an additional $100 for each exam afterwards. The fees are payable to Lee's Summit High School and due by October 20th. An informational letter was sent to parents in August, attached to their child's schedule at registration, outlining the specifics.
IB Exam Fee Letter (pdf)