I would like to offer some basic information about two of the academic programs we run here in the ASH High School for those who may have heard these terms bouncing off the walls in the halls of the high school. For those of you who know a bit about these program already, keep reading as there have been some interesting changes to the program. If you can, plan on attending a more in depth presentation which will take place on February 8th at 6:45 p.m. in the ASH theater.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The International Baccalaureate is a popular choice for many of our grade 11 and 12 students who are looking for a challenging curriculum with a global perspective. We have offered the diploma program for nearly 15 years and are very proud of our results. For those not familiar with the IB structure, the IB Diploma , which takes two years to complete, consists of six subject areas called “Groups.” Students must choose a subject from each of the groups either at the demanding “higher level” or at the “standard level.” Students must choose 3 higher level courses and 3 standard level courses to make up their personal program. In addition to the subjects, there are also three “core” elements that all Diploma candidates must take. These are Theory of Knowledge (TOK), a course about what it means to “know” and the ways of experiencing and knowing the world; the Extended Essay (EE), a 4000 word independent investigation of the student’s choice; and finally, the Creativity, Action, and Service program, known as CAS, where students are required to get involved in activities beyond the curriculum.
Students who do not wish to take on the entire nine part diploma program are eligible for “IB certificates” in any number of subjects at either level. The certificate candidate does not participate in TOK, CAS or the Extended Essay, but is fully involved with all the subject requirements and, of course, the final exam in May of the second year.
The program for students who are beginning in the fall of 2011 and who will take exams in May 2013 has been recently revised by the IB. Now there will be four separate offerings in the important Group 1 area called Language A. Traditionally this group offered only courses in literature. There was no real option for students who also wanted to study non-fiction texts, which they could only do in the Group 2 languages area in the A2 English or Dutch course. Now, beginning in 2011, students will have the option to study either a complete literature course, much like what we have offered in the past but with exciting new possibilities, or a new course called “Language A: Language and Literature” which will include both fiction and non-fiction texts. Thus, the offerings will be Language A: Literature at both the higher and standard levels, as well as Language A: Language and Literature, also given at the higher and standard levels.
This will have particular impact on students, who previously may have studied their mother tongue literature in combination with English A2 in order to meet the requirements for the full diploma program. The new Language and Literature option, will allow these students to meet the Group 1 requirement and allow them to take a modern language like Dutch, Spanish or German if they wish. Of course, the mother tongue literature self-study/tutorial course will still be available for those wishing to study their native literature for whatever reason, but students now have a wider choice.
Another change that broadens the choices for students is the re-introduction of German Ab Initio to go along with our popular Spanish Ab Initio for students who study a language “from the beginning” as the name implies. We will continue to offer Language B modern languages in Dutch, Spanish, French and German. The curriculum has been enhanced in these courses as well. We are in the midst of updating our website and course descriptions online to show all the changes in the IB for next year.
If you have questions, or you are a 10th grader thinking about taking on the IB next year, contact the IB coordinator at IB@ash.nl for more information or an appointment to plan your program. It is never too early to plan!
Advanced Placement (AP)
As an alternative, we also offer a very challenging set of courses in the Advanced Placement program (AP), organized by the College Board in Princeton, New Jersey. The AP is routinely used for admissions and placement purposes by universities in the U.S. and Canada. Contrary to what you may have heard, AP is also recognized in some form in more than 55 countries in Europe and the world. ASH students have used results successfully for placement in universities, for example, in the UK and The Netherlands. Students may choose from as many as 14 different courses in the AP each year. In this way, students may design a challenging program that also shows their academic areas of strength. AP courses are generally one year in length leading to a three-hour externally assessed exam in May. Most AP course are considered on par with first year university courses. They are rigorous and require motivation and hard work on the part of students. We offer AP courses in English, the sciences, math, social studies and music. We have added a new course this year in the AP in Comparative Government taught in conjunction with international relations. Students may also take AP exams in subjects that are not offered at ASH and are a bit like “home schooled” courses. For more information on these possibilities, be sure to contact the AP coordinator at AP@ash.nl.
AP results are based on the May AP exam given at the end of the course. Universities may use the results to grant advanced standing or even to grant college credit. We are proud that ASH has been running the AP program successfully for over 45 years. Just as we do in the IB, we encourage students to challenge themselves with AP courses where possible.
Students may also decide to mix their program with some IB and some AP courses to build a highly individualized program. Both programs are challenging, but well worth the effort as our graduates can tell you.
Be on the lookout soon for updates to our IB and AP pages on Inside ASH.
To find out more, please come to the Coordinator’s presentation on the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Programs at ASH scheduled for February 8, 2011 at 6:45 in the ASH Theater.
A copy of the presentation will be available shortly after the information evening on Inside ASH.