Super-students are arguing about which advanced classes are harder, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or a new (to the U.S.) program from the University of Cambridge. The Washington Post reports:
AP students say that the IB program allows for too many open-ended questions on exams and that many IB assignments amount to busywork.
IB partisans . . . contend that their classes are more integrated and worldly and involve much more homework than AP’s. They cite the fact that they have to take at least six IB courses — three of them are two years long — and that one of them must be a foreign language class. . . . What’s more, IB diploma students have to write a 4,000-word mini-thesis.
. . . Cambridge fans say the program is the most challenging because it encourages students to spend more time analyzing material than memorizing facts.
. . . “I believe Cambridge is the most rigorous academic program that exists,” (Principal Alexander) Carter said. “The AP program is, ‘Show what you know.’ The Cambridge program is, ‘Show us what you can do with what you know.’ “
What students really want to know is: Which program do admissions officers at elite universities think is best?