International Baccalaureate at Mid-Pacific

The IB program promotes the education of our best and brightest students for a life of active, responsible citizenship. It focuses on the dynamic combination of knowledge, 21st century skills, independent critical and creative thought and global awareness.

The educational philosophy of the IB organization is found in its mission statement:

“Through comprehensive and balanced curricula coupled with challenging assessments, the International Baccalaureate Organization aims to assist schools in their endeavors to develop the individual talents of young people and teach them to relate the experience of the classroom to the realities of the world outside.

Beyond intellectual rigor and high academic standards, strong emphasis is placed on the ideals of international understanding and responsible citizenship, to the end that IB students may become critical and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners and informed participants in local and world affairs, conscious of the shared humanity that binds all people together, while respecting the variety of cultures and attitudes that makes for the richness of life.”

International Baccalaureate Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme?

    The IB Diploma Program is essentially a two-year college program undertaken in the junior and senior years of high school. The IB is the most academically challenging program not only at Mid-Pacific but also for schools worldwide. Students pursue six IB courses (one each of Literature, Social Studies, World Language, Experimental Science, Mathematics, and either the Arts or a second option on the previous five subjects – see the Hexagon below) building on their strengths as well as developing their weaker areas.

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    All students are required to take three additional components:

    1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) – a critical thinking class taken in the 2nd semester of their junior year and 1st semester of their senior year. This class is a philosophy course that ties into the other 6 courses (ex: what does it mean to think mathematically, historically, scientifically? Is the truth knowable? Does Objectivity exist?) and for which students write an essay and prepare an oral argument on one of the essential questions.
    2. Write an original 3000-4000 word Extended Essay (the EE) to develop analytical research skills. Mid-Pacific uses part of the TOK class (first semester junior year) to prepare students for the EE.
    3. Participate in a CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service) Program, thereby developing the whole child.

    C = Engaging in any creative activities such as painting, playing music, photography (MPSA performances apply towards these hours). Creativity can be displayed in a variety of ways outside of the arts such as making a public service announcement video on an environmental or political issue; building a robot to complete a task; digital editing a video; graphic design; planning an event for a club etc.

    A = Engaging in any activity where you break a sweat (school sports apply towards these hours)

    S = community or school service (club activities apply towards these hours) Over the junior and senior year, students perform approximately 50 hours from each category. All IB Diploma students need to show evidence of achievement in the following learning outcomes:

    • increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth
    • undertaken new challenges
    • planned and initiated activities
    • worked collaboratively with others
    • shown perseverance and commitment in their activities
    • engaged with issues of global importance
    • considered the ethical implications of their actions
    • developed new skills
  2. What is the Advanced Placement (AP) Program?

    AP courses are individual year-long survey courses that culminate in an exam assessed by Educational Testing Services/CollegeBoard. AP exams are a combination of multiple choice and essay questions, predominantly assessing content knowledge. AP exams are scored on a 1–5 scale, with scores of a 4 or a 5 generally needed for students to be awarded college credit.

  3. What is the difference between the AP and the IB Programs?

    A major difference between AP and IB is that AP courses are individual one-year courses, whereas IB Diploma is a pack of courses in all major disciplines taken in both the junior and senior year. Another major difference is that IB courses tend to have a greater focus on critical thinking skills within a global education context. There is also a significant difference between AP and IB in terms of assessment methodology. IB incorporates more authentic assessment, in which students can demonstrate what they know and understand through multiple avenues, such as original projects, laboratory investigations, oral presentations, group investigations, synthesized written investigations, performance portfolios etc. as well as the more traditional written examinations. AP courses assess by one cumulative written examination at the end of the course.

  4. What qualities and skills does the IB Diploma Programme develop?

    Learner Profile Puzzle

    The IB Learner Profile IBO: IB Learner Profile Booklet [.pdf] promotes the education of the whole person, emphasizing intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth through all domains of knowledge. Through class assignments, projects, class discussions, oral presentations and multiple assessment avenues, IB students develop the following learner profile attributes:

    • Inquirers
    • Knowledgeable
    • Thinkers
    • Communicators
    • Principled
    • Open-minded
    • Caring
    • Risk-takers
    • Balanced
    • Reflective

    Students graduating from Mid-Pacific with an IB Diploma develop the following qualities and skills:

    • Self confidence with university texts & materials;
    • The capacity for independent /group research & study;
    • Cultivated critical & creative thinking abilities with well-developed communication skills;
    • The ability to complete challenging & rigorous courses of study;
    • A more global perspective;
    • Fluency in two languages;
    • Compassionate concern for others.
  5. How do colleges perceive the IB Program?

    Colleges value and actively recruit IB Diploma students for admissions. Colleges and universities throughout the United States and worldwide have developed an IB recognition policy. The most prestigious colleges tend to give favorable consideration to high performing IB Diploma students in their admissions process. All colleges and universities will give college credit for high IB scores. The amount of credit will vary depending on the college but can be up to one year of credit. Refer to the main IB web page ( to search college recognition policies. Success in the IB Diploma Program is a consistent predictor of success in college, including graduation rate and GPA. In a report (based on data provided by the University of California President's Office, from a relatively recent study by the University of California system: Descriptive analyses indicate that students participating in the IB earned higher grade point averages and graduated at higher rates than comparison group students as well as students in the University of California system overall.

  6. Which IB and AP courses are available at Mid-Pacific?

    IB courses available include:

    English Literature; French; Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish; Global Politics; History; Informational Technology in a Global Society; Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Systems; Physics; Mathematics; Math Studies; Dance; Music; Theatre Arts; Visual Arts

    AP Courses available include:

    Calculus AB & BC; Statistics; Biology; Chemistry; Environmental Science; Physics

  7. Do all Mid-Pacific student enroll in IB or AP classes?

    Participation in the IB and AP programs is strongly encouraged but not mandatory. Students can take just a single IB/AP course or multiple courses up to the full IB Diploma. All students wishing to enroll in any IB or AP classes must be approved by the IB/AP director. Approval is based on a combination of grades, teacher recommendations, standardized test scores and indications of student motivation. A student may request to be considered for IB/AP courses even if they do not receive an initial teacher recommendation.