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Placement & Proficiency
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The International Baccalaureate ("IB") Diploma Programme is a two-year, holistic educational program roughly corresponding to the junior and senior years of high school in the American school system. Students earning the diploma have to study from six subject groups, three at the Standard Level and three at the Higher Level; study at least two languages; and complete a compulsory core composed of three elements (a course on the theory of knowledge, an extended essay of some 4000 words that functions as an independent research project, and "creativity, activity, and service" which entails 150 hours of community service). The Higher Level and Standard Level exams are taken in May or November, are partially graded by their teachers and partially graded by external examiners, and are scored on a scale of 1 to 7. The approximate meaning of the final scores is as follows:
Course credit earned from AP and IB exams will be posted to the student’s official academic record. Whether a student chooses to take the course anyway will very much depend on the individual student’s academic strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Students should consider the requirements of their current program as well as their future plans.
For example, students who think they might go on to grad school need to be aware that many professional schools (e.g., medical schools) and graduate schools WILL NOT accept test-based credit. Instead, they require evidence that the student successfully completed the actual course at a college or university in order to be considered for admission to a graduate program. For example, the med school wants to see “MCB 150” on the student’s academic transcript and not “Test-Based Credit for MCB 150." New students at Illinois can discuss this with their academic advisors when registering for first-semester classes.
The courses that college students take fall into three broad categories that sometimes overlap:
a) Courses that are required for their major. These courses are typically within the same field; for example, a computer science major will take computer science courses.
b) Courses that fulfill the university’s General Education requirements. Such courses serve to ensure that undergraduates get a well-rounded education by studying a well-balanced array of subjects. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have seven Gen Ed areas:
• Composition (i.e., critical thinking and writing)
• Quantitative Reasoning (e.g., math)
• Humanities and the Arts (e.g., history)
• Social and Behavioral Sciences (e.g., anthropology, political science)
• Natural Sciences and Technology (e.g., chemistry, biology)
• Cultural Studies:
-- Western/Comparative (e.g., European history)
-- Non-Western (e.g., African studies)
-- U.S. Minority (e.g., Asian American History)
• Language Other Than English (formerly “foreign language”)
c) Courses that are electives. Electives allow a student to explore subjects simply for the pleasure of being exposed to new ideas and for the opportunity to learn something different from what they are required to learn for their major or Gen Ed courses. These include any courses that count towards the minimum number of hours required for graduation that do not fall into the categories of "Courses that are required for their major" or "Courses that fulfill the university's General Education requirements."
For the purposes of this legislation discussion, major and Gen Ed credit awarded on the basis of an AP or IB test score will correspond to an actual course when the content of the AP or IB course and the student’s mastery of that material corresponds closely to the content of a course taught on this campus. For example, an AP Psychology score of 5 earns credit for our PSYC 100 course. In contrast, elective credit awarded on the basis of an AP or IB test score will typically indicate that the content of the AP or IB course does not correspond to the content of a specific course taught on this campus. For example, scores of 3, 4, and 5 on the AP Seminar exam will earn 3 hours of elective credit.
The new AP policies went into effect for all new students enrolling for the first time during the 2016-2017 academic year. The new IB policies went into effect for all new students enrolling for the first time during the 2017-2018 academic year.
It depends on when you first enrolled at Illinois.
The AP portion of the law went into effect for the 2016-2017 academic year, and so the new policies apply only to new, incoming students who enrolled at Illinois from Fall 2016 onwards. If you first enrolled at Illinois prior to Fall 2016, you cannot get credit for AP scores of 3 unless policy was already awarding credit for scores of 3. Please check the archives to see the policies that apply to you.
The IB portion of the law went into effect for the 2017-2018 academic year, and so the new policies apply only to new, incoming students who enrolled at Illinois from Fall 2017 onwards. If you first enrolled at Illinois prior to Fall 2017, you cannot get credit for certain IB scores unless policy was already awarding credit for those scores. Please check the archives to see the policies that apply to you.
As has been our campus’ practice for many years, the amount of AP or IB credit that currently enrolled students earned when they first enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will neither be added to nor taken away when new policies go into effect.
QUESTION: What if a student at another institution earns credit for a test score that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign doesn’t accept (e.g., an AP score of 2)? Or what if the other institution awards credit for a specific course and this campus does not (e.g., for an AP score of 3, the other institution awards PSYC 100 credit but Illinois awards PSYC 1 - - elective credit)? If the student in either of these scenarios transfers to Illinois, will the course credit transfer too?
ANSWER: Possibly. A student presenting test-based credit may be granted transfer credit on our campus if he or she has successfully completed:
If the test-based credit does not meet both of these criteria, the student may submit the original AP scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for evaluation.
View the AP placement and proficiency credit policies that apply to new students enrolling in 2019-2020.
View the IB placement and proficiency credit policies that apply to new students enrolling in 2019-2020.