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Students Voice Their Opinions about BCA’s AP and IB Courses

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“Results indicated that 46.7% of students favor AP classes, 38.9% have no preference, and 14.4% prefer IB classes.”

The Bergen County Academies is one of the best high schools in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report rankings.  The curriculum at BCA consists of many higher level courses, which include a variety of International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) classes that students have to choose from. To get a better sense of how students feel about BCA’s untraditional hybrid of AP and IB courses, a survey of 92 students was recently conducted.

The first question respondents answered included, “Do you take IB classes or plan on taking IB classes while at BCA?” Given the competitive nature of the Academies, it is no surprise that 81.1% of respondents said yes.

The same question was asked with regards to AP classes, and once again an overwhelming majority responded with a yes. 87.8 % of people who took the survey are currently taking AP classes or plan on taking AP classes while at the Academies.

Respondents also indicated their preference when asked, “Do you prefer AP or IB classes?” Results indicated that 46.7% of students favor AP classes, 38.9% have no preference, and 14.4% prefer IB classes.

The final multiple choice question was phrased as follows: “Some students feel IB classes won’t be useful for college because not many schools accept IB credits. What is your opinion?” The majority of students, 45.6%, chose the response that suggested that while IB credits are not useful for college, BCA should still incorporate these courses into the curriculum.  17.8% of students felt the IB curriculum is not useful and that BCA should discontinue offering IB level courses. 20% of respondents felt that  IB courses are useful for college, and the remaining responses were varied in content and significance.

“IB classes would be much more useful if academies other than ABF had the opportunity to obtain an IB diploma.”

An open ended response was also asked of the students and prompted them to share “any additional comments on AP/IB courses at BCA” as well as “ what [they] would like to see change.” The majority of respondents chose to address the lack of credit received by IB courses in college when compared to AP courses.

Some students viewed the IB curriculum unfavorably.  

Sabine Noureddine, a junior in AMST stated, “ We need more AP classes because many colleges don’t recognize the credit. We’re doing work for two years when we can only do work for one year and get more recognition.”

A 12th grader from AMST also criticized the IB curriculum, explaining, “ IB classes are very inefficient, as they follow a 2 year curriculum and lead to the accruement of a limited amount of college credits.”

Not all students dislike the IB curriculum. Julia Joy an AMST senior stated, “Not many colleges offer credits for IB classes, but I still enjoy the course and curriculum.”

Miri Goodman, an AAST 11th grade student, defended the IB classes saying, “I find them fun and interesting and I do not think that every decision made here should just be for the college application.” She added,  “I love learning and the IB classes help me see subjects in a new and interesting way.”

Kaia Rendo, an AMST junior, felt that “IB classes would be much more useful if academies other than ABF had the opportunity to obtain an IB diploma.” Some other students had similar comments to Kaia. Recently students in ACAHA were given the option to obtain the IB diploma, but students from the other academies are still left out. Other respondents in the business academy questioned why they were forced to take the IB curriculum. 

The survey allowed for students to share their varying opinions regarding the curriculum at BCA. After analyzing the responses, the general consensus seems to be that students would like to see BCA continuing to offer IB courses and giving the option of obtaining an IB diploma to all students, while working to increase AP courses.  

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Students Voice Their Opinions about BCA’s AP and IB Courses