Legislation Update - 02/11/2011

Prepared by: Sandra S. Morales, Legislative Advocate
sandram@sia-us.com 916.669.5417
School Innovations & Advocacy (SI&A)


California state universities (CSU) and community colleges do not have a consistent process and/or policy in place to award credits for students who have completed International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. With no definitive direction, the existing process is inconsistent, unfair, and is harming students and families. From a state perspective, students unnecessarily take courses which extend their stay in the system, thus limiting opportunities for other students, and ultimately increasing state costs.


For California community colleges and CSU to adopt a policy that would give students obtaining a score of 5, 6 or 7 on IB HL and SL courses, or who successfully obtain an IB Career Certificate (IBCC), the same credits given to students with a 4 or 5 score on equivalent AP courses.


High school students who complete the rigorous IB courses do not always receive academic recognition from California community colleges and CSU. The IB program is well recognized by universities around the world and most of these institutions have established recognition policies for the IB courses. The University of California (UC) gives credits for either an IB diploma or for individual IB exams. A student who completes the IB diploma with a score of 30 or above will receive 30 quarter (20 semester) units toward their UC degree. Students who receive IB certificates with scores of 5, 6, or 7 on Higher Level exams will receive 8 quarter (5.3 semester) units. Designated examinations may be considered equivalent to UC freshman-level courses in the subject and may be used to satisfy general education or breadth requirements.

The California community colleges and state universities do not have a standardized process to recognize and administer credits for completed IB courses. In fact, most community colleges and CSU’s do not recognize IB courses and students are likely to take unnecessary classes. Unfortunately, the lack of standardization creates inconsistent results. Thus, prospective community college and state university students don’t know whether or not their IB classes will receive the proper credit. While Advance Placement and International Baccalaureate curricula has been recognized as gold standards, our community colleges and state universities typically only award credits to students with AP courses. The California UC system and private colleges recognize the IB credits, there is no reason for California state universities and community colleges not to create a policy and standardize this process.

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