This is the first year at East that students can opt out of doing the International Baccalaureate, or IB, full diploma in order to take only selected choice of IB courses in the certificate program because of a district mandate.
Students involved in IB full diploma courses take six IB classes, write an extended essay, and participate in community, activity, and service hours (CAS). IB students also take an eighth class, Theory of Knowledge during seminar. Students involved in the certificate program have to take a minimum of two IB courses of their choice and do not need a certain score on their exams to get a certificate. Full diploma students need a combined score of 24 from all six of their IB courses. IB tests are scored out of 7, thus a 4 from each subject is needed for a diploma.
There are 33 full diploma and three certificate candidates in the senior class. In past years, students who no longer wanted to partake in the diploma program had to drop out entirely, but the certificate program gives them the option to not completely quit IB.
However, there are 43 full diploma and 32 certificate candidates in the junior class, making it the largest IB class East has ever seen.
“I don’t want to lose our great tradition of a very solid full diploma program,” IB coordinator Monique Goodeyon said. “Certainly that hasn’t happened yet, and I hope it never happens. That was my one concern though that the full diploma program would suffer because kids would choose to do just a couple of classes.”
Before it was confirmed that all IB students would have to take the exams, teachers were concerned it would turn into an AP type class with kids choosing to opt out of testing, according to Goodeyon. Teachers soon realized that the kids sitting in the classes were fully committed to IB, because regardless of whether a student is certificate or not, everyone has to take the IB exams.
Disruption of the close bond among IB students was also a concern going into the school for the junior class. So far though, this hasn’t been the case for most students.
“I honestly can’t think of any way it would be better without them,” Nat Nitsch junior IB diploma student said. “I know in the past it has been a super close tight knit group, but we are still having that—there are just a couple more people in all of our classes.”
Nitsch felt the accessibility to anyone would be beneficial for students who wanted to challenge themselves.
While junior Hank Breckenridge’s jokes about certificate kids in the IB diploma group chat may say otherwise, he also doesn’t mind certificate kids being involved in the program. When he is in class, he says he doesn’t know who is certificate and who is diploma—they are just kids in his classes. Besides class size, he doesn’t see much of a difference in the program. However he has noticed some conflict between the groups.
“There has been a little bit [of conflict],” Breckenridge said. “I think some diploma kids aren’t too happy about certificate kids.”
Junior certificate student Jessica Moore says she sometimes feels excluded by the diploma students, for example when the seniors did the IB initiation for the incoming juniors. But overall, felt she is getting the same experience. She also felt some diploma kids have had a superiority complex about being full IB, but overall everyone has been chill according to Moore.
As a whole, the IB certificate program has been well received. No one has voiced any of their complaints to Goodeyon this school year, and she has received many emails from parents thanking her for opening up East to the certificate program.