• Very few departments indicated that they would accept any scores from the IB Standard Level course in Mathematics Methods.

  • Special sections of mathematics (both higher-level calculus and other areas of mathematics) are sometimes offered to students who score 4 or higher on an AP calculus examination. This practice is most common among schools that emphasize mathematics and engineering.


From the perspective of higher education, advanced study in mathematics and science has both advantages and disadvantages. In theory, both the AP and IB programs should lead to learning of science and mathematics content at a more advanced and deeper level than would occur if students had taken only introductory high school courses in these subjects. Furthermore, by creating de facto standards for the kinds of knowledge and skills students are expected to learn in a subject area, these programs allow colleges and universities to gauge more easily the academic experiences that applicants and entering students have had during their high school years as compared with students who did not enroll in these courses or programs.

As detailed in Chapters 3 and 4, however, the academic experiences of the students in these programs can be highly variable. Additionally, some college-bound students may not have access to such opportunities even where they do exist. Therefore, it remains a challenge to provide appropriate college courses for this broad array of first-year students. This is a concern in particular for smaller institutions that cannot offer a large number of options for incoming students in each discipline.

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