FAQs about the IB Diploma Programme

This site offers answers to questions students and parents are asking about the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Sandia High School.

IB official logo What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme?

The challenging, rigorous and demanding program is a two-year course of study for high school juniors and seniors. It offers a broad and balanced curriculum presented in six academic areas surrounding a central core.

Students study both Standard Level and Higher Level courses. Standard level courses require rigorous study leading to a breadth of knowledge; higher level courses require intensive study leading to mastery.

What Subjects Will be Studied?

The six academic subjects that will be studied at Sandia High School include:

  1. Language Arts: Language and Literature
  2. Second Language: French and Spanish
  3. Individuals and Societies: History of the Americas
  4. Experimental Sciences: Biology and Chemistry
  5. Mathematics: Mathematics and Computer Science
  6. The Arts and Electives: Music, Visual Arts, Exercise and Health Science (Athletics), Sports, and Business Management

Once students complete their classes, they will be required to pass three Higher Level assessments and three Standard Level assessments to earn the IB Diploma.

What Other Requirements Must Students Meet to Earn an IB Diploma?

In addition to the six academic subjects, IB Diploma Candidates must meet three requirements:

  1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK): A course designed to unify the six subject areas and develop inquiry and critical thinking. Students learn the development of cognition and identify how and why cultural norms exist.
  2. Creativity, Action, Service (CAS): Requires students to be involved in sports, artistic pursuits and community service. The goal of CAS is to provide a balance between academic and social life.
  3. Extended Essay: Offers an opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest at length and to become familiar with the research and writing skills expected at the university level. A mentor teacher assists students in developing this mini-thesis.

Who Should Enroll in IB?

  • Highly motivated students
  • Students with proven academic success
  • Students who are intellectually curious
  • Students who are ready to be pushed to their academic limit

How Do Interested Students Apply for the Program?

Interested students who will be juniors will be asked to fill out an application. Application information is available on the Sandia High School website. The admissions process also will include:

  • A personal interview
  • Teacher recommendations (forms are part of the application.)
  • A review of the fall PLAN*
  • A review of school transcripts and grades

*Applications from students who haven't taken the PLAN or who currently are enrolled in an IB program will be reviewed on an individual basis.

What Happens Once a Student is Accepted into the Program?

  • Qualified students will be notified.
  • Upon receipt of notification, students will be asked to confirm their intent to enroll in the IB program.
  • Students will register for IB classes.
  • Sandia counselors will handle transfer paperwork for all students accepted into the program.

    What's the Difference between the IB Program and AP Classes?

    IBis a balanced program of study. Course work is completed over two years and students are assessed multiple times over the two years.

    Advanced Placement (AP) classes are taken independently of each other. Course work is completed in one year and there is one assessment per class at the end of the academic year.

    Sandia will continue to offer AP classes for students who aren't enrolled in the IB program.

    Will Transportation be Provided for IB Students?

    Students in the Sandia High district who live at least two miles from the school are eligible to ride the bus. School buses will not be made available for students who live outside of Sandia's district. Those students are encouraged to get a ride to school or drive themselves (parking is available on campus). APS also is working with the city of Albuquerque on providing free bus passes for IB students who are interested in taking public transportation.

    Will IB Athletes Play for Sandia High?

    Yes. The New Mexico Activities Association granted a two-year waiver that allows IB students transferring from another school to participate in Sandia High School sports.

    Is There a Fee to Take Assessments for the IB Diploma?

    There is a fee for the assessments, but the City of Albuquerque contributed $115,000 to help cover the cost of those fees, so students and families won't have to pay them. Read more about the IB Program.