Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements of the IB Diploma Programme?

A full diploma candidate will take a total of 6 IB courses. The first 5 courses will be in each of the following areas: English, Second Language, Social Science, Experimental Science and Math. The sixth IB course is an “elective” and can be an IB Art course or from one of the other 5 subjects. A student must take 3 courses at Higher level and 3 at Standard Level. In addition IB diploma candidates will take 2 semesters of Theory of Knowledge, accumulate 150 CAS hours, and write a 4,000 word extended essay.

What is the Theory of Knowledge Class?

Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, is a course designed to teach students to think about their own thinking. In an age where people are bombarded with information, it is essential that we teach students to think critically about the information they encounter in order to recognize bias and determine for themselves the difference between “good” and “bad” information. TOK focuses on how the ways of knowing (perception, reason, language and emotion) affect each of the areas of knowledge (natural science, human science, art, ethics, math, and history).

What is CAS?

CAS stands for Creativity, Action, Service. Full diploma candidates will accumulate and reflect on 150 hours of CAS activities/projects. A student’s CAS hours should roughly be 1/3 in each of the three categories. A student can use projects or activities they are already involved with as long as they aren’t receiving a grade, payment, or proselytizing. Students will create a CAS plan with the coordinator at the end of their Sophomore year or the beginning of their Junior year.

What is Extended Essay?

We know that students who go on to pursue higher education will be required to write at least one research paper at some point in their schooling. We also know that we can do a better job in preparing students for that challenge. Extended essay is an opportunity for students to learn how to create a research question, complete their own research, and write a concise, clear, factual essay on the subject. By taking advantage of the Extended Essay in high school students are led through the process over two years under the guidance of a research librarian, subject advisor, and essay advisor.

What is a typical IB student profile?

IB honors diversity so there isn’t one profile. IB students come from all different types of backgrounds and all walks of life. What these students have in common is their passion about one or more subjects, high motivation, and commitment to challenge themselves.

How much homework is involved in this program?

For a full diploma candidate, the average is two to three hours a night, but it varies depending on the type of IB classes, a student’s study habits, and the assignments. The IB teachers at RPHS are committed to working cooperatively so that assessments and large projects are spaced throughout the year.

Does a student have to take foreign language in middle school?

No, a student will be prepared to take a foreign language exam if he/she starts in the 9th grade. If a student doesn’t take a foreign language in 9th grade they can pick up a summer session at the local community college and enter into the 3-4 level as a sophomore.

Why aren’t Japanese and French IB languages offered at RPHS?

One of the IBO guidelines for offering classes is that they must be taught on the authorized school’s campus. The upper level Japanese and French classes are taught at Milwaukie High School.

How do IB classes compare with AP classes?

IB and AP courses feature college level curriculum. To see a complete outline of their commonalities and differences please scroll to the bottom of the page.


How is the IB grade determined?

A student in an IB class will receive two grades. The RPHS grade is determined by the classroom teacher in the same manner as all other classes. This is the grade that appears on the RPHS diploma and is automatically submitted to colleges when a transcript is requested. Students in IB classes (who are pursuing a certificate or IB diploma) will also receive an IB grade, which is determined by a student’s work on internal and external assessments. A student will receive a grade from the IBO ranging from 1 to 7. Many universities will award college credit for grades of 5, 6, or 7 in Higher level classes.

What is an internal assessment?

Internal assessments (IAs) are done during the class and typically a part of classroom work. IAs are scored by the classroom teacher according to a specific scoring guide the teacher has been trained to use. The scores for the IAs are submitted to the IBO. Additionally, the IBO randomly requests a percentage of the assignments be submitted for “external moderation.” Those assignments are re-graded by an official from the IBO (from anywhere in the world) and used to ensure that the classroom teacher is marking fairly and according to IBO standards. The classroom teacher receives feedback essential to maintaining high, rigorous international standards. IAs usually make up 20-30% of the student’s overall IB mark.

What is an external assessment?

External assessments (EAs) are the final exams in each course. These exams are given in May on specific dates. Each course has 2-3 parts, which are given back to back on the same day or on consecutive days. For example, in 2007 English HL paper 1 was given the afternoon of Thursday, May 3rd and the English HL paper 2 was given in the morning of Friday, May 4th. To ensure standardization worldwide, the exam schedule and regulations are determined by the IBO and not open to flexibility or interpretation. The EAs make up the remaining 70-80% of a students IB grade.

When are IB grades posted?

All IB marks are posted in early July and can be accessed through the IBO website using a PIN provided by their IB coordinator.


When do students register for their IB exams?


When are fees due?

Fees are also due when you register for the exams.

Who do we make checks out to?

All checks should be made out to RPHS. The school submits ONE check to the IBO.

If my student changes his mind or is sick and misses the exam will I get my money back?

No. All fee are non-refundable.

How much do exams cost?

In the North Clackamas School District the parent cost for and IB exam will be the same as the cost for an AP exam. The current fee for an AP exam is $93.00 per exam.

Are there fee waivers or scholarships?

Students who are qualify for the free or reduced lunch program can receive fee waivers from the state. Students who are not on free or reduced lunch but can’t afford the entire exam fee should contact the IB Coordinator.

I heard we can pay for exams using SCRIP? What is that and how will it work?

SCRIP is a programme that allows for local businesses to “kick back” a percentage of the money spent in their store to local schools. For example, a parent can buy $200.00 worth of SCRIP for Fred Meyer. When they do their grocery shopping at Fred Meyer they present their SCRIP coupons, which are worth $200.00. Each month Fred Meyer will send back a “kicker check” to the school worth a percentage of the SCRIP spent at Fred Meyer. The “kick-back” money received by the school is held in an account for the student to use when registering for their IB exams. There are many businesses who participate in the SCRIP programme and families who are interested should contact the IB Coordinator for more information.

Do all students in the class take the IB exam?

Yes. The final exams are part of the class. Students who don’t register for the exam in the fall will still take a final exam but it won’t be sent out for grading by the IBO – it will be graded at RPHS.


How do universities access IB marks?

Each student must request to the IBO that their scores be sent to specific universities. This is taken care of by the school's IB office in May & June.

What do colleges think about the IB program?

Colleges and Universities strongly believe that the IB Programme prepares students for success in college and in life. You can read more on the Value of the IB Diploma page.