I've taught AP Computer Science A for over a decade now, and an administrator has asked me to look into transitioning to IB. (We already have some programs in the school that use IB, so we would potentially be joining into that.)

Nothing is set in stone, and we may choose not to go down this path. However, I am having a lot of trouble figuring out what that transition would even look like from the perspective of a CS teacher. How much programming is actually covered? Are the curricula similar? Is IB more rigorous? What new curricular material would I need to develop?

I've found Mr. Roger's IB Page, which seems to indicate that AP CS A can be an effective first year for the two year IB curriculum.

What is the difference, then, between AP Computer Science and IB Computer Science?

  • $\begingroup$ Anecdotally, my wife is an IB expert, and I've seen some of the IB requirements for CS. It is leaps and bounds above AP in terms of rigor and expectations. I'll try to dig up some formal documents to flesh out a complete answer this weekend. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ I think that the APCS-AB curriculum was much stronger, but they dropped part of it. Both programs seem to offer college credit (or at least skipping some courses) for good scores, but I wonder how many colleges still really do that. $\endgroup$
    – Buffy
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter Thanks! I would appreciate that very much. My impression was that there was less significant coding in IB, but if that is wrong, I'd be glad to hear it. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter Have you had a chance to look into this? It turns out that we will definitely be offering this course. I would absolutely love it if this question had an answer :) $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 23:33

1 Answer 1


About IB Computer Science. Computer Science is regarded as an experimental science, alongside biology, chemistry, design technology, physics and environmental systems and societies – and sits in the Group 4 list of subjects. The IB Computer Science course is a rigorous and practical problem-solving discipline.

AP Computer Science Principles is ideal for students who are less interested in Java or who would like a big picture view of computing. ... Both computer science classes have a great deal to offer high school students. Since they vary in several important ways, students should research each course before enrolling.


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