CPS teachers want their students to go to college, so they’re always searching for ways to make it more accessible. Take David Gregg and Jessica Stephenson – International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinators at Senn and Prosser high schools, respectively. They knew that their IB students were doing college-level work, and believed that just like in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, that work should translate to college credit.

These teachers rallied support around this cause, encouraging state lawmakers to establish a standard IB credit policy at public colleges and universities in Illinois. As a result, any CPS student who earns a passing grade on an IB exam will now be eligible for college credit at these institutions.

This is great news for CPS, which maintains the largest IB Network in the country, and which is striving to reach an ambitious goal: to have at least 50 percent of students earn one or more college credits by the time they graduate from high school.

IB programs have proven extremely effective, which is why CPS continues to invest in their expansion. Nearly 100 percent of students in these programs graduate from high school, with 88 percent completing their college degrees. Now, thanks to an amendment to the College and Career Success for All Students Act, IB courses will help make college more accessible and affordable to students, removing barriers that can halt their promising futures.

Passing an IB exam is not easy. To earn a score of 4 or higher – the threshold established by the new law – students must demonstrate mastery of complex coursework that would be the norm in a college classroom, so these credits will be well earned.

We are grateful to State Representative Carol Ammons for sponsoring this legislation in the Illinois House, and to the educators and school communities that advocated for its passage. Along with AP, dual-credit and dual-enrollment programs, CPS is proud to add IB to the list of tools that help give all students a head start on their college career.