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Florence 1 International Baccalaureate Program Ranks Second in State Exam Pass Rates

According to data recently released by the South Carolina Department of Education, the Wilson High School International Baccalaureate (IB) program has the second highest pass rate on subject exams in the state. Wilson has an 84.4 percent pass rate; Travelers Rest has the highest pass rate but only has twelve students in the program.

“This is exciting news,” said Brian Howell, Director of the International Baccalaureate Program for Florence 1 Schools. “We test approximately 80 students each year so to have the second highest exam pass rate in the state is pretty incredible.”

Florence 1 also has a high pass rate for IB Diplomas, 70.6 percent, putting the program at Wilson higher than both the state and national average, 55.3 percent and 65.9 percent respectively.

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Howell said. “Our diploma pass rate puts us fourth in the state and we are closer to the global average of 78.3 percent than many other schools in the nation.”

For the 2017-2018 school year, 25 IB Diplomas were awarded including Wilson’s first bilingual diploma; Ruijia Li earned her diploma in both English and Chinese.

“We are very happy for Ruijia,” Howell said. “Earning an IB Diploma takes hard work and determination. To earn dual diplomas is very impressive.”

In Florence 1, the International Baccalaureate Program is available at three levels, Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma. Based on what section of the program they are enrolled in, students attend North Vista Elementary, Williams Middle or Wilson High School. Currently, between the three stages, there are over 1,000 IB students.

Along with rigorous coursework, students in IB are heavily involved with school and civic activities, completing community service hours as part of the program. Through the structure of the curriculum, students become critical thinkers, learning time management and study skills that will help them in higher education.

“Data shows that the acceptance rate for IB students to the 20 most popular institutions of higher learning is higher than the general population,” Howell said. “This curriculum prepares students for higher level academics and schools know that.”

For example, Yale University has a 7.88 percent acceptance rate in the general population; IB candidates have a 19 percent acceptance rate. Duke University’s general population acceptance is 16.48 percent compared to 28 percent IB candidate acceptance.

Information Meeting

Parents of sixth graders who are interested in their child entering the IB program at Williams can attend an informational meeting at 6 p.m. December 3rd in the cafeteria at Williams Middle School.

The application period for IB admission starts December 4th and ends January 31, 2019.

Admission for the program is based on a number of factors including current grades, teacher recommendation, standardized test scores and an interview conducted by district IB staff members. Anyone with questions about the program can visit the Williams Middle website,, or call Brian Howell at 843-758-6610.