Robinson Aims to AICE the 2023-24 School Year

The Cambridge AICE program is coming to Robinson in the upcoming school year.


Photo Juno Le

A student and teacher in a classroom for a new A.I.C.E. class. Graphic developed on Canva.

Vikram Sambasivan, News & Features Editor

Coming into high school, there are so many different types of courses and learning methods. So many that one can almost feel overwhelmed. Well, prepare for yet another way to get ahead. Joining the ranks of Advanced Placement (AP), Dual-Enrollment, Honors, International Baccalaureate (IB) and many others is the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE).  

In May of 2022, it was announced that the AICE program was beginning a massive rollout in Hillsborough County. Initially, it was beta-tested at four schools in the county (Sumner High School, Franklin Middle School, etc.), but for the 2022-23 school year, it has been rolled out in an additional 14 schools (Blake High School, Jefferson High School and more). For the 2023-24 school year, AICE will be making its way to Robinson along with a handful of other schools. 

“We want to do the [AICE] Diploma Program, which means that students have to take and pass seven AICE classes in a three-year period. So, next school year, that kind of excludes our juniors and seniors, but it will include our [freshmen and sophomores]. So what we’re doing, is we’ve gotten a list of our incoming [freshmen] and a list of our students moving from ninth to 10th [grade] and we’re going to invite them to be part of the AICE program,” Robinson Principal David Brown, who led the rollout of the Cambridge AICE program at Sumner High School, said. 

For many, AICE is just another jumble of letters, but it’s much simpler than its name makes it seem. AICE has two levels of courses: Advanced Subsidiary (the lower level course) and Advanced (the higher level). Additionally, the way that the program is structured allows more flexibility for students as opposed to the IB Program.

According to International College Counselors, “[Students need to] complete a minimum of 14 AICE credits in the Diploma Core and three academic areas as follows: Group 1 – Mathematics and Sciences (Two credits required); Group 2 – Languages (Two credits required); Group 3 – Arts and Humanities (Two credits required); Group 4 – Interdisciplinary Skills (Optional – four credits maximum). Six additional credits required in any combination from the above four groups.” 

Teachers are also on board with a more flexible form of earning college credit in high school. 

I think that it is a very good option for a wide variety of students,” Robinson Social Studies Teacher Alexander Barron said. “It provides the opportunity for college credit, just like AP, but it provides the opportunity to earn the credit in a more efficient manner for some.”

With so many programs coming to Robinson, questions concerning the welfare about IB, AP, and the traditional program have been circulating, but it looks like AICE won’t take away from other students. 

“When a kid takes an accelerated course, they get additional funding from the state, so we use that money to pay for resources and tests and all those things that you guys would need,” Brown said. “One of the things that I do hope that it does is that it makes students in our boundaries, stay in our boundaries. Sometimes, because of our choice programs and our district, we have kids who want to go to Tampa Bay Tech and do medical or go to Blake for the Fine Arts Program, and we really just want to try to keep them here, so we want to offer them something.”

The flexibility of the AICE program in comparison with IB is something that is very important for many students, and Robinson especially. Due to the school’s proximity to MacDill Air Force Base, there is a large population of military families who perhaps come to the school mid-year. While IB may not be an option for them, AICE could be. 

“But we have some kids, especially with our military, and they don’t move here until they’re 10th-grade year, so they miss the window to apply for IB,” Brown said.

With such a widespread rollout of AICE in Florida, legislation regarding the eligibility of students with an AICE diploma for Bright Futures Scholarships has already gone into action.

According to Cambridge International Assessment Education, “Florida students who receive the Cambridge AICE Diploma and meet other requirements are eligible for Bright Futures, which covers full tuition at any public Florida institution.”

AICE would be administered at Robinson similar to how AP courses are given. It will be an extra option for traditional students, and while the juniors and seniors of the 2023-24 school year won’t have the opportunity to earn their AICE diploma, they can still take AICE classes to earn college credit in a different manner than an AP course. AICE courses are typically more condensed with shorter exams (however there aren’t any multiple-choice questions). This different approach has a high demand for many students at Robinson who seek to take higher level courses but don’t like the styles in which AP and Dual Enrollment classes take. 

“The classes are still college classes but they’re meant to be a little easier so students can take more ACE classes and not overstress themselves,” Adeline Playmale (’25) said.