The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for-profit foundation motivated by its mission to create a better world through education. “The IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. IB programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right” (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2013, The Diploma Programme).
Grade 10 students will receive detailed information about the IB Diploma Program and its requirements. This information, together with advice from counselors, will help them to decide whether they should pursue the IB Diploma Programme.
Students who are most successful in the programme have a strong commitment to the ideals of the IBO mission statement, and a genuine enthusiasm for learning, as well as sincere curiosity about other cultures and the world around them. IB students aim to be internationally minded and globally engaged by recognising our collective connection and responsibility to others. Additionally, students with strong time management skills and a good work ethic tend to find the most success in IB.
While the IB programme presents a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, it also challenges students to think about global issues, cultural assumptions and their place in the global community. The program requires a deep focus in many areas, both academic and experiential. Students are encouraged to build bridges with the local community by engaging in service and further developing active and creative passions. Through the Theory of Knowledge course, students are challenged to think of the strengths and limitations of different methods of seeking knowledge within the various disciplines they are studying. The Extended Essay provides students an opportunity to focus on an area of personal interest, carry out research in that area and present their findings in a detailed, effectively organized essay.
No, it is not compulsory to take the IB Diploma. Some students elect to take the full IB Diploma while others take a combination of IB classes and non-IB classes. The two options are:
Option A: The full Diploma Programme
• Participate in and complete internal/external assessments for six IB courses:
• 3 Higher Level courses and 3 Standard Level courses
• Complete the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course
• Complete an Extended Essay: an in-depth study (maximum 4,000 words) of a limited topic chosen by the student and supervised by a teacher
• Complete a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Plan.
• Be Committed to the Creativity, Activity and Service programme for the first 18 months of the DP programme. This involves completing consistent reflections to produce a CAS Portfolio.
Option B: Individual Subject Courses
All students are encouraged to consider taking at least some IB courses. Students participating in an IB class complete all internal and external assessments for that course, and will receive IB subject certificates upon successfully passing exams. College credit or advanced standing at future colleges or universities may be available, depending on university policy.
All IB classes have some form of internal assessment which are activities assessed by the classroom teacher using IB rubrics and assessment standards and then externally moderated (samples of student work are sent to IB faculty around the world to be re-graded and to ensure equality in grading standards). All marks are criterion-referenced.
IB classes culminate in exams which students take at the end of their second year (Grade 12) , which are assessed externally. Student marks from these exams become available in July.
The focus in the IB Theory of Knowledge course is to examine what we know in the various fields of knowledge and how we come to know it. The subjects that we study in our high school classes are, perhaps of necessity, departmentalized: History, Sciences, Mathematics, World Language, Language Arts, etc. It is rare that students can view these disciplines from any larger perspective. The aim of the Theory of Knowledge course is to view the knowledge disciplines from the perspective of knowledge itself, noting the similarities and differences in the formations of knowledge, and noting the strengths and limitations in the various approaches to knowledge.
The Extended Essay provides IB Diploma Programme candidates with an opportunity to engage in independent research. Emphasis is placed on the process of engaging in research, on the communication of original ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner, and on the overall presentation of the essay in compliance with the guidelines. The essay must be a maximum of 4000 words and be written in a specified IB subject area. Students select a topic within this subject area and must then craft a narrowly focused research question. The paper presents an extended argument, supported by research, that reaches a conclusion. The student does these things in consultation with their faculty supervisor.
The IB Diploma Programme places an emphasis on holistic and experiential learning, making purposeful connections community and fostering inspiration through involvement in creative and physical activities. CAS is an essential requirement to pass the IB Diploma requirement for the IB Diploma Programme. There is an expectation that students participate in ‘CAS experiences’ over the first 18 month period of the IBDP and to add both evidence and reflections of their experiences once every two weeks. Students are also expected to initiate a separate CAS Project, for which they collaborate with between 2-4 students on a self initiated and completed project over an extended period of time which meets all the 8 Learning Outcomes of CAS. These activities should be distributed evenly among Creativity, Activity, and Service. Both the Extended Essay and fulfilling the requirements of CAS are essential to passing the IB Diploma.
For all other questions regarding the IB Programme at SSIS, contact the IB Diploma Coordinator.
Additional information about the International Baccalaureate may be found at www.ibo.org