The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a challenging two-year curriculum, primarily aimed at students aged 16 to 19. It leads to a qualification that is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities. Students learn more than a collection of facts. The Diploma Programme (DP) prepares students for collegiate experiences and encourages them to:
- ask challenging questions
- learn how to learn
- develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture
- develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.
Students study six subjects selected from the subject groups. Normally three subjects are studied at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).
Additionally, there are three core requirements, or parts, that are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the Diploma Programme. The three core requirements are: Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and Creativity, Action, Service. The curriculum's six subject groups together with the three core requirements are illustrated by the IB hexagon below.
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All Diploma Programme students must engage in these three activities.
The extended essay has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
Theory of knowledge (TOK)
The interdisciplinary TOK course is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives.
Creativity, action, service (CAS)
Participation in the school’s CAS programme encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.
How are students assessed?
At the end of the two-year programme, students are assessed both internally and externally in ways that measure individual performance against stated objectives for each subject.
In nearly all subjects at least some of the assessment is carried out internally by teachers, who mark individual pieces of work produced as part of a course of study. Examples include oral exercises in language subjects, projects, student portfolios, class presentations, practical laboratory work, mathematical investigations and artistic performances.
Some assessment tasks are conducted and overseen by teachers without the restrictions of examination conditions, but are then marked externally by examiners. Examples include world literature assignments for language A1, written tasks for language A2, essays for theory of knowledge and extended essays.
Because of the greater degree of objectivity and reliability provided by the standard examination environment, externally marked examinations form the greatest share of the assessment for each subject.
The grading system is criterion based (results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student’s position in the overall rank order); validity, reliability and fairness are watchwords of the Diploma Programme’s assessment strategy.