The International Baccalaureate Organization’s Diploma Program was founded in 1968. It is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to external examinations. It is designed for motivated high school students aged 16 to 19. The program has earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities. The Diploma Program’s grading system is criterion-referenced, which means that each student’s performance is measured against well-defined levels of achievement. These are consistent from one examination session to the next and are applied equally to all schools. Visit the website www.ibo.org for more detailed information about the program.
The program has the strengths of a traditional and broad curriculum, but with three important additional features, shown at the center of the hexagonal curriculum model.
Theory of Knowledge (TOK):
TOK is an interdisciplinary requirement intended to stimulate critical reflection on the knowledge and experience gained inside and outside the classroom. The course challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, to be aware of subjective and ideological biases and to develop the ability to analyze evidence that is expressed in rational argument. TOK is a key element in encouraging students to appreciate other cultural perspectives.
Creativity, action, service (CAS):
It is our goal to educate the whole person and foster responsible, tolerant citizens. The CAS program encourages students to share their energy and special talents with others. Students may, for example, participate in theatre or musical productions, sports and community service activities. Students should, through these activities, develop greater awareness of themselves, concern for others, and the ability to work cooperatively with other people. The CAS requirement is a reflection of the school´s mission, beliefs and profile of the graduate which promote community and service in the whole school.
Each student has the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest in one of the IB disciplines that the student studies in grade 11. The essay requirement acquaints diploma candidates with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities. Students devote a total of about 40 hours of research and writing time to the essay.. The essay may be written in English, Spanish or French.
The Six Academic Subjects:
These are studied concurrently. Students are required to study both the humanities and the sciences. Diploma candidates must select one subject from each of the six groups. At least three and not more than four are taken at higher level (HL), the others at standard level (SL); HL courses represent a recommended minimum of 240 teaching hours, SL courses cover 150 hours. Students are thus able to explore some subjects in depth and others more broadly, a deliberate compromise between the early specialization of some national systems and the breadth found in others.
The Six Academic Subjects