International Baccalaureate: A General Introduction

It is officially 2018, everybody. 2018.

Its almost too hard to believe this past year went by so quickly and, for many of us, torturously. For lots of you out in the world, the New Year brings in your second semester of the school year, and you are definitely not ready to go back if you are anything like me!

If you are a high school student, or nearing the end of your public education requirements around the world, you may have heard of a two-year program called International Baccalaureate, or IB for short. IB is an international organization for education that provides high school juniors and seniors (11th-12th graders) with a rigorous curriculum that is standardized through the program all over the world. The goal of IB is to teach students higher levels of science, mathematics, art, history, etc., but also to create global citizens who can understand each other in the realm of scholarship and an international workforce, regardless of cultural barriers.

For those who know of IB, the program may seem especially daunting, but it can be broken down into two different pathways depending on a student’s goals. One of these is the Certificate pathway; students do not take a full schedule of International Baccalaureate classes, but instead take 3-5. These classes groom the student for the IB exams in each course of their selection, and their passage on the exams determines whether the student will earn their certificate from the International Baccalaureate Organization.

The second pathway is the full Diploma pathway. Students (known as candidates) take six classes at the IB level, one for each group. These groups are Studies in Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, and Arts (ibo.org). In order to acquire their diploma, candidates must pass the tasks and exams given with each of their six classes, gaining an overall score out of seven in each course. These points are added together for a coursework score out of 42. However, the maximum points for the diploma program are 45 points. These extra three points are earned as a result of an Extended Essay.

The Extended Essay is a research paper fully conspired and conducted by the candidate, expounding upon information addressed in any one of their courses and distantly advised by an outside source (teacher, specialist in the information, eyewitness source, etc.) Like many other parts of the IB curriculum, the Extended Essay is student-led, and advisors are not to have too much hand in the creation of the paper. The paper is sent to the IB graders and given points out of three, which are added to the course score for up to 45 points. These two requirements are the only criteria included in the points for the IB Diploma, but an additional requirement is not graded, but evaluated.

The Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) portion of the IB Diploma program is one that puts many off from the Diploma pathway, while simultaneously drawing students to it. CAS is a constant requirement throughout a students years in the program, creating a portfolio of actions the student has taken to be creative, physically active, and involved in their community. Activities can fit into one category or multiple, and are reflected upon afterwards by the student. The student also must partake in a CAS project, which involves all of the categories in one activity of the student’s own idea, and must least at least a month in duration from inception to the end of the activity. (If you would like a post about CAS ideas, information, or tips, like this post or ask a specific question in the comments!)

The IB program lasts two years in total, so the subjects a student chooses will remain for the last two years of their high school education. There are some classes that cover their curriculum in one year. These classes can still count for the diploma program; so long as one class from each of the six groups is completed, and the student partakes in CAS and writes their extended essay, they are eligible for the full Diploma program.

As this is a general overview, not all information about the Diploma Program or IB is contained in this post. If you are an IB student, or thinking about becoming an IB student, like this post or comment for more content relating to IB!

For more information on the organization, you can also visit the IB website.

Happy New Year!

-Brainiac Blonde