The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is a non-profit educational foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1968 with the IB Diploma, it has grown to include over 3000 schools, public and private, and serves nearly 1 million students in its programs.
The Diploma Program (DP) is a two-year program of study with curriculum and assessment developed by the IB. It is one of the most challenging and comprehensive courses of study a high school can offer, teaching life-long skills such as inquiry, analysis, critical thinking and time management.
Students learn more than a body of knowledge. The Diploma Program prepares students for university and encourages them to:
- ask challenging questions
- learn how to learn
- develop a strong sense of their own culture and identity
- develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.
A hallmark of the DP is the balance required in academic courses. Candidates for the Diploma study six subjects selected from the various subject groups. Normally three subjects are studied at higher level (HL), and three are studied at standard level (SL).
Additionally, during the two-year program, IB Diploma candidates must successfully complete the core requirements:
- an extended essay (EE) of no more than 4000 words, based on independent research
- a course in Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
- a Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) program beyond the classroom that focuses on meeting seven learning outcomes and initiating/collaborating on a project
The extended essay (EE) offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
The interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge (ToK) course is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives and the ability to think critically.
Participation in the creativity, action, service (CAS) program encourages candidates to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports, and community service work. The program fosters students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.
AES has an open enrollment policy in regard to the DP – all students who have met appropriate course pre-requisites are welcome to pursue the IB Diploma. Students consult with their parents, counselors, and the IB Coordinator to decide if this is the best path for them. Students may take individual IB courses if they don’t wish to pursue the full IB Diploma.
For US universities the IB Diploma is not a requirement of admission, although course credit or advanced standing may be granted for scores of 5, 6 or 7 for Higher Level and some Standard Level subjects. Some European universities require students educated overseas to present an IB diploma for admission. Interested students are advised to check with universities in their home countries to determine how IB examinations are evaluated. The counselors are available to assist families with resources and discussions about future goals.
For more information on the IBO, please visit their website.