The Diploma Program is a challenging two-year curriculum, leading to a qualification that is widely recognized by the world's leading universities. The foundation of the IB Diploma Program can be traced back to a meeting of educators held in Switzerland in 1962. These educators promoted the idea of a programme aimed at the growing number of internationally mobile students.
These students needed a diploma that would allow them entry to universities both in their "home" country or elsewhere in the world if that was their desire.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program
The International Baccalaureate Organization's (IBO) Diploma Program, created in 1968, is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to external examinations. The Diploma Program is a comprehensive two-year international curriculum that aims to have students share an academic experience that emphasizes critical thinking, intercultural understanding and exposure to a variety of points of view.
What are the Diploma Requirements?
Students take six courses, one from each of six groups. Three of these must be at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL). Diploma Candidates also work on the following three 'core requirements' which are the heart of the IB Program:
Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
TOK is an interdisciplinary course intended to stimulate critical reflection upon the knowledge and experience gained both inside and outside the classroom. It challenges students to question the basis of knowledge, to be aware of subjective and ideological biases, and to develop a personal mode of thought based on analysis of evidence expressed in rational argument. This is also a graduation requirement at AISR.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
The CAS requirement takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship. Participation in activities such as theater, sports, and community service encourages young people to share their energies and special talents while meeting the goal of educating the whole person and fostering a more compassionate citizenry. This element of the IB Diploma Program is so valuable that we have made participation in CAS a graduation requirement at AISR.
Diploma candidates are required to undertake original research and write an extended essay of some 4,000 words. This project offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest and acquaints students with the level of independent research and writing skills expected at university. This is also a graduation requirement at AISR.
Who takes IB at AISR?
The IB program is designed for highly motivated 11th and 12th grade students who wish to challenge themselves to a greater degree and become highly involved with the community. AISR students may take either the full Diploma Program, or they may attempt to earn IB Certificates in a few of their strongest subjects. At AISR, virtually all of our 11th and 12th grade students take at least one IB class and a majority attempt the full Diploma. All students have a right to attempt IB courses; however, the demands of the Diploma Program and specific courses should not be underestimated.
Is IB for me?
If you are considering the IB Program either as a Diploma or Certificate candidate, please read the AISR IB Handbook. Seek advice from teachers, the counselor and the IB Coordinator. Carefully and realistically assess your educational needs, abilities, interest and your level of commitment. If you are motivated and are willing to accept greater challenges, we encourage you to take the full IB Diploma.
Should I attempt the Full Diploma or Individual Certificates?
It is critical that each student and his/her parents invest sufficient time and energy to make an informed decision about how IB can best meet the student's needs. At AISR, we encourage students to take the challenging (and rewarding) IB courses, but there is an expectation that students apply the required time and effort to achieve success. Students have a right to attempt IB courses; however, the demands of the Diploma Program and specific courses should not be underestimated. An ideal IB Diploma candidate must be highly motivated and must meet deadlines for their Extended Essays and other coursework.
One reason why students take the Diploma is to enhance their chances of college and university admission. (Many European universities require the full IB Diploma.) An alternative to taking on the demands of the full Diploma program is to take individual IB subjects. Students who pass exams in individual IB subjects are awarded IB Certificates in those subjects. Any IB class can be taken as an individual certificate, except for the three Diploma 'core requirements' - Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and CAS.
What IB subjects does AISR offer?
IB Diploma candidates are required to study six subjects: three subjects are taught at Higher Level (HL), the others at Standard Level (SL)*. While it is possible to take four subjects at Higher Level, this is not recommended. HL courses represent 240 teaching hours, while SL courses require 150 hours, over the course of two years. One subject is chosen from each of the following groups: (please note: not all courses are offered very year)
Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
A first language (Language A) course chosen from English or Dutch (Language & Literature) or as a self-taught course in the student's mother tongue (Literature).
Group 2: Language Acquisition
- Language B: a second language course for students who have studied the language for a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years, chosen from Dutch or Spanish, although other courses are available upon request.
- Language ab initio: candidates following a language course at the ab initio level should have little or no previous experience in that language. In addition to Dutch and Spanish, AISR has offered other languages – notable Mandarin – through Pamoja Education (see below). If you have any question as to whether you qualify to take a course at the ab initio level, please contact the AISR IB Coordinator.
***Because of our large Mother Tongue program, we are sometimes able to offer other languages at the “B" level. Please contact AISR if you would like to request a particular offering at this level.
Group 3: Individuals and Societies
History, Psychology, Economics, Business Management (online), Internet Technology in a Global Society
Group 4: Sciences
Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
Group 5: Mathematics
Mathematics HL/SL or Mathematical Studies (SL).
Group 6: The Arts
Visual Arts, Music, Film Studies (online) OR 1 additional course from Group 1, 2, 3 or 4
The Core: In keeping with the core requirements of the IB, we offer a Theory of Knowledge course, and work time for CAS and the Extended Essay into students' schedules.
Online Courses Offered through Pamoja Education
We also offer a number of excellent courses through Pamoja Education, which candidates may follow with the help of a facilitator who is a member of the AISR faculty. In previous years students have followed IB Mandarin ab initio, IB Economics, and IB Psychology. Although delivered remotely, these courses will be blocked into students' regular schedules and followed just as they would any other IB course. For a full list of courses offered by Pamoja, please visit www.Pamojaeducation.com.
HOW SUCCESSFUL HAVE AISR STUDENTS BEEN IN THE IB DIPLOMA PROGRAM?
Unlike many schools, AISR does not use a rigorous selection process to determine who can take IB courses. Each student is encouraged to make an informed decision taking into account his or her educational needs, motivation and advice of the staff. We want you to challenge yourself, but we also want you to succeed. Regardless of the lack of a selective admissions policy to the IB program, AISR students have been very successful on the IB exams.
If you would like to know more, please contact the IB Coordinator: Eva Tarrasón at email@example.com.
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