Advantages of the IB Diploma | General IB Diploma | What to Expect | Planning for IB Diploma | IB Languages Program | Theory of Knowledge | Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) | Extended Essay | Award of the IB Diploma | Recognition of the IB
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Course Details
What is the IB Diploma Programme?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is a rigorous two-year pre-university curriculum, primarily aimed at students aged 16 to 19. It leads to a qualification that is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities and many award advanced standing or university credit for successfully completed IB diplomas and courses. Students learn more than a collection of facts. The Diploma Programme prepares students for university 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
The IB Diploma program requires students in the 11th and 12th grade to select a broad range of academic subject areas in addition to developing skills in writing research papers through the Extended Essay, thinking skills through the Theory of Knowledge course and all subject areas, and life skills and community service through the CAS core element. It is these elements that define the IB programme and the Diploma students. The IB Diploma is awarded independently of the ISB High School diploma. Students will graduate from ISB with their ISB High School diploma and receive their IB results in July and their official IB Diploma or IB Certificate (listing IB courses studied) in September.
IB Program Entry Requirements for 11th Grade Students
ISB feels that the program should include as many students as can benefit from it and that students have the right to attempt IB courses. As a guideline, the following considerations should be made. Therefore, ISB offers the following entry guidelines:
- A ‘B’ (3.0) average is recommended. 80% of ISB students have this average or above.
- An overall ‘C’ (2.0) average is the minimum required to enter and continue in the IB Diploma program. 95% of ISB student have this average or above. Student performance is reviewed and support given when necessary.
- Competency in the language of instruction (English).
- Completion of the prerequisites for individual IB courses.
- Evidence of a high level of motivation.
- Approval of teachers, department heads, guidance counselors, and the Dean of Academics, as appropriate.
The IB Diploma Student
The two year Diploma provides students with a breadth and depth of rigorous academic study which prepares them for the demands of university. Generally, students would choose to study their special interest subjects at Higher Level. Standard Level subjects complement the Higher Level choices, but may not require the same degree of specialized knowledge and understanding. In addition to the six academic subjects, Diploma students also take a Theory of Knowledge course, complete an Extended Essay and the required involvement in Creativity, Action and Service (CAS).
IB Course student (non-Diploma)
Students not pursuing the IB Diploma but keen to take one or more IB exams, may take any IB course, including all core IB components (Theory of Knowledge (ToK), Extended Essay & CAS). The IB courses cover the relevant IB curriculum which includes the final IB exam. All non-Diploma students in IB courses are required to register as an IB Course candidate for the exams. Non-registration will be reflected on the student’s transcript to avoid confusion during the university application process.
IB Diploma/Course Examinations
Students who commence the second year of an IB Course are expected to complete the IB course including all internal and external assessment requirements. External assessment typically means the IB examinations which are taken during May of each year. There are additional costs that families need to pay for students to be registered for their IB examinations. These IBO fees will be invoiced to families during September of their final year in IB Course as final course registration prior to 15th November each year.
Things to Know About a General IB Diploma
Important notes when planning for the IB Diploma:
- 3 Higher level subjects, 3 standard level subjects and ToK scheduled.
- Extended Essay and CAS completed outside classtime.
- Minimum 6 instructional classes per semester.
The plans below are provided for general guidance. It is essential that all 10th grade students meet with their counselor and if further clarification is required the Dean of Academics.
This student did not have the prerequisite language level for French B SL and so with no previous experience in Spanish, enrolled in Spanish ab initio. Students with no previous language may choose French, Mandarin or Spanish ab initio for their IB Group 2.
This student chose to continue with Jazz Band in Grade 11 and defer the completion of their PE credit to the 12th grade.
Additional Note for IB Diploma students:
The Extended Essay is completed out of class time starting in 11th grade and completed in the first half of 12th grade semester 1.
CAS requirements are completed over the course of the two year program.
What to Expect in IB
A student participating in IB courses as a Diploma or Course candidate can expect to:
- Be motivated and work hard
- Approach tasks with a sense of purpose
- Demonstrate self-discipline and responsibility
- Develop sound time management and organizational skills
- Learn from fellow students as well as teachers
- Seek assistance when necessary to develop self-advocacy
- Share with, and contribute to, the community
IB students should expect to be educated, amused, excited, delighted, and at times, disappointed and exasperated.
The IB Diploma or IB Courses are a realistic goal for all ISB students.
Planning for IB Diploma
The IB Diploma requires all students to take a course from each of the 6 groups listed below and complete all of the core components of the program.
In conjunction with selecting a course from each of the 6 groups it is a requirement to take 3 higher level courses and 3 standard level courses.
Studies in Language & Literature
Language Acquisition (Language B & ab initio)
Individuals & Societies
|Higher Level (HL)
(2 year courses)
|Language & Literature
Or additional course from group 1/2/3/4
|Creativity Activity Service (CAS)
(over 2 years)
Extended Essay (EE)
Independent 4000 word essay
Nov 1 to Oct 1
Theory of Knowledge (ToK)
Semester 2 of Grade 11
Semester 1 of Grade 12
|Standard Level (SL)
(2 year courses)
|Language & Literature
Ab Initio (beginner)
Environmental Systems & Society
One year course:
Environmental Systems & Society
Sports & Exercise Health Science
Visual Arts Or additional course from group 1/2/3/4
Select one subject from each Group. Three subjects must be studied at higher level and three at standard level. Higher level subject examinations can only be taken in May of the Senior Year and it is recommended that only one standard level subject is examined in the Junior year but up to two courses can be completed as anticipated subjects in 11th grade.
*Environment systems and societies is transdisciplinary and may be included in the IB diploma as a Group 3 or Group 4 course.
**Delivered as on-line courses through Pamoja Education (for further information about Pamoja and the online learning opportunities www.pamojaeducation.com
IB Diploma students need to meet all ISB graduation requirements for PE, Health and Fine Arts. Community Service requirements will be met within the CAS program.
All Thai nationals must take a Thai language class each year.
Freshmen and Sophomores
9th and 10th grade students are encouraged to discuss their need or interest in participating in the IB Diploma program with their counselor as early as possible.
IB Languages Program
If a student is interested in pursuing the IB Diploma, and wishes to study a Language A in his/her native language, ISB may assist the student in finding an appropriate tutor. ISB will also provide tutors with the requirements of the IB in addition to administrative support and materials. In addition, ISB will require regular progress reports from tutors with the award of a pass/fail grade and credits. Interested students should contact the Dean of Academics.
The ISB IB Language Tutorial Program policy is as follows:
- This option is only available for IB Diploma students wishing to pursue their ‘mother tongue’ language.
- ISB will reimburse for the actual costs incurred by a parent for tutoring up to a maximum of 75,000 Thai Baht per year if the cost for the tutoring is not normally paid by the employer of the parent(s). In the case of partial reimbursement by the employer, ISB will reimburse the difference up to 75,000 Thai Baht.
- Students may only pursue Language A languages not currently offered at ISB.
- Negotiations regarding the conditions of employment are between the tutor and the parent/ guardian of the student. The tutor is not the employee of ISB.
- Students must be of sufficient proficiency in the target language.
- Approval for participation in the Language A Tutorial program must be given by the student’s parents, counselor and Dean of Academics.
- All instruction will take place outside of regular school time unless agreed with Dean of Academics.
- Students who take this option must still fulfill ISB’s graduation and attendance requirements.
- IB diploma students with tutored language or self-taught language will have classtime scheduled for them to work in during the regular school day and the Dean of Academics, in consultation with tutors on progress, will award Pass/Fail on the semester report card and transcript.
Students considering this option should read the course descriptions for English A Literature HL/SL or English Language & Literature HL/SL to gain an understanding of the nature of the course. These apply to any IB Language studied at either level. Additionally it must be understood that Language A Literature courses work with language while teaching literary analysis skills, but are not language classes. Significant amounts of reading are undertaken and assessment is through written tasks and oral presentations of literature knowledge, analysis and understanding. Language & Literature are based firmly on the study of both language and literature being designed for students with a high level of competence in the language prior to the beginning of the course. This course focuses on the refinement of language skills and provides the opportunity for students to explore the culture(s) of the language through discussion, argument and debate.
Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge (ToK) is a one year seminar course in which students are asked to reflect upon their experiences in a comparative and critical way. It examines the origins and validity of various forms of knowledge. Students are challenged to compare and contrast their diverse attitudes and perceptions. With this focus on inquiry, there may not be right or wrong answers, but there are standards for judgment and defenses of knowledge claims. Aims and Objectives of ToK:
- Develop a critical capacity and understand the importance of evaluating knowledge claims
- Be aware of subjective and ideological biases
- Develop a concern for rigor in formulating knowledge claims, and intellectual honesty
- Make connections between personal experience and Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge through linking questions
- Demonstrate an understanding of the influence that personal views, judgments and beliefs have on own knowledge
- Use oral and written language to communicate ideas clearly and appropriately
- Demonstrate an understanding of knowledge at work in the world
Note: ToK will be assessed as a Pass/Fail in the first semester of the course and graded in the second semester.
Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
Education neither begins nor ends in a classroom or exam room. Essential aspects of education exist outside of both. In recognition of this, IB Diploma students must meet key outcomes (during the 2 year program) participating in activities at ISB and in the community.
CAS is the acronym for Creativity, Action, Service. The CAS requirement is designed to be an enjoyable, yet challenging, component of a student’s education. All three activity elements should be represented.
- Creativity – covers the range of art, craft, debate, forensics, drama, music, choir, film-making, photography and/or the application of creativity in designing and carrying out service projects.
- Action – includes participation in individual and team sports, physical training or expeditions. It may include the carrying out of creative and service projects.
- Service – includes a range of community or social service activities. Volunteer work helping the less fortunate or involvement in environmental projects are ideal service activities.
As a result of their CAS experience as a whole, including their reflections, there should be evidence that students have:
- Increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth
- Undertaken new challenges
- Planned and initiated activities
- Worked collaboratively with others
- Shown perseverence and commitment to activities
- Engages with issues of global importance
- Considered the ethical implications of their actions
- Developed new skills
Documenting CAS Activities
Students use Managebac to document their CAS activities and to reflect on their experiences using the 8 outcomes as guiding questions.
The Extended Essay (EE) is another core component of the IB Diploma. It is an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject, essentially, a piece of academic writing. The essay provides an opportunity to engage in independent research in a topic of interest to the student. Emphasis is placed on the communication of ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner, and on overall presentation of the Essay.
Students should choose a topic in which they have a personal interest and that initial background research has proved there are sufficient sources to support the study as a whole. They will frame a thesis or research question which they will investigate and refine the question with the aid of an extended essay supervisor before embarking on the research, data collection, and writing of the 4000 word paper. Students should meet regularly with their Supervisor for guidance and feedback. The Extended Essay process begins in the Junior year. Extended Essays are completed in the first semester of the Senior year and formally graded by an external examiner.
Award of the IB Diploma
Each of the six IB subjects is graded on a point scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). In addition, the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge may contribute up to 3 bonus points, making a maximum score of 45 points.
6 subjects x 7 points (max.) + 3 bonus points = 45 points
From the May 2015 session the following failing conditions will apply for the IB Diploma:
- CAS requirements have not been met.
- Candidate’s total points are fewer than 24.
- An N has been given for theory of knowledge, extended essay or for a contributing subject.
- A grade E has been awarded for one or both of theory of knowledge and the extended essay.
- There is a grade 1 awarded in a subject/level.
- Grade 2 has been awarded three or more times (HL or SL).
- Grade 3 or below has been awarded four or more times (HL or SL).
- Candidate has gained fewer than 12 points on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
- Candidate has gained fewer than 9 points on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL).
Recognition of the IB
The International Baccalaureate Office in Geneva and the sub-regional offices have spent many years negotiating recognition agreements with national governments and universities. This has ensured that the IB Diploma is recognized as a universal qualification for entry to higher education.
To access comprehensive information about the recognition of the IB Diploma in universities globally please use this link.
Also the vast majority of universities will have specific admissions pages that relate to students applying with an IB Diploma or IB Courses. The range of credit, scholarships and other benefits awarded to IB Diploma and Course students is broad and changes from year to year. Students and their families are encouraged to check with institutional websites for the most current information.
UNIVERSITY APPLICATIONS with the IB DIPLOMA or COURSES
There are a number of points to consider about IB and university applications
- Diploma and Course students must carefully research the recognition policies for the IB Diploma and individual course results in terms of credit, advanced standing and scholarships
- Students list their IB courses and/or provide a transcript for verification of academic standards to date
- Many colleges request predicted or forecast grades for IB exams, TOK and Extended Essay scores as part of their application process
- Recommendations will clearly state the known candidate status of the student – IB Diploma or IB Course (after registration only)
- Diploma students can indicate they have chosen the most rigorous academic program at ISB
- Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and experiences in the Creativity, Action and Service program often provide valuable material or reflections for college essays