The IB Mission Statement
As the following makes clear, the IB Diploma incorporates a particular value system:
The International Baccalaureate Organisation aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the IBO works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
The Learner Profile
The manifestation of the IBO Mission Statement throughout the ISWA curriculum comes in the process of addressing the Learner Profile, a set of core qualities that the IBO identify as the philosophical underpinning of the curriculum.
The curriculum delivered by the faculty at ISWA overtly recognises the educational importance of these ten qualities. Students are strongly encouraged to be learners, thinkers, inquirers, caring, communicators, principled, reflective, open minded, knowledgeable and balanced.
Deciding on the IB Diploma Program
Before making a decision to undertake the International Baccalaureate Diploma, students should be aware of the following factors:
Breadth of the Curriculum
Students study six subjects culminating in assessment after two years. Subjects must include the study of the student’s own language, a foreign language, a humanity, an experimental science, mathematics and another subject.
The IB DP program emphasises the importance of the international nature of knowledge. It is continually updated with input from all member countries.
Any student capable of study at university is capable of obtaining a good pass in the IB Diploma. The IB DP enables gifted students to demonstrate their talents, while also being accessible to average students.
Students intending to study the IB should have a love of learning and a dedicated approach to study.
The IB DP Curriculum
Diploma candidates are required to study the core areas as well as one subject from each of the six subject groups. Subjects are studied concurrently for the two years and students are exposed to the two great traditions of learning: the humanities and the sciences.
At least three and not more than four subjects are taken at Higher Level (HL), the others at Standard Level (SL). HL courses represent 240 teaching hours, SL courses cover 150 hours. By arranging work in this fashion, students are able to explore some subjects in depth and some more broadly over the two year period. This is a deliberate compromise between the early specialisation preferred in some education systems and the breadth found in others.
The Three Special Requirements
The IB program offers special features in addition to the traditional strengths of a broad curriculum:
Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
Theory of Knowledge (TOK) explores the relationships amongst various disciplines and ensures that students engage in critical reflection and analysis of knowledge acquired within and beyond the classroom. This course is partly completed through class lessons but TOK excursions play a part in the learning program.
Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) is a fundamental part of the Diploma curriculum. CAS involves participation in curriculum enrichment activities, on average approximately three hours a week for two years. Service to the community is given a high priority, as it is through this that the qualities of mutual tolerance, understanding and sympathy can be developed.
Diploma candidates are required to undertake original research and write an Extended Essay of approximately 4000 words. This project offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest and acquaints students with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected at university. The Extended Essay is started in Semester 2 of Year 11 and is finished during Year 12.
The Grading System
The grading system used by the International Baccalaureate Organisation is criterion-referenced. This means that each student’s performance is measured against well-defined levels of achievement consistent from one examination session to the next. Top grades are not simply awarded ‘on a curve’ to a certain percentage of candidates, but rather reflect attainment of knowledge and skills relative to set standards applied equally to all schools. Validity, reliability and fairness are the watchwords of the IBO’s international assessment strategy. There is no standardisation, so marks gained in all subjects are equal. Each subject is graded on a scale of 1 to 7. In simple terms this can be explained as:
|6||Very Good A|
|1||Very poor E|
Assessing Student Work
Responsibility for all academic judgments about the quality of candidates’ work rests with more than 3000 examiners worldwide, led by chief examiners with international authority. A variety of assessment methods are used to value both the content and the process of academic achievement and to take into account different learning styles and cultural patterns.
External assessment techniques are chosen from a range of options: oral and written, long and short responses, data-based questions, essays and multiple-choice questions. These are complemented by internal assessment of coursework by the teachers responsible for evaluating students over the two year period. With classroom teachers and international examiners working in partnership, the emphasis is on ensuring that students have ample opportunity to demonstrate what they know and are able to communicate.
Award of the Diploma
The award of the Diploma requires students to meet defined standards and conditions, including a minimum total of 24 points and the satisfactory completion of the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge course (TOK), and CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) activities.
The maximum score of 45 includes three points for the combination of the Extended Essay and work in TOK. An average score of four (4) in Higher Level subjects and (3) in Standard Level is mandatory.
The IB Diploma is recognised by universities throughout the world. These include well known European and North American institutions such as Oxford, Yale and the Sorbonne, along with prestigious centres in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. Formal agreements exist between the International Baccalaureate Organisation and many Ministries of Education and private institutions. Some colleges and universities offer advance standing or course credit to students with strong IB examination results.
University Accreditation in Australia
The IB Diploma is recognised by all Australian universities. IB applicants who apply through the Western Australian Tertiary Institutions Service Centre receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). This rank is based on the overall result in the IB Diploma, with an aggregate of six IB subjects plus Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay, giving a final score of up to 45. Some universities require minimum grade levels in prerequisite subjects. Applicants will need to satisfy any other special requirements related to courses, and should discuss these prerequisites with the IB DP Coordinator before selecting courses for their Diploma.