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International research has shown that studying the IB Diploma Programme (DP) has significant benefits for Senior School students.

The International Baccalaureate is a progressive programme of education, which is based on best practise teaching and learning techniques from around the world.

At every stage and at every age, IB programmes encourage students to be reflective, active lifelong learners and critical thinkers. International Baccalaureate students are forever curious, fully-engaged citizens, who both embrace their own culture and are open and responsive to other cultures.

What is the IB Diploma Programme?

What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and why is it so well regarded around the world? Watch our short video and find out.

The academically-rigorous IB Diploma Programme builds on the foundations established by the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme to develop graduates who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally, and ethically. A student who has successfully completed the IB Diploma Programme can be expected to:

  • have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge
  • flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
  • study at least two languages
  • excel in traditional academic subjects
  • explore and question the nature of knowledge through the unique Theory of Knowledge unit.

Academic Success

Extensive research by both the IBO and external researchers has revealed that, typically, IB Diploma students are better able to cope with demanding workloads, manage their time and meet the expectations placed on them.

Evidence suggests that there is also evidence that IB Diploma students are better able to transition to learning at a university level, thanks to the Extended Essay, and other study skills they learn throughout the programme.

Worldwide Recognition by International Universities

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 advanced standing or course credit to students with strong IB examination results.

The IB Diploma is highly regarded by Australian Universities

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 College Counsellor and the IB DP Coordinator before selecting courses for their Diploma.

Diploma Programme Curriculum

The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum is made up of six subject groups and three mandatory additional units – Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay. Whilst there are different courses within each subject group, the six subject groups are:

  • Studies in Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts

Students must study courses from each subject group. However, students may choose to study an additional Science, Individuals and Societies, or Languages course, instead of a course in The Arts.

DP students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL).  HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level.

It is recommended that students study three subjects at Higher Level and three subjects at Standard Level. However, exceptions exist in which more Higher Level subjects could be studied.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a mandatory, sometimes challenging unit that all IB Diploma Programme students across the globe must complete. Promoting significant higher-order thinking, TOK asks students to reflect on the very nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we think we know. 

Theory of Knowledge is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1,600 word essay.

Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS)

DP students are also required to study a mandatory Creativity, Activity, Service unit (CAS). This unit is designed to help to develop balanced, community minded citizens who will help to make the world a better place. CAS encourages personal growth and development in DP students.

CAS requires students to take part in a range of meaningful experiences and projects, focusing on the key components of Creativity, Activity and Community Service.

Extended Essay

The final mandatory requirement of the DP is the Extended Essay. This is a 4000-word research paper, much like an undergraduate university assignment. This independent, self-directed piece of research is produced by individual students under the guidance of a faculty supervisor. It provides an opportunity for students to explore topics that are of special interest to them, and in which to extend their knowledge of one of their other six Diploma subjects.

Diploma Programme Courses Offered at International School of Western Australia

We offer the following DP courses at both Higher Level and Standard Level:

Group1 English A: Language and Literature
Group 2 Spanish B, Spanish ab initio, French
Group 3 History, Economics
Group 4 Physics, Chemistry, Biology
Group 5 Maths SL & HL, Mathematical Studies SL
Group 6 Visual Arts

As well as:

  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Creativity, Action, Service
  • Extended Essay

Other subjects are available to be taken online and are supervised by our staff. Subjects offered may vary from year to year, depending on student demand and teacher availability. We may also be able to offer self-funded subject on a case-by-case basis.

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What our teachers say

I love the sense of belonging here at ISWA. Growing up with a foreign family, I never felt like I had the opportunity to express myself and embrace my culture in a school environment. I love how the children here at ISWA are given opportunities to embrace their cultures, as well as being able to teach their peers and teachers about them too.

Renata Kearns: Pre-Primary

2018 Australian Association for International Education trading as International School of Western Australia CRICOS Provider 02674G