The International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Program (DP), created in 1968, is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to external examinations; it is designed for highly motivated students aged 16 to 19. The program has earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB Diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities. The IB has shown over the course of almost 50 years that IB Diploma Program students are well prepared for university work.
The Diploma Program’s grading system is criterion based: each student’s performance is measured against well-defined levels of achievement consistent from one examination session to the next. Grades reflect attainment of knowledge and skills relative to set standards that are applied equally to all schools. Top grades are not, for example, awarded to a certain percentage of students.
The program is a comprehensive two-year international curriculum that generally allows students to fulfil the requirements of their national or state education systems. The Diploma Program incorporates the best elements of national systems, without being based on any one. Internationally mobile students are able to transfer from one IB World School to another, while students who remain closer to home benefit from a highly respected international curriculum. The program was born of efforts to establish a common curriculum and valid university entry credentials for students moving from one country to another. International educators were motivated by practical considerations but also by an idealistic vision: students should share an academic experience that would emphasize critical thinking, intercultural understanding and exposure to a variety of points of view.
Today, more than half the students world-wide opting for the Diploma Program come from state or national systems rather than from international schools. The idealism has remained unchanged, however. The IB’s goal is to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop sound judgement, make wise choices, and respect others in the global community. The program equips students with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in higher education and employment. The program has the strengths of a traditional liberal arts curriculum, but with three important additional features, shown at the centre of the hexagonal curriculum model.
Raffles World Academy is an authorized IB World School and a member of the Middle East International Baccalaureate Association (MEIBA). Currently over 2000 schools, in 130 countries, offer the IB Diploma Program. The IB is headquartered in The Hague, but also has offices in Washington DC, Singapore and Cardiff.