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.
International Baccalaureate diplomas and certificates are accepted around the world as a qualification for university entrance. Since 1969, IB students have entered over 600 universities in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and the list of institutions accepting IB students, which includes the most prestigious institutions throughout the world, is growing every year.
Many university admissions personnel have stated that they prefer IBDP students because the course develops a variety of skills needed for university study, and successful IBDP graduates have already demonstrated the ability to work at this level. In addition, IBDP students, having studied a range of subjects, can make a more informed choice of undergraduate programs. Many employers too, recognise the value of analytical skills, flexibility and adaptability, all of which are stressed in the IB program. Thus, the IBDP offers not only preparation for university but also for life after university.
As the IBDP is a pre-university course, each student must design a course suited to his or her needs and interests. All students preparing to join the IBDP therefore must discuss their possible options with the IBDP Coordinator, as well as with their parents, considering their future university plans. It should be noted that many universities have specific requirements in terms of courses taken and grades achieved, and some may require entrance examinations.
Higher Level (HL) courses are considered equivalent to British ‘A’ Level courses, and to American Advanced Placement (AP) or ‘Honours’ courses. IB Higher Level courses are considered for advanced standing or credit at many Canadian and US universities. IB Diploma students with excellent HL subject scores may be offered a year’s credit or advanced placement in Canadian or US universities or US-type universities overseas.
IB Courses without the Diploma are accepted in many countries, including the US and Canada, and are accepted for entry by UK foundation programs and may be accepted by less competitive UK universities.