International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP)?
After finishing the MYP, students are well-prepared for further education, including national and international courses of study designed for 16-19-year-olds. The MYP aligns most closely with the IB DP, ensuring a smooth transition; and prepares students for the DP by reflecting the depth, breadth, and balance that is characteristic of all IB programmes. (Repeated content)
Through the DP, students:
- have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge
- flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
- study at least two languages
- excel in traditional academic subjects
- explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’ s unique theory of knowledge course
The curriculum is made up of the DP core and six subject groups and three required components. The DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.
The three core elements are:
- Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
- The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
- Creativity, activity, service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.
The six subject groups from which students choose:
- Studies in language and literature (Group 1)
- Language acquisition (Group 2)
- Individuals and societies (Group 3)
- Sciences (Group 4)
- Mathematics (Group 5)
- The Arts (Group 6)
Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course, instead of a course in the arts.
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.
Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at Higher Level, and the remaining at Standard Level.
Assessment and Exams
The IB assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the DP courses. DP assessment procedures measure the extent to which students have mastered advanced academic skills in fulfilling these goals, for example:
- Analyzing and presenting information
- Evaluating and constructing arguments
- Solving problems creatively
Basic skills are also assessed, including:
- Retain knowledge
- Understand key concepts
- Apply standard methods
Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student's position in the overall rank order.
The IB uses both external and internal assessment in the DP.
Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability. They include:
- Structured problems
- Short-response questions
- Data-response questions
- Text-response questions
- Case-study questions
- Multiple-choice questions (These are rarely used)
Teachers also play a key role in assessing students’ development, particularly in:
- Oral work in languages
- Fieldwork in geography
- Laboratory work in the sciences
- Investigations in Mathematics
- Artistic performances
In the DP, students receive grades ranging from 7 to 1, with 7 being the highest, for each DP course attempted.
A student’s final Diploma Programme result score consists of the combined scores for each subject. The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance, including successful completion of the three essential elements of the DP core.
The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Extended Essay (EE) components are awarded individual grades and can collectively contribute up to 3 additional points towards the overall Diploma score. Thus, the maximum points DP student can score is 45 (6 x 7, plus 3)
Creativity, Action, Service – these constitute the remaining elements in the DP core. While this does not contribute to the total points, students’ participation is mandatory in order to be awarded the Diploma.
University and Employment
IB DP focuses on personal, professional and academic development and is globally recognized by universities for the holistic and rigorous education it provides. The IB DP is recognized and respected by the world’s leading universities, and evidence suggests that higher rates of DP students go on to university and higher education study than non-IB students.
The most popular of these institutions are ranked among the top universities in the world. The IB recognition resource and document library has testimonials from universities working with DP students.
Research suggests that the DP can play an important role in ensuring admission to a university. However, the performance of the student also matters.