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Beginner's Guide to The Diploma Programme (DP) of IB Education

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Beginner's Guide to The Diploma Programme (DP) of IB Education
  1. Introduction About International Baccalaureate(IB)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student.

The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1968 in Geneva, IB offers three educational programmes for children ages 3–19. Consequently, "IB" can refer to the organization itself, any of the three programmes or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the diploma programme.

IBO currently work’s with 3,071 schools in 139 countries to offer the three IB programmes to approximately 877,000 students.

In 1994, the IB added the IB Middle Years Programme, for students between the age group 11 to 16. Also known as the MYP, the middle years programme consists of eight subject areas and five areas of interaction. In 1997, the IB added the IB Primary Years Programme for three to ten year olds. Also known as the PYP, the primary years programme is inquiry-based, and consists of six transdisciplinary themes supported by six subject areas.

To maximize the benefit of professional development, the IB has established the professional development division (PDD). Its role is to formulate and coordinate an organization-wide PD strategy. The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged between 16 to 19 for success at university and life beyond. The programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.

For instance taking the scenario of BRIC countries, there are 16 IB World Schools in Brazil offering one or more of the three IB programmes. 6 schools offer the Primary Years Programme, 2 schools offer the Middle Years Programme and 13 schools offer the Diploma Programme. The first school was authorized in 1980. Russian Federation has 18 IB World Schools in Russian Federation offering one or more of the three IB programmes. 5 schools offer the Primary Years Programme , 8 schools offer the Middle Years Programme and 13 schools offer the Diploma Programme. The first school was authorized in 1993. In India there are 71 IB World Schools offering one or more of the three IB programmes. 20 schools offer the Primary Years Programme ,7 schools offer the Middle Years Programme and 67 schools offer the Diploma Programme. The first school was authorized in 1976. There are 53 IB World Schools in China offering one or more of the three IB programmes. 17 schools offer the Primary Years Programme, 17 schools offer the Middle Years Programme and 45 schools offer the Diploma Programme. The first school was authorized in 1991.

 

  1. About Just International Schools

Just International Schools was started with an aim to make life simpler for parents. It started with a common goal of providing in-depth, relevant and true information about international schools in India, to all parents of school going children. JustInternationalSchools.com offers various online and print publications & services to international schools in India. JustInternationalSchools.com provides a unique platform for parent-school interaction. One among the various educational boards covered by Just International Schools, IB programme is more practical and application-based curriculum.

Ambarish Verma, Proprietor of eduFYI, the parent company of JustInternationalSchools.com says “Today parents are in a dilemma regarding the choice of an international school where their child is imbibed with good values and learns to play and interact with other children. As well as an international school which contributes and nurtures the overall growth and development of their child. IB programmes continue to imbibe international mindedness in students and educators through the IB learner profile. In the 21st century students are faced with the challenges of learning about an interconnected world with ever changing growth opportunities. International School education not only limits itself in the confines of the textbooks but is also taught in an interesting and interactive manner preferably with the help of tools and practical aids” adds Ambarish.

JustInternationalSchools.com will be coming up with information directory services and would be adding different service verticals in near future. JustInternationalSchools.com plans to cover all international schools in India by 2010 year end. We will be discussing “The IB Diploma Programme” in detail in this beginner’s guide, a programme aimed at training students aged between 16 to 19, the programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.

  1. Affiliations

The IB is a non-governmental organization (NGO) of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and has collaborative relationships with the Council of Europe and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).The IB's alliance with UNESCO encourages the integration of its educational goals into the IB curriculum.

The IB diploma prepares students for entrance into universities in many countries, since it is equivalent to the British ‘A' levels, the Australian Higher School Certificate, the German Abitur, the French Baccalaureate and other similar examination-based systems. Schools recognised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation and offering the IB curriculum are known as IB World Schools. The IB Programme is recognized by all the leading foreign Universities & the association of Indian Universities. IBO accreditation is proposed for the Diploma Programmes of Singapore International School.

  1. IB Recognition

The IB diploma is a passport to higher education. Universities around the world welcome the unique characteristics of IB Diploma Programme students and recognize the way in which the programme helps to prepare students for university-level education. The rigorousness and high standards of IB ensure that colleges and universities around the worldwide recognise the IB Diploma as a superior academic programme and a strong university entry credential.

The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) rates IB DP at par with Class 12 CBSE, ICSE, NIOS or State Boards. IB students routinely gain admission to some of the best-known universities in the world. IB has also achieved International recognition world wide from Oxford University, University of British Colombia etc, around 2545 universities from 75 countries that recognize IB, but many other universities also admit IB Diploma holders.

  1. IB Grants

The International Baccalaureate (IB) provides short-term grants for schools experiencing temporary financial challenges or schools that are demonstrably increasing access to IB programmes. A foundation registered in Switzerland. The IB is non-profit body.

Who can apply?

This fund offers grants to schools or education districts in two categories.

Category 1: IB World Schools experiencing temporary financial difficulties owing to unpredictable circumstances beyond their control

Category 2: IB World Schools or Implementing Schools that can clearly demonstrate that they are significantly widening access to IB programme’s and/or that they will be significantly contributing to a more diverse, inclusive IB Community

Nature of the grants

Grants are short term, valid for one year with a possible extension to two years maximum. Funds can be used for the training of teachers and administrators, the payment of the IB annual school fee for one or more programmes, or to support creative schemes to widen access and diversity.

Grants will take the form of a credit to the school's IB account. This will enable a rebate in annual fees or payment of workshop expenses in lieu of reimbursement of costs incurred through schemes to widen access and diversity. Schools will be expected to submit a report after the funds have been expended. The ongoing sustainability of an IB programme in the school is a key consideration in the award of a grant. Schools will not normally be eligible for more than two awards.

Authorization is an intensive process and lasts at least 2 years and also includes school site visits. The process of authorization for a school by IB organization is given in exhibit 5.1 below:

Exhibit 5.1 – Authorization process for teaching the PYP,MYP & DP curriculum             Source: IBO Website


 

Governance

The IB is governed by an elected 17-member Board of Governors, which appoints the director general, sets the strategic direction of the organization, adopts a mission statement, makes policy, oversees the IB's financial management; and ensures the autonomy and integrity of IB Diploma Programme examinations and other student assessment. Board membership represents cultural and geographical diversity.

We cover our main operational costs by charging fees to schools for providing services to support the implementation of the Diploma Programme. We value our reputation for providing high-quality services.

Annual school fee

IB World Schools pay an “annual school fee” for each programme they are authorized to teach, but if schools offer two or more programmes they pay a reduced fee to reflect their greater commitment.

  • Schools offering two programmes receive a 10% discount, which is calculated on the single lowest fee.
  • Schools offering all three programmes receive a 10% discount, which is calculated on the combined two lowest fees.

The annual school fee charged by the IBO from schools, for offering IB Diploma Programme can be compared with the IB PYP and IB MYP programmes as shown in exhibit 5.2

Annual school fee USD GBP CHF CAD

Diploma programme

10,000

5,710

13,000

12,000

Middle years programme

8,400

4,800

10,920

10,080

Primary years programme

7,300

4,170

9,490

8,760

(Fees valid to September 2011)

Exhibit 5.2 – The annual school fee’s charged by the IB Board                   Source: IBO Website


Applications

The deadlines for receipt of applications are 30 September 2010 & 30 March 2011. The application form should be completed and emailed to the Access and Advancement Office in the Singapore Global Centre at ibgrant@ibo.org.

  1. Overview of IB Curriculum and its Subjects

IB has a broader spectrum of subjects that lead to all-round development. IB examinations test students' knowledge, not their memory and speed. There are no examinations till the Middle Years Programme (Class 10). The focus of the IB pedagogy is on 'how to learn' rather than 'what to learn'. There are no prescribed textbooks; students can choose their own books. The purpose of IB is to produce global citizens. But sometimes, the IB programme does use the local curriculum as a base. For example, Marathi can be offered as a second language in the IB Diploma Programme. The IB curriculum is more challenging than educational boards like CBSE and ICSE. But the challenge is in the quality of assignments, not in the amount of work assigned.

The IB Organization works in four areas, namely:

  1. Development of curriculum
  2. Assessment of students
  3. Training and professional development of teachers
  4. Authorization and evaluation of schools

This internationally-recognised school system is made up of three educational programmes

i. PYP: The Primary Years Programme (Kindergarten to Class 5)

For pupils aged 3 to 12 focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside. Started in 1997 and is now offered by 721 IB World Schools

ii. MYP: The Middle Years Programme (Class 6 to Class 10)

For students aged between 11 to 16. It provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects. Started in 1994 and is now offered by 849 IB World Schools.

iii. DP: The Diploma Programme (Class 11 to Class 12)

For students aged 16 to 19, the DP programme is a demanding two-year curriculum that meets the needs of highly motivated students and leads to a qualification that is recognized by leading universities around the world. Started in 1968 with first examinations in 1970 and is now offered by 2,181 IB World Schools.

What makes the IB Unique?

  1. IB offers a continuum of education, consisting of three programmes for students aged 3 to 19.
  2. IB is proud of its reputation for high quality education sustained for over 35 years.
  3. IB encourages international-mindedness in IB students. To do this, IB believe’s that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity.
  4. IB encourages a positive attitude to learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, to critically reflect, to develop research skills, to learn how to learn and to participate in community service
  5. IB ensures that all its programmes are accessible to students in a wide variety of schools- national, international, public and private - through their unique relationship with IB World Schools worldwide.
  1. IB World Schools Statistics

The IB schools region wise statistics are given in the exhibit 7.1 below. The highest number of DP only, DP+PYP and MYP+DP programme’s are registered in the North America & the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific. There are as many as 1,731 schools across the globe offering DP only in their curriculum.

IB Programme Africa/ Europe/ Middle East Asia-Pacific Latin America North America & the Caribbean Total schools

PYP only

33

87

22

251

393

MYP only

12

31

4

371

418

DP only

602

209

206

714

1,731

All three

59

50

26

21

156

PYP+MYP

20

14

14

28

76

PYP+DP

34

40

17

5

96

MYP+DP

41

18

11

126

196

Total Schools

801

449

300

1516

3,066

Exhibit 7.1 – The IB Schools region wise statistics                                Source: IBO Website


The number of IB Programmes by region are shown in exhibit 7.2. North America & the Caribbean lead in case of all IB programmes followed by Africa/ Europe and Middle East

IB Programme Africa/ Europe/ Middle East Asia-Pacific Latin America North America & the Caribbean Total schools

Total PYP

146

191

79

305

721

Total MYP

132

113

55

546

846

Total DP

736

317

260

866

2,179

Total Programmes

1,014

621

394

1,717

3,746

Exhibit 7.2 – The number of IB Programmes region wise                           Source: IBO Website


The countries enrolled for IB Schools with programme wise data on PYP, MYP and DP level are shown in the exhibit 7.4. The United States tops the IB Programme list with 717 schools adopting the curriculum in their academics. The ten largest IB countries include:

Country Region IB World Schools Programmes
 

PYP

MYP

DP

United States

NA

1,206

245

405

717

Canada

NA

296

53

138

137

United Kingdom

AEM

222

12

10

215

Australia

AP

133

62

47

61

Mexico

LA

82

39

24

54

India

AP

71

20

7

67

China

AP

53

17

17

45

Argentina

LA

49

7

3

48

Spain

AEM

49

3

8

49

Ecuador

LA

46

4

4

44

Exhibit 7.3 – Programme-wise ten largest IB countries                           Source: IBO Website


Staffing at IB

The IB organization employs staff/representatives in Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cardiff, Geneva, Mumbai, New York, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Vancouver.

The IB world wide organization works with more than 5,000 examiners located worldwide. IB examiners are frequently teachers. Each subject has a chief examiner who is always a senior university academic with international standing in their subject.

The IB Budget Source

The main sources for IB income are:

  • authorization and evaluation fees
  • workshops and conferences
  • publications
  • annual school fee
  • examination fees
  • other
  1. The IB Diploma Programme (DP) Curriculum Framework

The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. The programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.

The IB Diploma Programme curriculum

IB Diploma Programme students study six courses at higher level or standard level. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5, thus ensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1-5.

The curriculum is modelled by a hexagon with six academic areas surrounding the three core requirements as shown in the exhibit 8.1 below:

 

Exhibit 8.1 – The IB DP Curriculum Framework                      Source: IBO Website


 

In addition the programme has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding.

1. The extended essay is a requirement for students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying.

2. Theory of knowledge is a course designed to encourage each student to reflect on the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical).

3. Creativity, action, service requires that students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine all three components or do activities related to each one of them separately.

The overall philosophy of the programme is expressed through three fundamental concepts that support and strengthen all areas of the curriculum. These concepts are based on:

  • intercultural awareness
  • holistic learning
  • communication

Over the course of the two-year programme, students:

  • study six subjects chosen from the six subject groups
  • complete an extended essay
  • follow a theory of knowledge course (TOK)
  • participate in creativity, action, service (CAS).

Normally:

  • three of the six subjects are studied at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours)
  • the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).

Subjects, other than languages, may be taught and examined in the following languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish.

Taken as a whole, the curriculum provides a balanced education that will equip young people for effective participation in the modern world.

IB also offers Diploma courses online in collaboration with Pamoja Education.

  • Courses are developed by Pamoja Education and approved by the IB in accordance with rigorous quality assurance standards
  • Pamoja is committed to preserving the quality of the IB experience
  • Currently there are 8 courses offered
  • IB plans to have a minimum catalogue of 27 courses by 2015
  • Pamoja Education is also providing support for IB research into the delivery of experimental sciences online

Assessment of IB Diploma Programme

Students take written examinations at the end of the programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners.

The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and to satisfactory participation in the creativity, action, service requirement. The highest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points.

The IB Diploma Programme goals provide students with:

  • a broad and balanced, yet academically demanding, programme of study
  • the development of critical-thinking and reflective skills
  • the development of research skills
  • the development of independent learning skills
  • the development of intercultural understanding
  • a globally recognized university entrance qualification.

Diploma Programme 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:

  • retaining knowledge
  • understanding key concepts
  • applying standard methods.

In addition to academic skills, Diploma Programme assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills where appropriate. The assessment tasks are designed to support and encourage good classroom teaching and learning.

Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student's position in the overall rank order. The overall Diploma pass rate is broadly consistent year on year is shown in exhibit 8.2 below. Quality is maintained with an extensive script checking process in Cardiff in which every script is administratively checked once it has been marked.

May ’10* May ’09* May ‘08 >May ’07 >May ’06

77.93%

78.7%

79.0%

78.8%

80.4%

(*Provisional Results)

Exhibit 8.2 – The overall IB DP pass rate year-on-year                                Source: IBO Website


Quality assurance and professional development

Any school wishing to offer the Diploma Programme and attain IB World School status must first go through the authorization process. The requirements for authorization are the same for all schools, even though the process is administered slightly differently in each IB region. The process is designed to ensure schools are well prepared to implement the programme successfully.

This is a challenging programme that demands the best from both motivated students and teachers. Schools can access an extensive package of IB professional development for teachers and administrators and commit to ongoing professional development. Schools are required to participate in an ongoing process of review and development, using standards and practices that apply to all IB World Schools.

  1. Growth of IB over the years

Since 1968, the IB organization has grown rapidly, and for the past five years student numbers in the three programmes have grown by nearly 20% each year. However, it is the rate and direction of this growth that presents IB with their greatest challenges.

Three major themes

These questions help to identify the three major themes of our strategic plan.

Quality: continuously improving the quality of our three programmes

Access: enabling more students to experience and benefit from an IB education, regardless of personal circumstances

Infrastructure: building a highly effective and efficient infrastructure so that we can provide excellent service to students and schools. The plan sets out 28 actions that identify the major developments we will need to implement over the next 5 to 10 years. The delivery of these themes and actions is managed through the annual process of business planning.

The number of schools following the Diploma Programme and Partner Programmes between 2005–2009 is shown in exhibit 9.1 and 9.2

 

Number of schools following the Diploma Programme* 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

May session schools

1,192

1,324

1,454

1,636

1,833

November session schools

143

156

169

181

192

Total

1,335

1,480

1,623

1,817

2,025

(*As of 30th November each year)

Exhibit 9.1 – Number of Schools following IB DP                                   Source: IBO Website


 

Exhibit 9.2–Progressive increase in the number of schools conducting the IB DP           Source: IBO Website

 


Number of schools following the IB Diploma Programme by working language between 2005–2009 is shown in exhibit 9.3 and 9.4

Number of schools following the Diploma Programme by working language* 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

English

1,169

1,302

1,429

1,594

1,779

French

18

19

18

21

27

Spanish

148

159

176

202

219

Total

1,335

1,480

1,623

1,817

2,025

(*As of 30th November each year)

Exhibit 9.3 – Number of IB DP Schools by working language                          Source: IBO Website


 

Exhibit 9.4 – Comparison of number of IB DP Schools by different working languages             Source: IBO Website


Percentage of schools following the Diploma Programme by working language between 2005–2009 is shown in exhibit 9.5.

Percentage of schools following the Diploma Programme by working language* 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

English

87.57%

87.97%

88.05%

87.73%

87.85%

French **

1.35%

1.28%

1.11%

1.16%

1.33%

Spanish

11.09%

10.74%

10.84%

11.11%

10.81%

(*As of 30th November each year)

(**French is not a response language in November session)

Exhibit 9.5 – Percentage of schools with DP by different working languages               Source: IBO Website


The one-year growth of IB by programme’s offered is shown in exhibit 9.6

Programme Oct-09 Oct-10 Increase

PYP

572

721

26.05%

MYP

743

849

14.27%

DIPLOMA

1,993

2,181

9.43%

Total schools

3,308

3,751

13.39%

Exhibit 9.6 – The one-year-growth of IB by programmes                             Source: IBO Website


The Five-year growth percentage by IB programme offered is shown in exhibit 9.7 below

Programme Oct-05 Oct-10 Increase CAGR

PYP

234

721

208.12%

25.24%

MYP

464

849

82.97%

12.84%

DIPLOMA

1,325

2,181

64.60%

10.48%

Total schools

2,023

3,751

85.42%

13.14%

 

Exhibit 9.7 – Five-year-growth of IB by programme                                 Source: IBO Website


  1. IB Assessment Criteria

All subjects (with the exception of CAS) are assessed using both internal and external assessors. The externally assessed examinations are given worldwide in May (usually for Northern Hemisphere schools) and in November (usually for Southern Hemisphere schools). Each exam usually consists of two or three papers, generally written on the same or successive weekdays. The different papers may have different forms of questions, or they may focus on different areas of the subject syllabus. For example, in Chemistry, paper 1 has multiple choice questions, paper 2 has extended response questions, and paper 3 focuses on the "Option(s)" selected by the teacher. The grading of all external assessments is done by independent examiners appointed by the IB.

The nature of the internal assessment (IA) varies by subject. There may be oral presentations, practical work (in experimental sciences and performing arts), or written works. Internal assessment accounts for 20 to 50 percent of the mark awarded for each subject and is marked by a teacher in the school. A sample of at least five per subject at each level will also be graded by a moderator appointed by the IB, in a process called external moderation of internal assessment.

Points are awarded from 1 to 7. Up to three additional points are awarded depending on the grades achieved in the extended essay and theory of knowledge, so the maximum possible point total in the IBDP is 45.

  1. Comparison between Diploma Programme & other Boards
  • The IB Diploma programme is expressed through three fundamental concepts that support and strengthen all areas of the curriculum. These concepts are based on intercultural awareness, holistic learning and communication.
  • The Diploma programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.
  • IB also offers Diploma courses online in collaboration with Pamoja Education, in accordance with rigorous quality assurance standards. Currently there are 8 courses offered however, IB plans to have a minimum catalogue of 27 courses by 2015.
  • The curriculum is modelled by a hexagon with six academic areas surrounding the three core requirements.
  • The requirements for authorization are the same for all schools, even though the process is administered slightly differently in each IB region.
  • There are no prescribed textbooks; students can choose their own books unlike CBSE/ICSE and other state boards which have a fixed syllabus and standard textbooks. But sometimes, the IB Diploma programme does allows the local curriculum as a base. For example, Hindi can be offered as a second language in the IB Diploma Programme.
  • The emphasis is on the fluidity of the curricular framework and the interrelatedness of the subjects. Aspects of the areas of interaction are, addressed naturally through the distinct disciplines.
  • Like CBSE/ICSE and other school education boards, the Diploma Programme is open-ended & encourages problem-solving activities with the help of three requirements i.e. The extended essay, Theory of knowledge and Creativity, action, service.
  • Involved in providing hands-on experimentation across many topics while students are studying.
  • The IB school board spends a considerable amount of time on analysis and reflection of past board performance
  • Finally, schools with DP curriculum, in keeping with the ethos of approaches to learning, also make use of quantitative and qualitative assessment strategies and tools that provide opportunities for peer and self-assessment.

Pursuing the IB programme can be very expensive, with annual fees as high as Rs 250,000. But the IBO vigorously maintains the same, hence the IB programme is not elitist.

  1. Parents Concerns: Why should one choose IB Diploma curriculum for their children
  1. The IB Diploma has earned universal reputation for rigorous assessment, giving students access to the top colleges and universities in India and the world. IB is fast becoming the programme of choice for Indian students preparing to pursue higher education abroad.
  2. The IB curriculum equips students with the tools needed to succeed in higher education, such as self-confidence, preparedness, research skills, organisational skills and being actively engaged in own learning.
  3. Some universities even offer scholarships to IB diploma holders.
  4. University admissions around the world are getting competitive by the day. Admission officers are increasingly looking for other evidence that a student will succeed in the university - such as exposure to quality curriculum, research abilities, international outlook and social service all enhanced by IB.