Why should I select IB for my child?

The IB Diploma has earned universal reputation for rigorous assessment, giving students access to the top colleges and universities around the world. IB is fast becoming the program of choice for students preparing to pursue higher education abroad. The IB curriculum equips students with the tools needed to succeed in higher education, such as self-confidence, preparedness, research skills, organizational skills and being actively engaged in self-learning.

Some universities even offer scholarships to IB Diploma holders.

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, an international outlook and social service – all of which are enhanced by the IB Diploma Program (IBDP).

Is there an entry requirement to get into the IB Diploma Program at ISD?

All students who have successfully completed Grade 10 at ISD will be eligible for the IB Diploma Program.

For students new to the school in their Grade 11 year, there are no additional requirements over and above the normal admissions procedures and testing.

How many courses do I need for the IB Diploma Program?

Students are enrolled in 6 courses plus an additional IB Core course which includes the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, the Extended Essay (EE) and the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) component of the program.

Three of these courses must be taken at a higher level (HL) and three will be taken at a standard level (SL).

Any deviation from this set up would need to be discussed with the IBDP Coordinator to ensure that the intended program is in the best interest of the student and will give them the best chance for success.

Please note that all courses are 2-year courses that are taken in the Grade 11 and 12 years. As such, it is vitally important to choose the right courses at the start of Grade 11 since these will be what you will study in your final two years of high school,

When and how do I choose my subjects?

The “when” part is easy – we normally have students choose their subjects prior to Chinese New Year. This is so that we have time to ensure there are no scheduling conflicts as we build the school’s timetable for the following year during February and March.

The “how” of choosing subjects is a bit more difficult since it really depends on the individual student. When choosing subjects and levels for those subjects students will need to keep in mind the following:

· requirements for college/university programs – do some research on your intended area of study after high school. Some institutions require certain subjects to be taken.

· look at your passions – your higher level courses should be in subjects that you are passionate about and want to explore more deeply. Since HL courses are more demanding than SL courses, it is vitally important that you choose HLs that are of interest to you and that you are willing to put in the extra hours of work

What are TOK, EE and CAS?

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) develops a coherent approach to learning that unifies the academic disciplines. In this required course, critical thinking is key as students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of how knowledge systems are constructed and applied. The major assessment components of the course include a 1200-1600 word essay on a prescribed title and a oral/visual presentation that connects a real life situation to the concepts developed in the TOK course.

The Extended Essay (EE) asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. The World Studies EE option allows students to focus on a topic of global significance which they examine through the lens of at least two DP subjects.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout their IB Diploma Program years.

· Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking.

· Activity seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity.

· Service with the community offers a vehicle for a new learning with academic value.

The three strands of CAS enhance students’ personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning and enable journeys of self-discovery.

What is the difference between the IB Diploma Program and the IB Course Program?

When in the IB Diploma Program, students study 6 subjects (3HL, 3SL) over their final two years of high school. At the same time, they are required to successfully complete the Theory of Knowledge course (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE) and the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) component of the program. Upon successful completion of the IB Diploma Program, the students would graduate with two diplomas – the ISD HS Diploma that is awarded in June and the IB Diploma that is awarded in July (after the external examination results have been collected and sent out).

Some students may find the demands of the IB Diploma Program too challenging and may opt to take individual courses rather than the full IBDP. The core components of TOK, EE and CAS would still need to be completed successfully but these students would not be required to study 3 subjects at the higher level (HL). IB Course Program students may opt for 2, 1 or even 0 HL courses in their subject choices, opting for SL courses instead of these HL courses.

IB Course Program students would be eligible for IB Certificates for any course they sit the external exam for but would not receive and IB Diploma. They would still be eligible for the ISD HS Diploma.

Is the IBDP stressful?

The IB program is a rigorous two-year college preparatory program. The level of stress can vary from one student to another and can be reduced, depending on the student’s acquisition of healthy study and organizational skills. A student who procrastinates and does not know how to manage time effectively will find it difficult to reduce the stress. All students are encouraged to complete assignments on time and meet the internal assessment deadlines. The teachers at ISD also work hard to coordinate major test and assignment deadlines, to keep student-stress to a minimum.

How are IBDP students assessed?

An essential principle of IB assessment is that standards are the same worldwide. IB examiners represent many cultural and academic traditions, yet the organization measures student performance according to established standards and criteria that are consistent from place to place and year to year.

Over the two‐year teaching period, a variety of assessment methods are used to acknowledge both the content and the process of academic achievement and
to take into account different learning styles. Final examinations in each subject take place in May of the Grade 12 year. Students’ work is assessed by international teams of examiners, who are themselves trained and monitored by the IBO.

The IB marks awarded for each subject range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. The full diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, and have satisfactory participation in Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS). The highest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points. Students are assessed both internally and externally. The percentage of internal and external assessment varies from subject to subject.

External assessment: Examinations form the basis of assessment for most subjects because of their objectivity and reliability. There are also a small number of other externally assessed pieces of work, for example, Theory of Knowledge essays, Extended Essays and world literature assignments. These are completed by students over an extended period under teacher supervision, and are then marked by external examiners.

· There are a series of written examinations at the end of the course, which may consist of two or three separately written examination papers.

· Conventional external examination techniques are chosen from a variety of options including short responses, structured questions, text responses, data‐based questions, essays and multiple‐choice questions.

· Taken together, this approach is considered to deliver higher levels of reliability in assessing students.

Internal assessment: Internal assessment is an important component of the IB Diploma assessment process. This recognizes the professional role of the teacher and gives students a chance to show what they can do over time, not just in the pressured context of a final examination without access to outside resources.

· Internal assessment usually accounts for 20–30% of the final grade in a subject.

· Marks awarded for internal assessment are externally moderated by IB examiners to ensure international parity.

· Internal assessment typically includes teacher evaluation of work done in class, homework assignments, special projects, notebooks and laboratory procedures.

Predicted grades

The predicted grade is the teacher’s prediction of the grade the student is expected to achieve in the subject, based on all the evidence of a student’s work and the teacher’s knowledge of IB standards. Predicted grades are also required for Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay, and may be used as additional information about students who are subject to special consideration.

What can I do if I am struggling in the IBDP?

First and foremost, talk with your teachers. They can give you insight into the situation and strategies for success.

Additionally, you can discuss the situation with the IBDP Coordinator as well as the HS Counselor. Both of these people can offer time management and study skill strategies as well as look at your program from a more global perspective to determine the best course of action.

There are also a number of organizations that offer intensive workshops/classes during the summer between Grade 11 and Grade 12. They usually offer additional workshops for examination preparation in the final months before the official IBDP exams. You can find more information about this on the following websites: