The IB Diploma Programme

What is the Diploma Programme?

The IB Diploma Programme is an assessed programme for students aged 16 to 19. It is respected by leading universities across the globe. Through the DP, schools are able to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge, flourish holistically, study at least two languages, excel in traditional academic subjects, and explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique theory of knowledge course.

The Diploma Programme Curriculum

The DP consists of six subject groups: language acquisition, language and literature, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts.
The DP is preceded by the IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP). The IB programmes are philosophically aligned, each centred on developing attributes of the IB learner profile. The programmes are consistent in their pedagogical approach.

Core Elements of the Diploma Programme

Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills
 

Extended Essay

An independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper


Theory of Knowledge

Students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know

Creativity, Activity, Service

Students complete a community project related to the three concepts

What is CAS?

DP Subject Groups

The DP consists of six subject groups: language acquisition, language and literature, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts

 

The acquisition and use of language in a range of contexts and for different purposes, while promoting an understanding of other cultures

Language Acquisition
Read Subject Overviews

Language Acquisition
Language B SL/HL
Language ab initio SL

Through studies in language and literature, the DP aims to develop a student’s lifelong interest in language and literature, and a love for the elegance and richness of human expression

Language and Literature
Read Subject Overviews

Language and Literature

Language A: Literature SL/HL
Language A: Language & Literature SL/HL

fosters the capacity to identify, analyse and evaluate theories, concepts and arguments relating to the nature and activities of individuals and societies

Individuals and Societies
Read Subject Overviews

Individuals and Societies
Business Management SL/HL
Economics SL/HL
Geography SL/HL
Global Politics  SL/HL
History SL/HL
Psychology SL/HL

 


Students explore the concepts, theories, models and techniques that underpin each subject area and develop their understanding of the scientific method

Sciences

Biology SL/HL
Chemistry SL/HL
Physics SL/HL
Environmental Systems and Societies
SL
Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences SL

Fosters critical, reflective and informed practice, helps students understand the dynamic nature of the arts, and express themselves with confidence

 
Arts

Music (until 2018) SL/HL
Visual arts SL/HL

Courses enable students to develop knowledge of concepts and principles, logical and critical thinking, and refine their powers of abstraction

 
Mathematics

Mathematical Studies SL
Mathematics SL/HL

IB DP Physics Textbook Recommendation

Physics

Tsokos (Cambridge) – reigns supreme. It’s absolutely fantastic and does well with it’s breakdown of concepts which are explained logically and mathematically. It does go beyond the syllabus quite often and if you are not into physics or are not too confident about it, you might get confused from time to time. Also the worked examples are a bit OTT too, but it’s better to be overprepared than to be underprepared.

Oxford – a great all around book, not fantastic like Tsokos by any means, but for the course content it is sufficient. If you find Tsokos difficult to follow, Oxford would be your best bet.

Pearson – for physics, its an average. 

Oxford study guide – this is amazing for revision. Do not overlook this. Use the other books for studying, but this one for revision. You will not regret it. Kinda weak for unit 12, but otherwise its fantastic.

Chemistry

Cambridge – quite simplistic. It uses analogies frequently to explain concepts. I would say this is a good book, and does break down ideas really well. If you have trouble following the Pearson and Oxford books for chemistry, use Cambridge as a last resort.

Oxford – great for chemistry. There were a few issues when it came to unit 9/19 (specifically electrolysis), and buffers in unit 8/18. I would recommend using Pearson for those chapters.

Pearson – a solid book for chemistry. It hurts me to admit this but its actually better than Oxford for chemistry. Both books are incredibly consistent, but just because this book does a damn good job of explaining things that the Oxford book doesn’t do that well makes it my go-to chemistry book. 11/10 with rice.

Oxford Study Guide – again, for chemistry, its amazing. Weak with buffers and electrolysis (units 8/18 and 9/19) as well as some minor magnetism details (unit 3/13, diamagnetism, paramagnetism and ferromagnetism) but otherwise its fantastic.

Biology

Cambridge – This Book is very simplistic. 

Oxford – fantastic. Best book for biology. My friend and I made our final revision notes from this book and they are solid notes. PM me if you want these notes.

Pearson – comparable to Oxford for biology. Has really great diagrams, so if you’re struggling with visualisation, check this book out.

Oxford Study Guide – Average.

A few words on the Oxford Study Guide for physics and chemistry, this is a solid resource for ‘day-before-the-exam-revision’. It covers everything you need to know, except for a few minor exceptions that I have talked about above. They can be read in a day if you are focused. The chemistry study guide takes around 7 hours to complete and about the same amount of time for the physics study guide. The Oxford Study guide for biology, on the other hand, is average. So many details are missing in this book, which makes it impossible to obtain a level 7 just by reading this book.

IB Assessment Policy 

Philosophy and Principles

Assessment is the process of gathering information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the learning outcomes in a course.  Assessment is used to communicate and support student learning and encourage student success.  Evaluation is the process of analyzing assessment information to determine student achievement of the learning outcomes for the purposes of grading and reporting. The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning.

Effective assessment allows students to demonstrate a broad range of conceptual understanding and skills, and demonstrate critical thinking abilities.  Assessment teaches students to analyze their own learning, reflect on their areas of achievement and areas for improvement, and set goals for their own learning. Assessment helps students develop effective learning skills and strategies.

Effective assessment allows teachers to identify individual student’s strengths and areas of concern in relation to the curriculum outcomes.  Teachers use assessments to guide instruction and to provide timely and clear feedback to improve future learning. Effective assessment provides parents and guardians with evidence of student learning and information about their children’s strengths and areas of concern in relation to the curriculum outcomes.  This information can be used to support student progress and achievement.

Teachers use a variety of assessment instruments to gather information about student achievement. The action that is taken in response to an assessment determines its formative or summative nature.

Formative and Summative Assessment

Formative assessment involves the ongoing process of gathering and interpreting evidence to monitor progress in student learning.  Teachers use the data to provide feedback and to adjust instruction to enhance learning and achievement.  An example of a formative assessment might be a homework probe or an assignment.  It may also be as simple as a teacher asking a student a question in class to assess understanding of a concept.  Formative assessments also provide opportunities for students to assess their own work, and that of peers, to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies for improvement. Formative assessments identify the learning needs of students, shape learning, and prepare students for summative assessments.

Summative assessment involves the process of gathering and interpreting evidence to assess a student’s understanding of the course material.  Summative assessments measure achievement based on established criteria used to assign a value to represent the quality of student learning at the end of a period of learning.  For example, a unit test would be designed to assess how well a student has learned the material in the current unit, before moving on to the next unit.  A final examination, which assesses a student’s understanding of an entire course, is the example of a summative assessment.  Summative assessments play an important role in the final grade a student earns in a given course.  Summative assessments are used to communicate information on student achievement to students, teachers, parents and guardians, and others.

IB Assessments

IB teachers use a variety of formative and summative assessments to support and encourage student learning.  IB assessment is criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced.  This means that student work is marked in relation to clearly defined levels of skill attainment rather than against the work of other students.  The levels of skill attainment for each subject are derived from the aims and objectives of the course and established by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). They are designed to be fair to students all over the world. The criteria for achievement are explained to students in each course and are the focus of class and homework activities.

Internal Assessment

There are two types of summative IB assessment tools which are used in the determination of final IB grades: internal and external assessments.  Detailed IB policies describe the conditions under which these tools must be administered. 

IB internal assessments allow teachers to assess some of the students’ work during the IB course.  Examples include English individual oral commentary, language presentations, historical investigations, laboratory reports, and math projects.  NRHS teachers mark the internal assessments and this grade counts as a percentage of the student’s overall final IB score. The marks for the internal assessments are submitted to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), along with a representative sample of the work marked by the NRHS teacher.  This sample is then sent to an IB moderator who evaluates how the teacher has applied the IB grading rubric.  IBO may then adjust the marks of the assignment.

Internal assessments provide students with opportunities to show mastery of skills outside of final examinations.  Students receive significant instruction and practice throughout their courses in order to effectively prepare for these challenging tasks.

In each IB subject teachers are given a very specific list of criteria to assess and guidelines about how to mark each criterion.  To determine a mark, the teacher chooses the level of achievement that best matches the work being marked. The criteria for achievement are clearly communicated to students well in advance of the internal assessments. IB assessments are graded on a scale of 1 (low) to 7 (high).

Northumberland Regional High School IB teachers use the NRHS IB calendar to maximize student achievement and minimize student stress.  The due dates for IB internal assessments are established in consultation with other NRHS IB teachers in order to spread out the workload of the IB Diploma Programme over the two years and avoid overlap.  The dates for internal assessments are posted on the NRHS IB calendar and copies of such are provided to students at the beginning of the school year.

External Assessment

IB external assessments are assessments that are completed by students at Northumberland Regional High while overseen by NRHS teachers, but are sent away to be marked by external IB examiners. Final examinations are the main means of external assessment, but work such as the Extended Essay, Written Assignment papers, TOK essays and Visual Arts exhibitions are also externally assessed.  

The dates for IB examinations are set by the IBO and given to students a year in advance of their exams. IB exams are conducted in strict accordance with IBO regulations.  Practice exams are conducted in January and June of year 1 and January of year 2.  Practice exams are an important part of review and exam preparation.  IB final exams typically make up about 75% of the students’ final course mark, but the exact percentage varies from course to course.

School-Based Assessment

IB teachers also use school-based student assessment in addition to IB internal and external assessments.  These school-based assessments are essential for student success and contribute to the students’ report card marks.  The report card grade each student earns in a particular IB class is not tied directly to the marks earned on formal IB assessments, but is reflective of work completed in preparation for those assessments.  For example, the actual marks on IB final examinations will not be available until July.  Report card marks during the course are based on unit tests using past IB exam questions, practice exams and in-class assignments modelled on IB assessments.  Teachers evaluate school-based assignments using IB rubrics and then convert the marks to 1-7 scores based on mark bands available in the yearly subject reports provided by IB.  All NRHS teachers have received specialized training in the use of IB grading criteria and mark bands.  These school-based assessments do not contribute toward the final IB grade, which is awarded by the IBO in July.

Reporting IB Grades

A variety of methods are used to communicate student achievement throughout the academic year. Curriculum outcomes and assessment practices are communicated through course outlines provided to students. Parent meetings are held in September of year 1 to clarify IB grading and answer any questions parents may have concerning IB assessments. Curriculum evenings are held each semester to inform parents and guardians about course objectives and assessment practices. Parent-teacher interviews are held each semester, providing parents and guardians with a time to meet teachers to discuss their child’s progress in each course. As needed, teachers consult with parents and guardians on an individual basis.

Course grades, based on school-based assessments, are reported to students and their parents and guardians on an ongoing basis through the use of password protected online accounts on Pearson PowerSchool.  Grades are also reported to students and parents twice a semester using provincially authorized report cards according to the report schedule of the Nova Scotia Department of Education and the Chignecto Central Regional School Board.

Marks in IB courses are reported using the IB 1 – 7 scale as described below.  The 1-7 marks are based on the IB standardized criteria on levels of achievement in each course.

IB Grading Scale

7

Excellent Performance

6

Very Good Performance

5

Good Performance

4

Satisfactory Performance

3

Mediocre Performance

2

Poor Performance

1

Very Poor Performance

IB marks are also reported on the Nova Scotia Department of Education transcripts for students.  Official transcripts are required to be submitted to universities for consideration of admission and scholarships.  Nova Scotia IB students receive two official transcripts.  The first and most important transcript is the IB transcript which displays the 1-7 grades based on school-based assessments marked according to IB standardized assessment criteria.  These correspond to the 1-7 marks shown on report cards.  The transcripts show the marks recorded during the most recent reporting period, as required by the Nova Scotia Department of Education (November, February, April or June).

Nova Scotia IB students also receive a second Nova Scotia Department of Education transcript displaying percentage marks converted from the 1-7 IB scale.   Achievement levels attained according to IB standards and criteria are translated into a percentage grade using a standardized conversion scale developed by the Nova Scotia Department of Education.

The percentage conversion is completed using the standardized DoE conversion scale.

IB Grade

Converted Percentage Grade

7

99-100

6

92-98

5

84-91

4

77-83

3

70-76

2

50-69

1

Failing Grade

A student who scores at the high end of the IB scale based on IB mark bands and assessment criteria would earn a corresponding percentage grade on the high end of the designated percentage range for that IB score.

Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essays are evaluated using a letter grade scale.  The Nova Scotia Department of Education percentage conversions are:

 

IB Grade

Converted Percent Grade

A

96-100

B

91-95

C

80-90

D

70-79

E

Failure

Final IB scores are based on the IB internal and external assessments, not on school-based assessments. Students are notified of their final IB marks in early July through access to a secure IB website.  Requests may be made at the school in May for official IB results to be sent directly from the IBO to universities in July.  Students may later contact IBO directly to request that transcripts be sent to universities.

Earning the IB Diploma

Students in the IB Diploma Programme must take one course in each of five academic groups: Studies in Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals & Societies, Experimental Sciences, and Mathematics.  Students must also take a sixth course, either an Arts course or an additional course from one of the groups listed above.  Students must also complete the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) requirements.   

Each of the IB subjects is graded on a 1-7 scale. To determine diploma eligibility the marks in each of the six subjects are totalled. Combined performance in the Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay, which are marked on an A-E basis, contribute up to three additional points to a student’s total, according to the chart below.

 

 

Theory of Knowledge

 

 

A

B

C

D

E

Extended Essay

A

3

3

2

2

1 + Failing Condition*

B

3

2

1

1

0 + Failing Condition*

C

2

1

1

0

0 + Failing Condition*

D

2

1

0

0

0 + Failing Condition*

E

1 + Failing Condition*

0 + Failing Condition*

0 + Failing Condition*

0 + Failing Condition*

0 + Failing Condition

*28 points overall will be required to be eligible for the diploma if a student attains an “E” grade in either the extended essay or theory of knowledge. Attaining a grade “E” in both the extended essay and theory of knowledge is an automatic failure.

The maximum total possible IB Diploma Program score is 45 (6 X 7 plus 3).  In order to receive an IB Diploma, a student must complete all assessment components for each of the six subjects and complete the TOK, EE, and CAS requirements. A student must earn at least 24 points and meet the following additional rules and requirements.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma will be awarded to a student if they receive 28 points or above and they meet the following requirements:

–         Numeric grades have been awarded in all six subjects registered for the IB Diploma.

–         All CAS requirements have been met.

–         Grades A (highest) to E (lowest) have been awarded for both theory of knowledge and an extended essay, with a grade of at least D in one of them.

–         There is no grade 1 in any subject.

–         There is no more than one grade 2 at a higher level.

–         There are no more than two grades 2 at standard level.

–         Overall, there are no more than three grades 3 or below.

–         At least 11 points have been gained on higher level subjects

–         At least 8 points have been gained on standard level.

–         The final award committee has not judged the candidate to be guilty of malpractice.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma will be awarded to a student if they receive 24, 25, 26 or 27 points and they meet the following requirements:

–         Numeric grades have been awarded in all six subjects registered for the IB Diploma.

–         All CAS requirements have been met.

–         At least grade D has been awarded for both theory of knowledge and an extended essay.

–         There is no grade 1 in any subject.

–         There is no grade 2 at a higher level.

–         There is no more than one grade 2 at standard level.

–         Overall, there are no more than three grades 3 or below.

–         At least 12 points have been gained on higher level subjects (candidates who register for four higher level subjects must gain at least 16 points at higher level.).

–         At least 9 points have been gained on standard level subjects (candidates who register for two standard level subjects must gain at least 6 points at standard level).

–         The final award committee has not judged the candidate to be guilty of malpractice.

Successful IB Diploma candidates will receive an IB Diploma. An IB Diploma candidate who fails to satisfy the requirements for the IB Diploma will be awarded course results for individual subjects.