INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMME (IB)
In June 2011, Cheshire Academy was designated as an International Baccalaureate® World School. Our quest to bring the IB Programme to the Academy began in 2009 as part of a comprehensive curricular review. As a faculty, we found ourselves eager to embrace a curriculum so thoughtfully rooted in five fundamental premises. The educators who founded the IB, nearly half a century ago, were visionaries who understood the importance of international-mindedness. They believed that the world is becoming increasingly smaller and that our children must become members of a global community. They understood that we have only one good earth and that our daughters and sons must become stewards of it. They preached the importance of giving back and emphasized that students must become involved in community service. They advocated students should become fluent in a second language. And they emphasized the importance of teaching writing across the curriculum. These fundamental tenets speak to what we assert as core values of a Cheshire education.
ABOUT THE IB DIPLOMA PROGRAMME
Balanced and rigorous, the Diploma Programme encourages students to communicate critically, to understand the relationships between subject areas, and to embrace international-mindedness. Emphasizing a balance between breadth and depth, IB courses foster critical-thinking and writing skills in a pedagogical approach designed to help students become thoughtful citizens in an increasingly global community. The full IB Diploma course load requires that students each select one course from each of the six subject groups. At least three (four maximum) of these courses must be studied at the Higher Level (HL), with the remaining courses studied at the Standard Level (SL). In addition to the six subject courses, a Diploma Programme (DP) student must fulfill three core requirements:
|Creativity, Action, and Service|
Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) requires that students be engaged in activities outside of the classroom. These activities must include artistic, athletic, and community service endeavors. Students document their activities in a variety of ways that may include reflective writing and regular meetings with the CAS faculty advisor. Students must participate in CAS for an equivalent of approximately three hours each week during the entire two-year program.
The Extended Essay is a research paper of 4,000 words. Students may choose topics in subjects about which they are passionate. Students complete the Extended Essay independently from their IB class work. Academy instructors provide support at every step along the way: during the process, each student works closely with a subject advisor and an Extended Essay advisor. The schedule of writing the Extended Essay includes the spring of the junior year, the summer between 11th and 12th grades, and the fall of the senior year. In the winter of the senior year, students complete their Extended Essays, which are then sent for assessment to IB readers outside the Academy.
|Theory of Knowledge|
Interdisciplinary in nature, the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) course encourages students to explore how we know and why. Critical reading, seminar discussion, and writing are hallmarks of this course. A ToK essay forms part of the total Diploma Programme assessment.
IB students complete a variety of assessments — written, oral, art portfolio, group science project, group math project — that occur during the regular school year. Cheshire Academy IB teachers grade these projects and use the results to predict their students’ performance on IB external exams taken in May of the senior year. IB external assessments in all subject areas are exams, which vary by discipline. Some are oral, some are written, and some are cumulative portfolios. Students take their exams on campus. CA instructors then send the exams to outside examiners for grading.
Receiving the IB Diploma requires that students earn a minimum of 24 points. Marks for each subject area range from 1 (lowest) to 7 points (highest). Students can also earn an additional three points from the ToK essay and the Extended Essay. The maximum number of points possible is 45. Final IB grades are released on July 6. Students who find that the full Diploma Programme does not best meet their interests or talents may elect to take individual IB courses can be taken, for which Certificates may be earned.
BECOMING AN IB DIPLOMA STUDENT
In general, a successful IB student has a solid academic record that most importantly reflects effort, determination, and a love of learning. Other qualities that bode well for success in IB courses include good communication skills (both writing and speaking), solid organizational skills, an interest in learning about international perspectives, a strong work ethic, and a full commitment to meeting the requirements of the Diploma Programme. In order to be considered as a potential IB student, a student may be recommended by a teacher, request a recommendation from a teacher, or request an appointment with the IB Coordinator. The next step for each potential IB student will be an interview with the IB Coordinator and/or the Academic Office. During their interview, students will have the opportunity to explain why they wish to participate in the Programme and how they see themselves benefitting from the curriculum. All applicants will also participate in a short writing exercise.
American and international colleges and universities recognize the value of the IB Diploma and appreciate the rigor and range of the IB curriculum. The International Baccalaureate organization touts its diploma as “a passport to higher education.” Universities “welcome the unique characteristics of the IB Diploma Programme students and recognize the way in which the Programme helps to prepare students for university-level education. IB students routinely gain admission to some of the best-known universities in the world. Most of these institutions have established recognition policies for the IB Diploma” (www.ibo.org). In general, high marks (5, 6, 7) on an HL course earn advanced standing or credit for entering university students. Some universities and colleges also grant advanced standing or credit for high marks on SL courses.
|2014 - 2015|
Group 1: English
English Language and Literature HL
English Language and Literature SL
Group 2: Second Language
French/Mandarin ab initio
Group 3: Individuals and Societies
History of the Americas HL
Group 4: Sciences
Group 5: Mathematics
Math Studies SL
Group 6: The Arts
Visual Arts SL
Visual Arts HL
Frequently Asked Questions
| What is the mission of the International Baccalaureate?|
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
|How many IB courses does a student take?|
Students seeking the IB Diploma take six subject courses that extend through the junior and senior years. Three courses are at the Higher Level (HL); three courses are at the Standard Level (SL). Students not seeking the IB Diploma may elect to take individual IB courses and earn course certificates.
|What are IB external assessments?|
IB external assessments are exams — written, oral, portfolio — that are completed at Cheshire Academy and sent to outside examiners for grading.
|What are IB internal assessments?|
IB internal assessments are exams — written, oral, portfolio — that occur during the regular school year and are graded by Cheshire Academy IB teachers.
|What are the additional requirements of an IB Diploma besides the courses?|
A full IB Diploma Programme student completes the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) course, an Extended Essay, and a Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement. The ToK is a 100-hour course attended over a period of two years. The Extended Essay is a research paper of 4,000 words started in the spring of the junior year and completed in the fall of the senior year. Students complete the CAS requirement during the two-year period of their IB Programme.
|What are the requirements for IB teachers?|
All IB teachers are experienced instructors who regularly participate in professional development that focuses on the IB curriculum and pedagogy.
|What is the difference between an HL course and an SL course?|
Higher Level courses require more classroom hours and include certain units of study that are not included in a Standard Level course. In general, HL courses require greater depth of study within particular disciplines.
|What type of student does well in the IB Programme?|
We anticipate that many Cheshire Academy students will thrive in the IB Programme. Qualities that bode well for curricular success include open-mindedness, dedication to task, intellectual curiosity, good communication skills, and capacity for thoughtful introspection and reflection.
|When are the final IB grades available?|
Final IB grades are released in early July of each year.
|When do IB external written assessments take place?|
External assessments occur during May of the senior year.