An International Baccalaureate® World School
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) programme aims to do more than other curricula by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed. We strive to develop students who will build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect.
THE IB PROGRAMME IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CURRICULA BECAUSE IT:
- encourages students of all ages to think critically and challenge assumptions
- develops independently of government and national systems, incorporating quality practice from research and our global community
- encourages students of all ages to consider both local and global contexts
- develops multilingual students.
WHAT IS IB?
The International Baccalaureate® Programme is an internationally consistent, extensively developed global education program held in high regard by colleges and universities all over the world. The IB is known for its rigor and explicit emphasis on creativity, synthesis, critical thinking and deep understanding.
In a collection of essays by Richard Dawkins entitled Science in the Soul, the author reflects on his excellent early education. He recalls teachers who instilled a sense of wonder about the world and enthusiasm for learning and set him on a path to academic and professional excellence. Dawkins learned from teachers who believed that “what matters is not the facts but how you discover and think about them: education in the true sense, very different from today’s assessment-mad exam culture.” This quote could be used to describe the central approach of the IB, and, if you continue reading on this site, you will discover it also expresses the essence of what teachers at Cheshire Academy love about the IB.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AP AND IB?
It is well known that students aspiring to enroll in competitive colleges and universities focus on taking a large number of advanced placement (AP) courses in high school, even as many colleges limit the amount of credit they are willing to give for high grades.
The AP trend has grown steadily in the US since the 1960s, the same time period when the international diplomatic community initiated the International Baccalaureate® Programme (IB). The IB is growing in the United States and all around the world. It is highly established and very well known all over Europe. While both programs offer rigorous courses, there are distinct and important differences between the AP and IB.
You can read below about some IB courses taught by Cheshire Academy teachers possessing experience with both AP and IB courses. There is a consistent theme in all IB courses: a careful and explicit focus on critical thinking and problem solving. Students learn adaptable critical thinking skills and are asked to apply them creatively, and teachers are encouraged to adopt best practices consistent with emerging brain science and modern educational research. There is decreased emphasis on “coverage” as that has normally been understood in high school education. The injunction to teach “critical thinking skills” has been much repeated in the educational world over the last 30 years; we think the IB Program contains a sophisticated and effective focus on this challenge. All students in the Diploma Programme must take three High Level (HL) courses and three Standard Level (SL) courses. The primary distinction between all HL and SL courses is the volume of work; in all other ways, they are the same.
WHEN AND WHERE DID IT START?
The IB program was initiated by the international diplomatic community in the 1960s and has grown consistently in all ways since then. The founders had a clear agenda: to create a consistent, rigorous program that would allow fluid student movement around the world and help promote international understanding and goodwill.
IS IT FOR EVERYONE?
Nearly all of the Academy’s students take one or more IB courses, which include internal assessments guided by detailed rubrics and sitting for an externally graded exam at the end of the course. The top level of the program is the IB Diploma Programme. This elective, two-year program is demanding. A candidate must take three high-level courses, three standard-level courses, and the Theory of Knowledge course.
The student must enroll in a second language. We offer French, Spanish and Mandarin. In addition, a candidate must write an extended essay on a self-chosen topic and do an extended community service project. Along with the course exams, a major essay in Theory of Knowledge and the extended essay are evaluated externally. We strongly encourage our most ambitious students to do the “Diploma Program.” Our general experience is that a “good” student with developed time management skills who is willing to work hard can thrive in this program, and a gifted student can find the level of challenge they need. We enter careful discussion with any new family about what is best for their student.
Patrick Brown '17
“I would consistently find my classes in the humanities informing the most logical way to communicate an idea in the sciences, and likewise, scientific investigation forming the basis of a research paper in history. The IB further provides opportunities for interdisciplinary studies that allow students to continue these experiences as far as they desire.”
“Since completing the Diploma, I have found myself very well-prepared for my first year at Yale. I believe my experience in the IB has shaped me as a critical thinker, and will continue to impact my life wherever life takes me next.”
Karl Garvy '13
“I was able to leave the football team with the highest GPA on the team and attribute much of this to the time management learned through the IB program. It was also great because I learned to think differently, which I attribute to the fantastic IB teachers I had at Cheshire Academy.
We were told to question everything, to figure out why things happened instead of just what happened, and to challenge our own preconceptions about the world around us. One of my favorite parts about the program was that the classroom embraced debate and promoted intellectual thinking. The IB program was not all good however and is not meant for everyone.”
“I would not be the person I am today, and would not be as successful and driven, if not for the IB program and its passionate educators.”
Nicolina Lamberti '14
Evan Solomon '15
“After graduating from CA, I have been fortunate to continue a similar method of schooling. I graduated from Fordham University in May 2017 cum laude as a double major in Philosophy and International Political Economy. The Jesuit tradition reinforced the same educational principles that I learned at Cheshire Academy, particularly through Fordham’s Core Curriculum of subjects all students must study. Taking Theory of Knowledge in high school exposed me to philosophy, a subject area I have not only studied academically but also extensively in my personal time. I have found the transition to college much easier for myself (and my friends who completed part or all of the IB program) than many of my classmates at Fordham. We were already used to meeting high expectations, managing commitments, and working hard. I would not have been as prepared for college if it wasn’t for the IB program.”
Rachel Wallace '16
Marissa Sisco '15
“My freshman year of college, each student was required to take a seminar course aimed at making sure everyone had sufficient reading and writing skills. Because of my IB courses, I was prepared for these classes and was one step ahead of the other students who did not have the opportunity to take these high level classes in high school. I am forever thankful for the impact the IB program had on me from the teachers, to the small classes, to my peers who were always supportive of me and the other students. The IB program brings students and teachers together creating a bond that carries with them throughout their future.”