What is it?
The International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme takes place during the 11th and 12th grades of high school. Each student in the IB® DP engages in three components that are at the core of the program: a 4,000-word extended essay that is written over a year, a Theory of Knowledge course that encourages students to reflect critically on their learning and draw connections between what they have learned in each of their courses, and a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) program that encourages students to be involved in the community and pursue their extracurricular interests. Beyond these three core components, students take six classes from six different subject groups: Language and Literature, Second Language Acquisition, Human Sciences, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and the Arts. These courses last two years each, and may be taken at Standard Level or, for more rigor, Higher Level.
Why do it?
Upon graduation, students may receive the prestigious IB® Diploma. Bilingual students at the International School of Los Angeles even have the opportunity to achieve the IB® Bilingual Diploma. In the Class of 2019, 67% of IB® Diploma awardees earned a Bilingual Diploma. Compared with the 3% of US students who achieved the Bilingual Diploma, this is clearly a point of difference for our school.
The IB® Diploma is highly regarded by universities around the world, many of which offer course credit for IB subjects taken, thus making the IB a valuable program for the sake of university admission. Beyond this obvious benefit, students also cultivate excellent self-management skills through the program. As students must engage in many long-term projects, often overlapping with each other, students develop long-term, detailed planning skills that will help them to engage in long-term projects both at university and in life beyond. Because students must constantly review what they have learned over two years and solidify that knowledge, they also develop metacognitive thinking skills about what they know and generate the ability to acquire what is unknown independently. The capacity to evaluate oneself and then improve oneself autonomously is of tremendous value in all aspects of life and gives one the confidence and the ability to tackle any difficulty one may encounter. Thus, the IB Diploma Programme is not only an academically rewarding course of study that can help students prepare for and be admitted into the most demanding universities, but it gives students the skills to become proficient and successful adults as well.