What is the IB DP Program?

Established in 1968, the international Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) was the first programme offered by the IB and is taught to students aged 16 – 19.

The DP was established to provide students with a balanced education, facilitate geographic and cultural mobility and to promote international understanding.

Currently, there are over 3,182 schools offering the DP around the world.

Through the DP, schools are able to develop students who:

  • have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge
  • flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
  • study at least two languages
  • excel in traditional academic subjects
  • explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique theory of knowledge course.

Why do the DP?

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is recognized and respected by the world’s leading universities, and evidence suggests that higher rates of DP students go on to university and higher education study than non-IB students.

DP students apply to more than 3,300 higher education institutions each year, in close to 90 countries.

Through the DP, schools are able to develop students who:

  • have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge
  • flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
  • study at least two languages
  • excel in traditional academic subjects
  • explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique Theory of Knowledge

International research shows that there are many benefits to choosing DP over other 16-19 curricula. For example:

  • DP students are better able than their peers to cope with demanding workloads, manage their time and meet the expectations placed on them
  • Analysis of DP students in Canada, the UK and the USA found that the DP’s extended essay improves students’ approach to learning in higher education
  • 72% of students taking the DP in China attend one of the world’s top 500 universities.

This information is taken from the International Baccalaureate website (ibo.org). Use this link for more evidence based information on the value of studying the DP.

What is the DP Curriculum?

The Diploma Programme Curriculum is made up of the DP Core and six subject groups.

Students choose courses from the following subject groups: language and literature; language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics; and the arts.

Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individual and societies, or language course, instead of a course in the arts.

Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level.

Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level.
This information is taken from the International Baccalaureate website (ibo.org). Use this link for more information on the DP curriculum.

What is the DP Core?

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

The three core elements are:

  • Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.

As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions.

The most central of these is ‘How do we know?’, while other questions include:

  • What counts as evidence for X?
  • How do we judge which is the best model of Y?
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world?

 

  • The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

The extended essay provides:

  • practical preparation for undergraduate research
  • an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, which is also related to one of the student’s six DP subjects.

 

  • Creativity, activity, service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.

The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

  • Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
  • Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP.
  • Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

This information is taken from the International Baccalaureate website (ibo.org). Use this link for more information on the DP Core.

How is IB DP Assessed?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the Diploma Programme courses.

DP assessment procedures measure the extent to which students have mastered advanced academic skills in fulfilling these goals, for example:

  • analysing and presenting information
  • evaluating and constructing arguments
  • solving problems creatively.

Basic skills are also assessed, including:

  • retaining knowledge
  • understanding key concepts
  • applying standard methods.

In addition to academic skills, DP assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills, wherever appropriate.

Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student’s position in the overall rank order.

The IB uses both external and internal assessment in the DP.

External assessment

Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability.

They include:

  • essays
  • structured problems
  • short-response questions
  • data-response questions
  • text-response questions
  • case-study questions
  • multiple-choice questions – though these are rarely used.

Internal assessment

Teacher assessment is also used for most courses. This includes:

  • oral work in languages
  • fieldwork in geography
  • laboratory work in the sciences
  • investigations in mathematics
  • artistic performances.

 

This information is taken from the International Baccalaureate website (ibo.org). Use this link for more information about assessment in the DP.

 

What are the IB DP Subject choices at ISB?

Click here to learn more.