International Baccalaureate

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Logo of the International Baccalaureate.
The International Baccalaureate, formerly the International Baccalaureate Organization, is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and founded in 1968.[1][2] IB offers four educational programs for children aged 3–19.[3]

The organization's name and logo were changed in 2007 to reflect a reorganization. Consequently, "IB" can refer to the organization itself, any of the four programs, or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the diploma program.[4]

Marie-Thérèse Maurette[5] created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Program in 1948 when she wrote Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace?, a handbook for United Nationsite.[6] In the mid-1960s, a group of teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).[7] by Peter Nehr, International Baccalaureate Africa, Europe and Middle-East (IBAEM) was established in 1986,[8] and International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific (IBAP) established during the same period.[9]

The IB Middle Years Program adheres to the study of eight subject areas and was developed and piloted in the mid-1990s. Within five years 51 countries had MYP schools.[10] The IB Primary Years Program was piloted in 1996 in thirty primary schools on different continents, and the first PYP school was authorized in 1997, with as many as 87 authorized schools in 43 countries within five years.[11] The newest offering from the IB, the IB Career-related Certificate is specially designed for students of ages 16 to 19 who want to engage in career-related learning.

Diploma Program curriculum outline[edit]

Extended essay[edit]

The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, culminating in a 4,000-word paper. As a required component, it provides:

  • practical preparation for the kinds of undergraduate research required at the tertiary level
  • an opportunity for students to engage in an in-depth study of a topic of interest within a chosen subject. The subject can come from any of the six areas of knowledge.

Emphasis is placed on the research process:

  • formulating an appropriate research question
  • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
  • communicating ideas
  • developing an argument.

Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.

Students are supported throughout the process with advice and guidance from a supervisor (usually a teacher at the school).

Theory of knowledge[edit]

Theory of knowledge is a compulsory subject for all IB diploma students. It intends to give students a broader understanding of the interactions between their different school subjects as well as creating greater open-mindedness among students. It is based on a system of ways of knowing and areas of knowledge, each of which is discussed in detail. The 2013 curriculum update adds four new ways of knowing and two new areas of knowledge, which will start with the Fall 2013 semester (these additions are indicated with an asterisk). However, teachers will still choose four ways of knowing along with six areas of knowledge to focus on over the two years.

Ways of knowing:

  • Sense perception
  • Reasoning
  • Language
  • Emotion
  • Intuition*
  • Imagination*
  • Faith*
  • Memory*

Areas of knowledge:

  • Natural sciences
  • Human sciences
  • Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Ethics
  • History
  • Religious Knowledge Systems*
  • Indigenous Knowledge Systems*

Students are assessed through an oral presentation and a 1200-1600 word essay. The final score, together with the extended essay, influences the 3 additional points of the overall 45 possible total score.

Middle Years Program curriculum outline[edit]

Three fundamental concepts

  • Holistic learning
  • Intercultural awareness
  • Communication

Five areas of interaction

  • Approaches to learning
  • Community and service
  • Human ingenuity
  • Health and social education
  • Environments

Subject areas

  • Language A
  • Language B
  • Mathematics
  • Humanities
  • Arts
  • Sciences
  • Physical education
  • Technology

Culminating activity for schools offering a 4 - 5 year program

  • Personal project[12]

Primary Years Program curriculum outline[edit]

Six transdisciplinary themes

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Six subject areas

  • Language
  • Social studies
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Science
  • Personal, social and physical education

Five essential elements

  • Concepts
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Action

The curriculum is expressed in three ways

  • The written curriculum
  • The taught curriculum
  • The assessed curriculum


The IB Learner Profile[edit]

The IB Learner Profile is as follows:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

All four programs (PYP, MYP, DP and IBCC) use the IB learner profile.


  1. "IB headquarters." International Baccalaureate. Retrieved on 25 September 2009.
  2. "Overview of the International Baccalaureate Organization". Retrieved 2006-12-07. 
  3. "Three Programmes at a Glance". Retrieved July 15, 2009. 
  4. "IB Identity Announcement". Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  5. Marie-Thérèse Maurette
  6. "Biennial Conference of IB Nordic Schools". p. 7. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  7. Elisabeth Fox (2001). "The Emergence of the International Baccalaureate as an Impetus to Curriculum Reform". In Mary Hayden and Jeff Thompson. International Education: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 141. ISBN 9780749436162. 
  8. Peterson, p. 267
  9. Peterson, p. 265
  10. Peterson, p. 243
  11. Peterson, p. 246
  12. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme". International Baccalaureate Organization 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  13. "International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme". International Baccalaureate Organization 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2012.