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General Information and FAQ about the IB Program

  1. What is the IB program?
  2. What kind of IB program can I choose?
  3. Will I have to take Alberta Education Diploma Exams if I take IB?
  4. What is the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and Service Requirements?
  5. How is student work assessed?
  6. What are the examinations like?
  7. How do I earn an IB Diploma or an IB Certificate?
  8. What are support services that are available to IB students?
  9. What are the IB courses offered at Sir Winston Churchill?
  10. Are there any additional costs to taking IB?
  11. What type of student should consider taking the IB Program?
  12. What questions should I ask myself before enrolling in IB?
  13. If I change my mind later, can I withdraw and take a regular courseload?
  14. Other FAQ

What is the International Baccalaureate Program?

The International Baccalaureate Program is a rigorous, academically challenging two-year course of studies primarily aimed at students aged 16 to 19.  This programme is designed to develop student potential within a holistic approach, thus emphasizing all aspects of learning and becoming a life long learner.  Academic challenge is combined with athletic, creative, and volunteer involvement.

Even though the credentials students receive for completing the IB Programme are impressive and often extrinsically useful, the most important aspect of this programme is the actual EXPERIENCE of participating in an international community.  It is the “journey” through this programme which is most helpful – a “journey” which does not just provide concrete, academic knowledge, but also one which helps provide self-awareness, confidence without arrogance and tolerance and open mindedness.

This programme is suitably designed not just for an “elite” group of learners but also for anyone who has enthusiasm, determination, desire, and interest in learning itself.  “Learning for the sake and enjoyment of learning!”

IB is a non-profit educational institution based in Geneva and Cardiff.

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What kind of IB program can I choose?

Students have two candidacy options in IB: Diploma Program or Diploma Course Program.

Diploma Course Program

Students must take a minimum of two IB courses, plus be involved in CAS activities and ToK.

As part of each course in May, students will write challenging IB exams.

Diploma Program

Students take Diploma Program - all 6 subjects are taken within the IB programme – i.e. Social Studies, Science, Math, English, Second Language, Computer Science or Chemistry or Art/Design.). In addition, students will complete Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and CAS (creative, action or service activities).

Possible Routes to an IB Diploma at Sir Winston Churchill High School

A

 

- English Litureature HL
- French SL, ab initio, German IB ab initio, Spanish ab initio, Mandarin SL*, Cantonese SL* or Mandarin ab initio*
- World History HL
- Biology SL or Physics SL
- Chemistry HL
- Math SL (or Math HL only for Chinese B students due to timetable restrictions)
B - English Literature HL
- Mandarin SL*, Cantonese SL* or Mandarin ab initio*
- World History HL
- Business Management SL
- Chemistry HL
- Math SL or Math HL
C - English Litureature HL
- French SL, ab initio, German IB ab initio, Spanish ab initio, Mandarin SL*, Cantonese SL* or Mandarin ab initio*
- World History HL
- Biology SL or Physics SL
- Computer Science HL
- Math SL(or Math HL only for Chinese B students due to timetable restrictions)
D - English Literature HL
- Mandarin SL*, Cantonese SL* or Mandarin ab initio*
- World History HL
- Biology SL or Physics SL or Chemistry HL
- Computer Science HL
- Math SL

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What are Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL) courses? What is the difference?

Higher Level courses are an in-depth two year study of a particular subject. Standard Level courses are normally a one year study that does not go into the depth or detail of a HL. Check to see which ones are offered with the IB coordinator at Sir Winston Churchill.

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What is the difference between the IB Diploma Program and IB Diploma Course Program?

IB may be taken as a Diploma Program – all 6 subjects are taken within the IB programme – i.e. Social Studies, Science, Math, English, Second Language, Computer Science or Chemistry or Art/Design.

IB may be taken as a Diploma Course Program – a student must take and complete a minimum of two (2) IB courses and CAS (Community, Activity and Service programme) and ToK (Theory of Knowledge)

Second Languages option may be to enroll the student in a Language A1 ST (SL).  This means the student must be able to complete a world literature study in this language.  This is through special permission only from IB and necessitates the completion of appropriate forms 17 months in advance.  Therefore, this must be done with the IB Coordinator no later than October of the student’s Grade 10 year.  Not all languages are offered through this programme – therefore, consultation with the IB Coordinator is essential when considering this option.  This Second Languages option is only available to Diploma Program students.

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Will I have to take Alberta Education Diploma Exams if I take IB?

YES. If the subject you are taking in IB has a Diploma exam, then you must also write that exam in January and/or June (depending on the semester you take the course). All IB students will complete their Alberta Curriculum requirements concurrently with their IB courses.

IB students are not disadvantaged for choosing the IB Programme.  Grades will be adjusted when and where possible.

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What is the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and Service Requirements?

A Diploma Program student must also, beginning in the second semester of Grade 11 and completing by the end of Grade 12, enroll in Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS Programmes.  These will be organized through the IB Coordinator.

Extended Essay – is an independent research paper undertaken by the student in any area of study they so desire in consultation with a staff member.

Theory of Knowledge – is an investigatory study into the question of knowledge – how we know?  What we know?  Factors, which influence our knowledge? This is introduced in a one term course in grade 11.  

C.A.S. – Creativity, Activity, and Service – is an expectation of all IB students.  Creativity entails an appreciation for aesthetic aspects of life through involvement in the arts.  Activity requires participation in group activities such as intramurals, sports, scouts, guides, or similar endeavours.  Service requires students to assist or initiate programs, which are helpful to others, giving something back to their community.  Volunteer activities are also important here.

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How is student work assessed?

An essential element of IB assessment is that standards are the same worldwide.

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What are the examinations like?

Standard level subjects will be examined in May, near the end of the Grade 11 year.  All other subjects will be examined in May of the Grade 12 year.

Examiners appointed by the International Panel of Examiners carry out assessment of scripts.  Over the range of six subjects a student will encounter a variety of examination techniques – essays, multiple choice tests, short answer papers, cassette orals, face-to-face orals and analysis of documents.  These methods of assessment, besides providing an appropriate means for determining a candidate’s knowledge and capability, also offer experience for the kinds of evaluation techniques used at institutes of higher education.

All examinations are graded on a 1-7 scale:

1 – very poor

4 – satisfactory

7 – excellent

2 – poor

5 – good

 

3 – mediocre  

6 – very good

 

Theory of Knowledge – coursework and Extended Essays are also assessed by IB-appointed examiners.  For TOK, sample work is submitted to moderators who determine if the marks assigned at the schools meet IB standards.  For excellent work the candidate is awarded a bonus point, which is added to the accumulated marks achieved on the examinations.

Extended Essays – are assessed on a three-point scale.  Excellent work is given two bonus points and very good assignments one bonus point.  Satisfactory achievement sees no change in the overall score given to a Diploma candidate.

A combined mark for Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay will be awarded.  The maximum is 3 bonus points.

The Maximum score that can be achieved is 45 points.  This would be accomplished by obtaining a “7” on each examination and being awarded maximum bonus points in Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay.

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How do I earn an IB Diploma or an IB Certificate?

The Diploma Course Program

Students must take a minimum of two IB courses, plus be involved in CAS activities and ToK. As part of each course in May, students will write challenging IB exams.

The Diploma Program

Students take Diploma Program (in Grade 11 and 12, all courses are in IB). In addition, students will complete Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and CAS (creative, activity or service activities).

The Diploma will be awarded to candidates whose total score, including any bonus or penalty points (TOK and Extended Essay) reaches or exceeds 24 points and does not contain any of the following conditions:

Certificates will be awarded if the candidate achieves a ‘3’ or better on the examinations that are written.

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What are support services that are available to IB students?

Sir Winston Churchill High School provides a wide range of support services for IB students who require assistance.  These are offered by the Guidance Department and include the following:

However, beyond the above, IB requires student commitment and strong parental support.  Once in IB, students are not allowed to withdraw.  Therefore, it is important to think about the decision to participate in this programme through carefully weighing both immediate and long-term goals.

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The IB course list offered at Sir Winston Churchill

The following courses are offered within our IB Programme:

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Are there any additional costs to taking IB?

Students will be responsible for: examination and registration fees, the external assessment of their Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge essays, plus a mailing fee. In some courses like IB Art, there are nominal supply costs.

Fees for IB are paid at time of registration for Grade 11 and Grade 12 students and are established by the International Baccalaureate Organisation yearly.  Average costs over two years for full Diploma students is approximately $1700.00. 

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What type of student should consider taking the IB Program?

The International Baccalaureate Programme is recognized worldwide as comprising a demanding academic syllabus.  Students who are likely to find many of the courses in high school to be relatively easy should consider this program.  It may also appeal to parents of students who want their children to be challenged by courses that are more demanding than those they have experienced so far.

IB students are:

Success in this programme will depend on the student’s ability to:

  1. handle a demanding workload at a fairly quick pace
  2. work to understand concepts and their development rather than just memorize
  3. learn to become an independent, self-disciplined student
  4. communicate honestly with teachers and counsellors

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What questions should I ask myself before enrolling in IB?

When considering the International Baccalaureate one should ponder the following:

If you can answer YES to all these questions, then efforts should be made to enter the International Baccalaureate Programme.

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If I change my mind later, can I withdraw and take a regular courseload?

This is HIGHLY discouraged and often refused. Remember that by accepting a spot in IB, you have taken one away from someone else. CONSIDER VERY CAREFULLY whether IB is right for you. If students accept placement in IB they will be expected to fulfill their commitment to the program not withstanding unforeseen circumstances.  Withdrawal from the program will be granted only with IB Coordinator's consent and/or a medical certificate.

Again, please consider whether IB is right for you BEFORE you apply.

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Other FAQ

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