The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers a unique balanced, multicultural and coherent two-year pre-university liberal arts program
that promotes international understanding, social responsibility, and flexible, independent learning. The IB incorporates the best elements of national systems without being based on any single one, and is designed for highly motivated secondary school students in Grade 11 and 12. Its goal, as laid out in the IB Learner Profile
, is to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop sound judgment, make wise choices, and respect others in the global community.
The IB is a highly-regarded university entrance qualification in the United States and abroad: as expected, our IB graduates experience increased acceptance rates
at highly competitive schools and receive advanced placement or college credit
in many institutions.
Since its creation in 1968, the IB Diploma Program has become a symbol of academic integrity and intellectual promise. Only schools officially authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization may offer the Diploma Program and present candidates for examination. Today, there are over 2,300 "World Schools" in 143 countries
that offer the IB at the High School level (103,000 candidates sat for the IB Diploma Program worldwide in 2010, representing a 56% increase compared to 2005), including over 700 high schools in the United States alone (52,000 candidates in 2009). We have a particularly long history of involvement with the IB: International introduced the Diploma Program in 1978
as we joined the ranks of the first hundred IB schools in the world.
The assessment of students combines two separate elements, both graded using clear objective criteria: during the two-year program, each student must first complete an independent research project in each one of their IB courses, which are graded by his/her own teachers and moderated by the IB: oral presentations, portfolios, historical investigations, lab reports, art works, etc. Finally, each student must sit for the IB examination in May of the Senior year, which comprises essays and document-based questions and is graded by outside examiners worldwide.
Students may design their own IB Diploma
by selecting six two-year courses from the subject groups below. They must also complete three core components which are central to the IB: the Extended Essay (a college-level research paper), the Theory of Knowledge course (a philosophy and epistemology course, and 150 of Creativity-Action-Service (community service, sports and arts). While some schools across the United States choose to offer only some of the IB courses, International is the only high school in San Francisco to offer the full IB curriculum
, with all three core requirements and six subjects of Diploma Program.
Over the course of the two-year program, students:
- Complete an Extended Essay, designed to acquaint students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
- Follow a Theory of Knowledge course (TOK), an introductory course of philosophy and epistemology which explores the nature of knowledge across disciplines.
- Participate in the Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) Program which encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work.
- Study six two-year courses taken from each of the groups below:
- Group 1: First Language (English)
- Group 2: Second Language (French, Chinese, Spanish, Italian or German)
- Group 3: Humanities (History, Geography, Business & Management, or Information Technology in a Global Society)
- Group 4: Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Environmental Systems and Societies)
- Group 5: Mathematics (Mathematics HL, Mathematics SL or Mathematics Studies SL)
- Group 6: Arts or Elective (Visual Arts, Music, Theater, Film, Economics, Chemistry, or a 3rd language
Students must select:
- Three (maximum four) of the six subjects to be studied at Higher Level (HL: 5 periods/week)
- Three (minimum two) of the six subjects to be studied at Standard Level (SL: 4 periods/week)
- HL courses require extensive research, reading or additional lab experience, and aligns with a student’s best course or strongest area of interest. SL courses have fewer assignments; however, they are still considered “honors” classes by university admissions standards.
Different levels of language are also offered, to fit the diverse needs of our students. However, no language is offered at a beginner's level in Grade 11. Some subjects, other than languages, may be taught and examined in English or in French. Students who are fluent in two or more languages may obtain the "Bilingual IB Diploma".
While both programs offer rigorous courses and college credits at many universities, the IB is increasingly considered superior to the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Program, by offering a homogeneous and structured curriculum with an international perspective and a strong emphasis on community service
. Moreover, the IB aims at developing critical thinking and independent research
(which constitutes 1/3 of the IB assessment), as opposed to simple memorization based on multiple-choice questionnaires (which constitute 1/3 of the AP assessment). According to The New York Times, “many schools that use both prefer the IB approach.
(…) I.B. students are ''more authentically educated'' than their A.P. counterparts, who use ''brute memory, not thinking'' to get through exams that are generally half multiple choice.” (The New York Times
, “Diploma for the Top of the Top”, June 21, 2003).
|International High School was the fourth school in the U.S. authorized to deliver the full IB Diploma Program, of 777 today.|
|More Information for Current Students|
View our Open House IB presentation
The IB Program at a glance
The IB Curriculum
The IB Learner Profile
COURSE SELECTION (login required):
Going into Grade 10 (by Feb.25):
Going into Grade 11 (by Feb.25):
IB REGISTRATION in Gr. 12 (by Oct.1):
Press articles about the IB:
- "Rethinking Advanced Placement", New York Times, January 7, 2011
- "International Program Catches On in U.S. Schools", New York Times, July 2, 2010
- "How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century", Time Magazine, December 10, 2006
- "Diploma for the Top of the Top", New York Times, June 21, 2003
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