Frequently Asked Questions
What is IB?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is comprehensive educational curriculum for children in grades pre-K through 12. The curriculum is continuous, but the programs can be taught separately or in sequence.
When was it started?
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) was founded in Switzerland in 1968 to provide a rigorous, consistent high school curriculum for the children of diplomats and others who frequently moved internationally. In the last 36 years, IB has expanded from the original Diploma Program (DP) to include the Middle Years (MYP) and Primary Years (PYP) Programs.
How does IB compare to other educational programs?
There is no other program that is so well-known or so highly regarded. In fact, the quality of education provided by
IB is so superb that 116 countries have instituted the programs in their schools. In the United States alone there are 400 IB schools, 24 of which are in New York State. New York is among the fastest growing IB states in our country.
What makes IB so unique?
IB programs focus on the “whole child.” That is, they put equal emphasis on helping children learn and grow academically, socially and physically. IB develops students who:
• Understand and enjoy the process of learning, independently and in cooperation with others.
• Gain knowledge and understanding, and prepare for further learning.
• Recognize that knowledge is interrelated.
• Learn to communicate in a variety of ways.
• Develop a sense of personal and cultural identity, and a respect for themselves and others.
• Are responsible and practice good citizenship.
• Learn about and understand issues that affect our health, the community and the environmentat the local, state, national and global levels.
What is the DP curriculum?
The DP curriculum is designed to give students a broad general education within a flexible framework so that students’ options can correspond as closely as possible to their personal areas of interest. The curriculum also emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills and an international awareness. Specifically, the DP curriculum includes six subject groups and three core elements: Theory of Knowledge, an extended essay and CAS (creativity, action and service).
What are the six subject groups?
• Foreign language – Spanish and French are currently offered
• Individuals and Societies – history, geography, economics, philosophy, psychology, social and cultural
anthropology, business and management, information technology
• Math and Computer Science
• The Arts
• Experimental Sciences – biology, chemistry, physics, environmental systems and design technology
At least three, but not more than four, of the six subjects are taken at a higher lever (HL), and the others at a standard level (SL). HL and SL courses represent 240 and 150 teaching hours respectively. As a frame of reference, current C-PP AP and Regents courses require 129 hours. This arrangement offers students the ability to explore some subjects in depth and some more broadly. In addition, four years of a foreign language are encouraged so that students become fluent and thoroughly knowledgeable in that language.
What is the Theory of Knowledge?
It is a required interdisciplinary course intended to stimulate students to reflect upon the knowledge and experience they have gained inside and outside the classroom. Composed almost entirely of questions, the Theory of Knowledge course prompts sudents’ awareness of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge and to recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world. Also, students should become aware of the interpretive nature of knowledge, including personal and ideological biases, regardless of whether these biases are ultimately retained, revised or rejected.
What is the Extended Essay?
The extended essay is an independent, self-directed research project that allows a student to engage in an in- depth study of a topic of interest. It is an important because it prepares students for the kind of research and writing they will be required to produce as college undergraduates. In completing the 4,000-word essay, students develop the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge. Throughout the process, they are supported and guided by a teacher.
What is the Creativity, Action, Service component of the DP curriculum?
CAS is a framework for learning and reflection that provides students with experiences designed to inspire confidence, determination and commitment, as well as to develop empathy and a willingness to help others. Creative and physical activities are particularly important for adolescents because they offer many positive opportunities for involvement and enjoyment at a time that can be stressful and uncertain for young people. The service element of CAS requires students to work with others in the community as a way to extend what is learned in the classroom and develop the ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with others.
What benefits does the DP offer students?
The IB Diploma is highly regarded by nearly 1,100 of the best colleges and universities in the world – not just Ivy League schools, but SUNY and others our students regularly attend. Therefore, students who earn IB diplomas
have a distinct advantage in the highly competitive college application process, and in their preparedness for success in higher education. Students who earn an IB diploma are eligible for an average of 30 semester hours of
college credit. If a student does not complete the requirements for an IB diploma, he or she can still earn college credits based upon individual IB exam scores. What is important to colleges is the rigor of a student’s coursework.
The IB curriculum represents the highest level of rigor of any high school program. It is a credential that proves beyond argument that a student ranks among the very best in the world.
What makes the program international?
IB programs exist in schools in 90 countries worldwide. Every spring, IB students around the world take identical exams on the same day in various subjects. These exams are sent to other parts of the world for grading. When a Kelvin student receives a score, it is based on an international standard. The IB curriculum encourages students to think globally. The literature course, for example, includes a unit on world literature. If possible, students could design a CAS project involving international aid.
Who makes a good IB student?
This is a person who likes school, enjoys learning, has good math, reading and writing skills, and is interested in getting the most out of high school. Out of the IB experience will come a person who has gained an understanding of the world and relationships between the people in it; skills to gain knowledge, with an appreciation of the limits of knowledge; both a content-based grasp of various academic areas, but also an ability to use the tools of the discipline to evaluate any new situation.
Is IB helpful for gaining admission to or credit in college?
Yes! Every IB course shown on a transcript is highly regarded by universities and colleges not only in Canada and the US but also around the world. IB is widely known as the most rigorous program available in high school. In addition, most colleges and universities offer credit for scores of 5 or above on Higher Level exams. Most students who return from college report that IB set them far ahead of their college contemporaries in time management, research, thinking, and writing skills.