International Baccalaureate

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International Baccalaureate
IB logo
International Baccalaureate logo
Formation 1968
Formerly called
International Baccalaureate Organization

The International Baccalaureate, formerly known as The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland founded in 1968.[1][2] IB offers four educational programmes for children aged 3–19.[3] The organization's name and logo were changed in 2007 to reflect a reorganisation. Consequently, "IB" can refer to the organisation itself, any of the four programmes, or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the programme.[4]

Marie-Thérèse Maurette[5] created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) in 1948 when she wrote 'Educational Techniques for peace. Do they exist?'.[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 (IB).[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 Programme (MYP) 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 Programme (PYP) was piloted in 1996 in thirty primary schools on different continents, and the first PYP school was authorised in 1997,[11] with as many as 87 authorised schools in 43 countries within five years.[12] The newest offering from the IB, the IB Career-related Programme (formerly IB Career-related Certificate[13]) is designed for students of ages 16 to 19 who want to engage in career-related learning. The IB introduced its newly reviewed MYP for first teaching in September 2014.[14]

Career-related Programme curriculum outline[edit]

Three-part framework[15]

  • Study of at least two Diploma Programme courses
  • Career-related studies (terminology differs across the world - vocational, professional, technical qualifications and other definitions).
  • CP core

CP Core[edit]

  • Approaches to learning (ATL) course
  • Community and service
  • Reflective project
  • Language development

Middle Years Programme 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 Acquisition
  • Language and Literature
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Mathematics
  • Design
  • Arts
  • Sciences
  • Physical and Health Education

Culminating activity for schools offering a 4- to 5-year program

  • Personal project and Community Project[16]

Primary Years Programme 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 organise 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:[18]

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

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


The International Baccalaureate (IB) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.—International Baccalaureate Mission Statement[19]

The IB is a not-for-profit educational foundation. The IB maintains its Foundation Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The Assessment Centre is located in Cardiff, Wales and the curriculum centre moved in 2011 to The Hague, Netherlands. Three Global Centres have been opened: Bethesda Maryland, United States, Singapore and The Hague, Netherlands.

The organisation is divided into three regional centres: IB Africa, Europe and Middle East (IBAEM), administered from The Hague; IB Americas (IBA), administered from Bethesda and Buenos Aires, Argentina; and IB Asia-Pacific (IBAP), administered from Singapore.[20]

Sub-regional associations "are groups formed by and for IB school practitioners to assist IB schools, teachers and students in their communities—from implementing IB programmes to providing a forum for dialogue."[21] There are currently fifty-six (56) sub-regional associations, including:

  • fifteen (15) in the IB Africa, Europe and Middle East (IBAEM) region;[22]
  • thirty-six (36) in the IB Americas (IBA) region;[23] and
  • five in the IB Asia Pacific (IBAP) region.[24]

In 2003, the IB established the IB Fund, incorporated in the United States, for the purpose of enhancing fundraising and keeping funds raised separate from operational funds.[25] In 2004, the IB approved a strategic plan to "ensure that programmes and services are of the highest quality" and "to provide access to people who are socio-economically disadvantaged."[26] In 2010 the strategic plan was updated after substantial consultation. The vision for the next 5 years was to more consciously establish the IB as a leader in international education and the Board outlined a vision and four strategic goals with key strategic objective.[27]

Access remains fundamental to the mission of the IB and a variety of initiatives and projects are helping to take it forward in Ecuador, Poland, Romania, Czech republic, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Spain, Malaysia, and Japan[28]

The United States has the largest number of IB programmes (1,665 out of 4,502) offered in both private and public schools.[29]

The IB has consultative status as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has collaborative relationships with the Council of Europe and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).[30]


The IB governance is composed of an IB Board of Governors and six committees (access and advancement, audit, education, finance, human resources and governance). The Board of Governors appoints the Director general, sets the strategic direction of the organisation, adopts a mission statement, makes policy, oversees the IB's financial management, and ensures autonomy and integrity of the IB Diploma Programme examinations and other student assessment. The structure of its different committees are based on respect, representation and collaboration.[31]

The Board of Governors can comprise between 15 and 25 members. Members are elected by the Board on the recommendation of the governance committee, and from nominations presented from the Heads Council, Regional Councils and the Board. To encourage diversity of gender, culture and geography, there are only three ex officio positions: Director general (non-voting), the chair of the Examining Board and the chair of the Heads Council.[32]


Countries with more than 40 schools teaching IB programmes. (as of 1 Dec 2014)[33]
Country Primary Middle Diploma Schools
USA 444 544 830 1,575
Canada 74 166 156 348
Australia 95 41 63 155
Ecuador 7 8 150 150
United Kingdom 13 12 134 142
India 51 11 100 113
Mexico 53 35 65 105
China 32 24 67 82
Spain 8 10 74 76
Germany 23 9 60 64
Hong Kong 29 9 29 53
Turkey 19 9 33 49
Argentina 7 2 47 48
Switzerland 18 11 41 48
Indonesia 28 13 26 44
Poland 6 7 37 42
Total schools 1,207 1,120 2,642 3,966
Countries 104 97 140 147

The IB Diploma Programme was described as "a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world" when it was featured in the December 18, 2006, edition of Time titled "How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century".[34] The IBDP was also featured in the summer 2002 edition of American Educator, where Robert Rothman described it as "a good example of an effective, instructionally sound, exam-based system."[35] In 2006, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI),[36] President George W. Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings presented a plan for the expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate mathematics and science courses, with the goal of increasing the number of AP and IB teachers and the number of students taking AP and IB exams, as well as tripling the number of students passing those exams.[36] Howard Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at Harvard University, said that the IBDP curriculum is "less parochial than most American efforts" and helps students "think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking."[37]

In 2006 government ministers in the United Kingdom provided funding so that "every local authority in England could have at least one centre offering sixth-formers the chance to do the IB."[38] In 2008, due to the devaluing of the A-Levels and an increase in the number of students taking the IB exams, then-Children's Secretary Ed Balls abandoned a "flagship Tony Blair pledge to allow children in all areas to study IB." Fears of a "two-tier" education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor emerged as the growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges.[39]

In the United States the IBDP has been labeled Marxist, foreign, globalist, and anti-American. These accusations resulted in a 2006 attempt to eliminate it from a public school in Pittsburgh, PA.[40][41] Some schools in the United States have eliminated the IBDP due to budgetary reasons and low student participation.[42][43] In Utah in 2008, funding for the IBDP was reduced from $300,000 to $100,000 after State Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, "First, I have never espoused eliminating IB ...I don't want to create 'world citizens' nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world."[44][45] But not everyone agrees and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago believes IB needs to be an option for students in Chicago Public Schools.[46] Elizabeth Brackett reports on the IB in Chicago.[47] The City of Miami Beach Commission entered into an education compact with Miami-Dade County Public Schools with one of the initiatives of the compact to implement the IB program throughout Miami Beach feeder schools.[48] Students in the United States also complain about the rigorous and challenging classes that the IB program offers. Many students complain about the long hours they have to stay up and how the classes are very challenging. IB students in America joke about how the IB program takes away their lives and their freedoms and forces them into a monotone work atmosphere. Cases of depression are also contributed by the IB program.[49]

In other parts of the world IB programs has been well received. In 2013 The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the IB announced a plan that will expand the opportunities for Japanese students to complete the IB curriculum in Japanese.[50] In Malaysia a project has been developed in response to interest expressed by the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MoE) in working with the IB to implement the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) in select secondary state schools.[51] The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) signed an agreement with the IB in efforts to widen the options offered for parents and to meet the different needs of students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).[52] In April 2014 The King Faisal Foundation in Saudi Arabia and the IB signed a memorandum of understanding to develop IB programs, including the IBDP, in up to 40 primary and secondary schools, with the goal of developing these schools as centres of excellence as IB World Schools.[53] Internationally the IB continues to be recognised as innovative. In 2014 The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) announced the IB Career-related Certificate as a finalist for their annual WISE Awards.[54]

Allegations of plagiarism[edit]

After Jeffrey Beard, a past director-general of International Baccalaureate, gave a talk on "Education for a Better World" on 5 August 2010 at the Chautauqua Institution in New York State, the institution issued a statement the next day in which it expressed "genuine disappointment" with the talk, noting that it "drew heavily upon and quoted extensively from a speech given earlier in the year by Sir Ken Robinson", while adding that he "neglected to cite his source or reveal the quotations for what they were".[55] Ken Robinson is a renowned British educationist who lives in the United States. Through an IB spokesperson, Beard admitted that "he could have been more explicit about the sources and authors that inspired him for the content of this speech".[55] In a letter sent to heads of schools that offer the IB curricula, he described this as an "unfortunate incident" due to an "oversight".[56]

In an apparently unrelated development, the Times Educational Supplement revealed on 8 October 2010, that significant portions of one of IB's marking guides for the IB Diploma Programme was lifted wholesale from unattributed websites, including Wikipedia.[57] In a letter to schools, IB director-general Beard wrote: "We have and always will take immediate and appropriate action when we discover any violation of our policies or standards." The examiner responsible for the plagiarism resigned from the examination board five weeks after the issue came to light.[58]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IB headquarters." International Baccalaureate. Retrieved on 25 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Overview of the International Baccalaureate Organization". Retrieved 7 December 2006. 
  3. ^ "Three Programmes at a Glance". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  4. ^ "IB Identity Announcement". Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "George Walker". 
  6. ^ "UNESCO Resources Publications". Retrieved 8 Jan 2015. 
  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. ^ "International Baccalaureate". 
  12. ^ Peterson, p. 246
  13. ^
  14. ^ "IB Middle Years Programme at a glance". 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "IB Middle Years Programme curriculum". 
  17. ^ "International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme". International Baccalaureate Organization 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  18. ^ IB Learner Profile
  19. ^ "IB Learner Profile". IB Learner Profile Booklet. November 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  20. ^ "IB Global Centres". Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Associations of IB Schools". Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "world school associations". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "Associations". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "IB Asia Pacific region". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  25. ^ "The president's view on Fundraising and the strategic plan". IB World (International Baccalaureate Organization) 40: 8. August 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "IBO strategic plan approved". IB World (International Baccalaureate Organization) 40: 2. August 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  27. ^ Strategic plan. Retrieved on 17 August 2013.
  28. ^ "IB Annual Review". Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  29. ^ "Find an IB World School". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "Governments". Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  31. ^ "Governance Structure". Retrieved 17 July 2009. 
  32. ^ "The IB Board of Governors". Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  33. ^ "International Baccalaureate". 
  34. ^ Wallis, Claudia (10 December 2006). "How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century". Time. Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  35. ^ Rothman, Robert (Summer 2002). "A test worth teaching to". American Educator. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  36. ^ a b "Expanding the Advanced Placement Initiative Program". US Department of Education. February 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  37. ^ Gross, Jane (21 June 2003). "Diploma for the 'Top of the Top'; International Baccalaureate Gains Favor in Region". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  38. ^ Shepard, Jessica (10 February 2009). "Leap from Cardiff to Amsterdam for Baccalaureate". Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  39. ^ Clark, Laura (19 May 2009). "Fears of 'two-tier' education system as pupils taking rival exam to A-levels rise by 40%". Daily MailOnline. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  40. ^ Ward, Paula Reed (16 February 2006). "Cutting international program embroils Upper St. Clair board in controversy". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 6 June 2009. [dead link]
  41. ^ Walters, Joanna (14 March 2006). "All American Trouble". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  42. ^ Kranhert III, John (21 March 2009). "Pinecrest Drops IB Program". The Pilot. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  43. ^ Martindale, Scott (12 March 2008). "175 Saddleback Valley Unified teachers face layoffs". OCRegister. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  44. ^ Dayton, Margaret (21 May 2008). "The Senate Site". Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  45. ^ "League of Women Voters of Utah". 28 February 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  46. ^ "Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett challenge perceptions of CPS". Chicago Tribune. 
  47. ^ "International Baccalaureate Program". Chicago Tonight - WTTW. 
  48. ^ "Official Website - City of Miami Beach". 
  49. ^
  50. ^ "Japanese Students Obtain Greater Opportunities to Pursue an IB Education". 
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Faisal Foundation, IBO sign accord". 
  54. ^ "Introduction". 
  55. ^ a b William Stewart (17 September 2010). "Caught red-handed: IB boss plagiarising". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  56. ^ William Stewart (8 October 2010). "IB chief pleads 'oversight' led to plagiarisation speech". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  57. ^ William Stewart (10 October 2010). "IB lifted exam marking guides from Wikipedia". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  58. ^ William Stewart (15 October 2010). "IB examiner stayed in post after Wiki plagiarism revealed". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 

External links[edit]