International Baccalaureate

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International Baccalaureate
International Baccalaureate logo.jpg

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 organisation'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 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 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 Certificate is specially designed for students of ages 16 to 19 who want to engage in career-related learning. The IB is introducing its newly reviewed MYP for first teaching in September 2014.[13]

Diploma Programme curriculum outline[edit]

Main article: IB Diploma Programme

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 analyse, 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 (TOK)[edit]

Theory of knowledge (TOK) is a two year, compulsory subject for all IB diploma students. It aims to give students a broader understanding of the interconnectedness of different school subjects as well as creating greater open-mindedness among students and encouraging critical thinking. It is based on a system of ways of knowing (WOK) and areas of knowledge (AOK), each of which is discussed in detail.[14] The 2013 curriculum update added four new ways of knowing and two new areas of knowledge, which started with the Autumn 2013 semester (these additions are indicated with an asterisk). However, teachers 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 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 Socieities
  • Mathematics
  • Design
  • Arts
  • Sciences
  • Physical and Health Education

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

  • Personal project and Community Project[15]

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:[17]

  • 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 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[18]

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.[19]

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."[20]

  • There are fifteen in the IB Africa, Europe and Middle East region.[21]
  • There are thirty six sub-regional associations in the IB Americas region.[22]
  • There are five in the Asia Pacific region.[23]

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.[24] 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."[25] 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.[26]

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[27]

The United States has the largest number of IB programmes (1,665 out of 4,502) offered in both private and public schools.[28]

It 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).[29]


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.[30]

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.[31]


Countries with more than 40 schools teaching IB programmes[32]
Country Primary Middle Diploma Schools
USA 409 503 798 1,489
Canada 66 162 152 332
United Kingdom 13 11 149 156
Australia 91 41 63 151
India 48 11 93 107
Mexico 49 32 61 101
China 30 22 63 76
Spain 8 10 72 74
Germany 23 9 54 59
Ecuador 7 8 63 64
Argentina 7 2 48 49
Hong Kong 28 9 26 49
Switzerland 16 11 39 45
Sweden 10 9 32 41
Indonesia 28 13 22 40
Poland 6 7 35 41
Turkey 15 7 31 44
Total schools 1,124 1,054 2,466 3,715
Countries 100 93 140 146

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".[33] 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."[34] In 2006, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI),[35] 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.[35] 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."[36]

In the United Kingdom in 2006, government ministers provided funding so that "every local authority in England could have at least one centre offering sixth-formers the chance to do the IB."[37] 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.[38]

The IBDP, in the United States, has been accused in the past of being Marxist, foreign, globalist, and anti-American. These accusations in 2006 resulted in an attempt to eliminate it from a public school in Pittsburgh.[39][40] Some schools in the United States have eliminated the IBDP due to budgetary reasons and low student participation.[41][42] 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."[43][44] But not everyone agrees and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago believes IB needs to be an option for students in Chicago Public Schools.[45] Elizabeth Brackett reports on the IB in Chicago.[46] 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.[47]

In the rest of the world the IB has been well received with projects announced between the IB and The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan that will provide Japanese students greater possibilities to take up an IB education in Japanese.[48] 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 in Malaysia.[49] 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 UAE.[50] In April 2014 The King Faisal Foundation in Saudi Arabia and the IB signed a memorandum of understanding aiming to develop up to 40 primary and secondary schools in the Kingdom to become centres of excellence as IB World Schools including the provision of IB Diploma Programme.[51] Internationally the IB continues to be recognised as innovative and in 2014 The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) announced the IB Career-related Certificate as a finalist for their annual WISE Awards[52]

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".[53] 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".[53] In a letter sent to heads of schools that offer the IB curricula, he described this as an "unfortunate incident" due to an "oversight".[54]

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.[55] 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.[56]

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. ^ 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. ^
  12. ^ Peterson, p. 246
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Theory of knowledge—guide". Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme". International Baccalaureate Organization 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  17. ^ IB Learner Profile
  18. ^ "IB Learner Profile". IB Learner Profile Booklet. November 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "IB Global Centres". Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Associations of IB Schools". Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  21. ^ "world school associations". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "Associations". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "IB Asia Pacific region". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "The president's view on Fundraising and the strategic plan". IB World (International Baccalaureate Organization) 40: 8. August 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  25. ^ "IBO strategic plan approved". IB World (International Baccalaureate Organization) 40: 2. August 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  26. ^ Strategic plan. Retrieved on 17 August 2013.
  27. ^ "IB Annual Review". Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "Find an IB World School". Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Governments". Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  30. ^ "Governance Structure". Retrieved 17 July 2009. 
  31. ^ "The IB Board of Governors". Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ Wallis, Claudia (10 December 2006). "How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century". Time. Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  34. ^ Rothman, Robert (Summer 2002). "A test worth teaching to". American Educator. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  35. ^ a b "Expanding the Advanced Placement Initiative Program". US Department of Education. February 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  36. ^ 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. 
  37. ^ Shepard, Jessica (10 February 2009). "Leap from Cardiff to Amsterdam for Baccalaureate". Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  38. ^ 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. 
  39. ^ 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]
  40. ^ Walters, Joanna (14 March 2006). "All American Trouble". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  41. ^ Kranhert III, John (21 March 2009). "Pinecrest Drops IB Program". The Pilot. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  42. ^ Martindale, Scott (12 March 2008). "175 Saddleback Valley Unified teachers face layoffs". OCRegister. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  43. ^ Dayton, Margaret (21 May 2008). "The Senate Site". Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  44. ^ "League of Women Voters of Utah". 28 February 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ a b William Stewart (17 September 2010). "Caught red-handed: IB boss plagiarising". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  54. ^ William Stewart (8 October 2010). "IB chief pleads 'oversight' led to plagiarisation speech". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  55. ^ William Stewart (10 October 2010). "IB lifted exam marking guides from Wikipedia". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  56. ^ William Stewart (15 October 2010). "IB examiner stayed in post after Wiki plagiarism revealed". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 

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