The IB Diploma has really become the gold standard for university entrance. Universities regularly recruit IB students for many reasons:
they already know how to work hard and manage their time;
they already have university-level skills and knowledge;
they bring a global perspective to their studies; and,
they contribute to their university and wider community.
DP students may receive first year credit for Diploma courses or other benefits such as early registration. But the IB Diploma Programme is more than a collection of courses. Here are the key principles:
Synoptic by design: this means the six academic subjects are all meant to work together. Although students rigorously learn the particular language, concepts, and methods of the various academic disciplines, the Diploma is inherently interdisciplinary. Teachers and students are invited to make connections between their academic subjects: a process formalized by Theory of Knowledge (ToK). The other core requirements—the Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS)—allow students to extend their learning beyond the classroom into individual research and personal action.
Balanced by intent (an unconventional high school experience): classroom learning in the six academic subjects is balanced by the experiential learning of CAS, ToK, and the EE. It is specifically designed as a two-year educational experience with most DP courses completed over a two-year period through committed and connected study. Activities such as the DP Retreat, mock exams, and internal assessments are landmarks on this journey and blend Grade 11 and 12 into one another.
Allows for ample choice: the DP is not meant to be a monolith. Although we face some constraints at Stratford Hall because of our size, we offer an impressive array of courses, including: three different sciences at the Higher and Standard Levels, math courses designed for arts or science students, three different levels of language instruction, and a variety of classroom and online electives. The vast majority of students find that they have ample opportunity to pursue their interests and to play to their strengths.
Rigorous, fair, and internationally recognized exams: perhaps the best part of the DP is that we are all in it together. The assessment is comprehensive, transparent, and largely external. Students produce work to published standards and are graded by expert IB Examiners. Teachers see the results of their instruction in measurable terms, and adjust their practice accordingly. The quality and nature of external assessment takes a great burden off staff and students alike. No one is trying to guess the criteria for success, and there is no question of favouritism. Teachers become more like guides and mentors than dispensers of knowledge, as they work with their students to achieve a common goal.