International Baccalaureate

ISL has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme since 1995

With its origins in Switzerland in the early 1960s, the IBDP is a well-established programme of studies. A group of educators promoted the idea that some kind of international programme of studies was needed to accommodate the growing number of mobile international students who belonged more to the world than to any single country. The IB Diploma Programme was created in English and French by teachers at the International School of Geneva with increasing assistance from several other international schools. The programme that led to the Diploma consisted of a common pre-university curriculum and a common set of external examinations for students in schools throughout the world.

What is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)?

The IBDP is a comprehensive and challenging pre-university course of study that demands the best from motivated students and teachers. The programme culminates in externally assessed examinations and is widely recognised for its high academic standards.

  • The two-year curriculum is rigorous and intellectually coherent, encouraging critical thinking through the study of a wide range of subjects in the traditional academic disciplines while encouraging an international perspective
  • Beyond completing college-level courses and examinations, DP students are also required to engage in community service, individual research, and an inquiry into the nature of knowledge
  • The two-year course of study leads to final examinations in six subject areas and a qualification widely recognised by the world's leading colleges and universities

History of the Programme

The Diploma programme sought to provide students with a truly international education - an education that encouraged an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, languages and points of view. Schools that first offered the Diploma programme were predominantly private international schools, but they included a very small number of private national institutions and schools belonging to state education departments. This has evolved over the years and today around 50% of all Diploma programme schools belong to governments (with no tuition fees).

The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has seen tremendous growth in recent years. The Diploma programme is currently offered by 2,188 member schools. Since 1968, more than half a million students in 138 countries have participated in the Diploma programme.

ISL has offered the IBDP since 1995 and encourages all its students, whenever possible, to engage in the most demanding programme of study available to them. For many, this will be the IB Diploma. For a variety of reasons however, some students may choose to take a range of IB Courses only, leading to an individual award in each subject, rather than the full IB Diploma. ISL regularly reviews the entry requirements of universities worldwide in order to be able to offer sensible advice regarding programme selection for students in Grades 11 and 12.

The IB Mission Statement

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.

Requirements for the IB Diploma and IB Certificates

The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a core made up of three separate parts.

Students study six subjects selected from the subject groups. Normally three subjects are studied at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours). All three parts of the core- extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service- are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the Diploma programme. Students must study one subject from each of groups 1-5. The sixth subject may be selected from group 6 or may be a second subject from groups 2-5.

ISL offers the following subjects in each group at both higher and standard level unless indicated otherwise:

Groups 1 & 2Group 3Group 4Group 5Group 6
Languages are offered at levels A and B
French is also offered ab initio
Business & Management
Maths HL
Maths SL
Maths Studies SL
Visual Arts
Theatre Arts

Student work is assessed both internally and externally. Internal assessments form about 20% of the final mark. In each IB examination, the student is graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). The award of the diploma requires students to meet defined standards and conditions. These include a minimum total of 24 points and the satisfactory completion of three compulsory core components: 1) Theory of Knowledge (TOK); 2) extended essay; and 3) creativity, action, service (CAS). Thus the programme has the strengths of a traditional and broad curriculum, augmented by the three requirements shown at the centre of the programme model above.

Worldwide, approximately 80% of students are awarded the diploma. A student who does not satisfy the requirements of the full Diploma Programme, or who has elected to take fewer than six subjects, is awarded a certificate for the examinations completed.

Prior to enrolling in the IB Programme, students are issued an International Baccalaureate Handbook detailing all the necessary information related to obtaining the IB Diploma at ISL. Throughout the entire two year programme, the Dean of External Programmes (IB and IGCSE) provides information, advice, resources and support to students and parents.

Detailed information about all aspects of the IB Diploma Programme is available on the website of the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

All information above relating to the IBDP © 2008 IBO, Geneva, Switzerland.

Iain Fish
Upper School Principal

Copyright © The International School of Luxembourg a.s.b.l.
36 Boulevard Pierre Dupong, L-1430 Luxembourg
Contact: Lower School (+352) 26 04 4300  |  Upper School: (+352) 26 04 40  |  F: (+352) 26 04 47 04

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