The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP)), first examined in 1968, is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations; it is designed for highly motivated secondary school students aged 16 to 19. The programme has earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities. The IB has shown, over the course of 30 years, that students are well prepared for university work.
The Diploma Programme’s grading system is criterion referenced: each student’s performance is measured against well-defined levels of achievement consistent from one examination session to the next. Grades reflect attainment of knowledge and skills relative to set standards that are applied equally to all schools.
The programme is a comprehensive two-year international curriculum that generally also allows students to fulfil the requirements of their national or state education systems. The Diploma Programme incorporates the best elements of national systems without being based on any one. Internationally mobile students are able to transfer from one IB school to another, while students who remain closer to home benefit from a highly respected international curriculum.
The programme was born of efforts to establish a common curriculum and university entry credential for students moving from one country to another. International educators were motivated by practical considerations but also by an idealistic vision: students should share an academic experience that emphasizes critical thinking, intercultural understanding and exposure to a variety of points of view. Today there are equal numbers of students from international schools and state or national systems.
The idealism has remained unchanged, however. The IB’s goal is to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop sound judgment, make wise choices, and respect others in the global community. The Diploma Programme equips students with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in higher education and employment.