Diploma Programs Curriculum

Group 1:

English A: Literature (SL and HL)

The English A: Literature course introduces students to the analysis of literary texts. It is the course through which the IB's policy of mother-tongue entitlement is delivered, and may be studied in any language with a sufficiently developed written literature. The course is organized into four parts, each focussed on a group of literary works. Together, the four parts of the course add up to a comprehensive exploration of literature from a variety of cultures, genres and periods. Students learn to appreciate the artistry of literature, and develop the ability to reflect critically on their reading, presenting literary analysis powerfully through both oral and written communication.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Higher level study requires a minimum of 240 class hours, while standard level study requires a minimum of 150 class hours.
  • Students study 13 works at higher level and 10 works at standard level from a representative selection of genres, periods and places.
  • Students develop the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of literary works, building understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism
  • The study of literary works in context is emphasised, and through the study of literature in translation the student is challenged to reflect on the role of cultural assumptions in interpretation.
  • Students are assessed through a combination of formal examinations, written coursework and oral activities.
  • The formal examination comprises two essay papers, one requiring the analysis of a passage of unseen literary text, and the other a response to a question based on the works studied.
  • Students also produce a written assignment based on the works studied in translation, and perform two oral activities presenting their analysis of works
    read

Group 2

Spanish Ab Initio & French Ab Initio

The main emphasis of the modern language courses is on the acquisition and use of language in a range of contexts and for different purposes while, at the same time, promoting an understanding of another culture through the study of its language.

Spanish & French Ab initio - The language ab initio course is a language acquisition course for students with little or no experience of the language.

The course is organized into three themes: individual and society, leisure and work, and urban and rural environment. Each theme comprises a list of topics that provide students with opportunities to practice and explore the language and to develop intercultural understanding.

Through the development of receptive, productive and interactive skills, students develop the ability to respond and interact appropriately in a defined range of everyday situations.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Only available at standard level (SL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150
  • Interactive, productive and receptive skills are developed through contextualized study of language, texts and themes
  • Intercultural understanding is a key goal of the course
  • Students are exposed to a variety of authentic texts and they produce work in a variety of communicative contexts
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • External assessment consists of exercises to demonstrate understanding of authentic print texts (receptive skills), two short writing exercises (productive skills), and a written assignment (integrating receptive and productive skills)
  • Internal assessment tests students' abilities in listening and speaking in a genuine conversation format (integrating receptive, productive and interactive skills). Internal assessment consists of a presentation and follow-up questions based on a visual stimulus, and a general conversation with the teacher based in part on the written assignment

Hindi B

Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) are language acquisition courses for students with some previous experience of learning the language. While studying the language, students also explore the culture(s) connected with it.

Higher and standard levels are differentiated by the recommended teaching hours, the depth of syllabus coverage, the required study or literature at HL, and the level of difficulty and requirements of the assessment tasks and criteria.

The range of purposes and situations for using language in the language B courses extends well beyond those for language ab initio.

The course is organized into themes. Three core themes are required: communication and media, global issues, and social relationships. In addition, at both HL and SL, teachers select two more themes from five options provided. Finally, two works of literature are studied at HL only.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Available at standard (SL) and higher levels (HL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • Interactive, productive and receptive skills are developed through contextualized study of language, texts and themes
  • Intercultural understanding and plurilingualism are key goals of the course
  • Students are exposed to a variety of authentic texts and they produce work in a variety of communicative contexts
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • External assessment at SL consists of exercises to demonstrate understanding of authentic print texts based on the core themes (receptive skills), a writing exercise based on the options (productive skills), and a written assignment based on the core themes (integrating receptive and productive skills)
  • External assessment at HL consists of exercises to demonstrate understanding of authentic print texts based on the core themes (receptive skills), two writing exercises, one based on the core and the other based on the options (productive skills), and a written assignment based on one of the literary texts (integrating receptive and productive skills)
  • Internal assessment at both SL and HL tests students' abilities in listening and speaking in a genuine conversation format (integrating receptive, productive and interactive skills). Internal assessment consists of an individual oral based on the options (presentation and discussion with the teacher), and an interactive oral based on the core (three classroom activities assessed by the teacher)

Group 3: Individuals & Societies

Business and management

The IB Diploma Programme business and management course is a rigorous and dynamic subject in group 3, individuals and societies. The course explores how business decision-making processes impact on and are affected by internal and external environments. It is perfectly placed as a group 3 subject since it is the study of both the way in which individuals and groups interact in an organization and of the transformation of resources.

The Diploma Programme business and management course is designed to develop an understanding of business theory, as well as an ability to apply business principles, practices and skills. As a course it aims to encourage a holistic view of the world of business by promoting an awareness of social, cultural and ethical factors in the actions of organizations and individuals in those organizations.

Developing international mindedness and an awareness of different cultural perspectives is at the heart of the course – enabling students to think critically and appreciate the nature and significance of change in a local, regional and global context.

Business and management syllabus outline

The curriculum model for Diploma Programme business and management is a core curriculum for higher level (HL) and standard level (SL) students consisting of five topics with common content and learning outcomes. In addition to the core, HL students are expected to complete extension areas of study, in all five topics, adding both breadth and depth to the course. HL students also study one extension topic (topic 6 – business strategy).

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • The course is available at HL and SL.
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 240 for HL and 150 for SL.
  • Students are assessed both internally and externally.
  • External assessment for HL and SL students consists of two written examination papers. Paper one is based on a pre-seen case study issued in advance and Paper two consists of structured questions based on stimulus material.
  • Internal assessment for HL students is a research project and for SL students a written commentary. These are internally marked by subject teachers and then externally moderated by IB examiners.

Economics

The IB Diploma Programme Economics course forms part of group 3—individuals and societies. The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a dynamic social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.

The course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.

The ethical dimensions involved in the application of economic theories and policies permeate throughout the economics course as students are required to consider and reflect on human end-goals and values.

The economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students' awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.

At both standard level and higher level, candidates are required to study four topics: microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and development economics with some sub-topics within these reserved solely for higher level. These sections are assessed by two examinations at standard level and three examinations at higher level.

In addition to the examinations, candidates must submit an internal assessment. Both standard level and higher level economics students must produce a portfolio of three commentaries based on articles from published news media.

Information Technology in a Global Society HL & SL

The Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) course currently offered was first taught in August 2010 and forms part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

This innovative course lies within Group 3 which examines individuals and societies. The ITGS framework is modelled on a 'triangle'. It uses an integrated approach, encouraging students to make informed judgements and decisions about the role of information and communication technologies in contemporary society.

Teachers are entrusted to use professional judgement in determining the best delivery of the ITGS course.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Two courses are offered, Standard Level (SL) that requires 150 hours of teaching time over two years, and Higher Level (HL) that requires 240 hours.
  • The ITGS course is based on three interconnected strands; Social and ethical significance, Application to specified scenarios, IT systems.
  • The ITGS triangle lies at the heart of the pedagogy. With an understanding of the information technologies, students must be able to evaluate social/ethical issues in specified scenarios.
  • The course is continuously reviewed to ensure it is current and relevant. Minor changes in syllabus content may be introduced each May, for first examinations two years later.
  • ITGS requires students to have strong research and higher order thinking skills.
  • Teachers may choose any relevant contemporary article to illustrate scenarios. A vibrant wiki has been developed to help teachers share resources.
  • Collaboration between schools, teachers and students is encouraged. Teachers need to keep abreast of emerging online tools, applications and hardware.
  • A component (HL only) is linked to the annually issued case study. This requires students to investigate a new topic related to the subject in greater depth.
  • ITGS requires students to develop a product that would be suitable for a client. The aim of this assessment is to support and prepare students for the workplace.
  • ITGS is the perfect platform to study social informatics at university level.

Psychology

The IB Diploma Programme psychology course is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes. Since the psychology course examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour, it is well placed in group 3, individuals and societies. Students undertaking the course can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied. This will allow them to have a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour.

The holistic approach reflected in the curriculum, which sees biological, cognitive and sociocultural analysis being taught in an integrated way ensures that students are able to develop an understanding of what all humans share, as well as the immense diversity of influences on human behaviour and mental processes. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are also key considerations of the IB psychology course. The Diploma Programme psychology course is designed to allow for in-depth analysis, evaluation and consolidation of learning. The overall aim of the course is to give students a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of psychology. Teachers are encouraged to find ways of delivering the course that are most relevant to their students' interests and to the school's resources. This course should be taught in an integrated way, as the different parts of the syllabus complement each other. This will allow students to make comparisons and evaluate different psychological theories and arguments.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • The course is available at higher level (HL) and standard level (SL).
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 240 for HL and 150 for SL.
  • Students are assessed both internally and externally.
  • External assessment for SL students consists of two written papers. For HL students there are three written papers.
  • Internal assessment for SL and HL students is to write a report of a simple experimental study conducted by the student. This is internally marked by subject teachers and then externally moderated by IB examiners.

Environmental systems and societies

Through studying environmental systems and societies (ES&S) students will be provided with a coherent perspective of the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies; one that enables them to adopt an informed personal response to the wide range of pressing environmental issues that they will inevitably come to face. The teaching approach is such that students are allowed to evaluate the scientific, ethical and socio-political aspects of issues.

ES&S is one of two interdisciplinary courses offered in the Diploma Programme, Text and Performance is the other interdisciplinary course. Because it is an interdisciplinary course, students can study this course and have it count as either a group 3 course or a group 4 course or as both a group 3 and group 4 course. This leaves students the opportunity to study (an) additional subject(s) from any group of the hexagon including (an) additional subject(s) from groups 3 or 4.

Students will be able to study this course successfully with no specific previous knowledge of science or geography. However, as the course aims to foster an international perspective, awareness of local and global environmental concerns and an understanding of the scientific methods, a course that shares these aims would be good preparation. During the course, students will study seven different topics. The most important aspect of the ES&S course is hands-on work in the laboratory and/or out in the field. As with all Diploma Programme courses, the current ES&S course is under review and teaching of this new course will begin in September 2015.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Available only at standard level (SL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150
  • A hands-on approach to the course delivery is emphasised.
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • External assessment consists of two written papers and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate an understanding through the application, use, synthesis, analysis and evaluation of environmental issues, information, concepts, methods, techniques and explanations.
  • Internal assessment accounts for 20% of the final assessment and is comprised of a series of practical and fieldwork activities. This assessment component enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal interests, without the time limitations and other constraints that are associated with written examinations.

Group 4: Experimental Science

Biology

Through studying biology, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. In all group 4 subjects there is an emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work. The group 4 project (which all science students must undertake), mirrors the work of real scientists by encouraging collaboration between schools across the regions.

Past experience shows that students will be able to study a group 4 subject at standard level (SL) successfully with no background in, or previous knowledge of science. For most students considering the study of a group 4 subject at higher level (HL) however, some previous exposure to the specific subject would be necessary. Students who have undertaken the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) would be well prepared. Other national science qualifications or a school-based science course would also be suitable preparation for study of a group 4 subject at HL. A biology students' approach to study should be characterized by the specific IB learner profile attributes – inquirers, thinkers and communicators.

The biology course is organized by topics, SL students study six topics and HL students study a further five, with some of these taking the first six topics to greater depth. In addition to this, both SL and HL students study two out of a choice of seven (at SL) or five (at HL) option topics. There are four basic biological concepts that run throughout:
  • Structure and function; this relationship is probably one of the most important in a study of biology and operates at all levels of complexity. Students should appreciate that structures permit some functions while, at the same time, limiting others.
  • Universality versus diversity; at the factual level, it soon becomes obvious to students that some molecules (for example, enzymes, amino acids, nucleic acids and ATP) are ubiquitous and so are processes and structures. However, these universal features exist in a biological world of enormous diversity. Species exist in a range of habitats and show adaptations that relate structure to function. At another level, students can grasp the idea of a living world in which universality means that a diverse range of organisms (including ourselves) are connected and interdependent.
  • Equilibrium within systems; checks and balances exist both within living organisms and within ecosystems. The state of dynamic equilibrium is essential for the continuity of life.
  • Evolution; the concept of evolution draws together the other themes. It can be regarded as change leading to diversity within constraints and this leads to adaptations of structure and function.
These four concepts serve as themes that unify the various topics that make up the three sections of the course: the core, the additional higher level (AHL) material and the options.

The order in which the syllabus is arranged is not the order in which it should be taught and it is up to individual teachers to decide on an arrangement that suits their circumstances. Option material may be taught within the core or the AHL material, if desired.

The power of scientific knowledge to transform societies is unparalleled. It has the potential to produce great universal benefits or to reinforce inequalities and cause harm to people and the environment. In line with the IB mission statement, group 4 students need to be aware of the moral responsibility of scientists to ensure that scientific knowledge and data are available to all countries on an equitable basis and that they have the scientific capacity to use this for developing sustainable societies.

The current biology course is under review and teaching of this new course will begin in September 2014, with first examinations in May 2016.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Available at both SL and HL
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • Biology students at SL and HL undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the options studied.
  • While the skills and activities related to biology are common to both SL and HL students, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, to study additional topics and to study extension material of a more demanding nature in the common options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.
  • An experimental approach to the course delivery is emphasised.
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • The external assessment of biology consists of three written papers. In paper 1 there are 30 (at SL) or 40 (at HL) multiple-choice questions. Paper 2 has two sections; section A contains one data-based question and several short-answer questions on the core (and AHL material at HL) which are all compulsory. Paper 2, section B consists of one extended-response question on the core from a choice of three at SL and two extended-response questions on the core and the AHL from a choice of four at HL. Paper 3 consists of several compulsory short-answer questions in each of the two options studied. In addition, at HL there is one extended-response question in each of the two options studied.
  • Internal assessment accounts for 24% of the final assessment and consists of the interdisciplinary group 4 project and a mixture of both short-term and long-term investigations. The internal assessment allows students to demonstrate not only their scientific knowledge but also personal skills and manipulative skills. Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB.

Chemistry

Through studying chemistry, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. In all of the group 4 subjects there is an emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work.

Past experience shows that students will be able to study a group 4 subject at standard level (SL) successfully with no background in, or previous knowledge of science. A chemistry students' approach to study should be characterized by the specific IB learner profile attributes – inquirers, thinkers and communicators.

The chemistry course is organized by topics, with SL students having to study eleven topics and higher level (HL) students having to investigate nine of these topics to a greater depth. Both SL and HL students are responsible for covering two of seven option topics.

The power of scientific knowledge to transform societies is unparalleled. It has the potential to produce great universal benefits or to reinforce inequalities and cause harm to people and the environment. In line with the IB mission statement, group 4 students need to be aware of the moral responsibility of scientists to ensure that scientific knowledge and data are available to all countries on an equitable basis and that they have the scientific capacity to use this for developing sustainable societies.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Available at both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • While the skills and activities related to chemistry are common to both SL and HL students, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth and to study extension material of a more demanding nature in the common options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.
  • An experimental approach to the course delivery is emphasised.
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • External assessment consists of three written papers and provides opportunities for students to display their scientific understanding through the application, use, analysis and evaluation of scientific facts, concepts, methods, techniques and explanations.
  • Internal assessment accounts for 24% of the final assessment and consists of an interdisciplinary project, a mixture of both short- and long-term practicals/investigations/labs and subject-specific projects. The internal assessment allows students to demonstrate not only their scientific knowledge but also personal skills and manipulative skills.

Physics

Through studying physics, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. The scientific processes carried out by the most eminent scientists in the past are the same ones followed by working physicists today and, crucially, are also accessible to students in schools. In all group 4 subjects there is an emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work. The group 4 project (which all science students must undertake) mirrors the work of real scientists by encouraging collaboration between schools across the regions.

The power of scientific knowledge to transform societies is unparalleled. It has the potential to produce great universal benefits or to reinforce inequalities and cause harm to people and the environment. In line with the IB mission statement, group 4 students need to be aware of the moral responsibility of scientists to ensure that scientific knowledge and data are available to all countries on an equitable basis and that they have the scientific capacity to use this for developing sustainable societies.

The physics course is organized by topics; SL students study eight topics and HL students study a further six. In addition to this, both SL and HL students study two out of a choice of seven (at SL) or six (at HL) option topics. The order in which the syllabus is arranged is not the order in which it must be taught and it is up to individual teachers to decide on an arrangement that suits their circumstances. Option material may be taught within the core or the AHL material, if desired.

Past experience shows that students will be able to study a group 4 subject at standard level (SL) successfully with no background in, or previous knowledge of science. For most students considering the study of a group 4 subject at higher level (HL) however, some previous exposure to the specific subject would be necessary. Students who have undertaken the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) would be well prepared. Other national science qualifications or a school-based science course would also have a suitable background for studying a group 4 subject at HL. A physics students' approach to study should be characterized by the specific IB learner profile attributes of inquirer, thinker, and communicator.

The current physics course is under review and teaching of this new course will begin in September 2014, with first examinations in May 2016.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
  • Available at both SL and HL
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • Physics students at SL and HL undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the options studied.
  • While the skills and activities related to physics are common to both SL and HL students, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, to study additional topics and to study extension material of a more demanding nature in the common options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.
  • An experimental approach to the course delivery is emphasised
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • The external assessment of physics consists of three written papers. In paper 1 there are 30 (at SL) or 40 (at HL) multiple-choice questions. Paper 2 has two sections; section A contains one data-based question and several short-answer questions on the core (and Additional Higher Level (AHL) material at HL) which are all compulsory. Section B consists of one extended-response question on the core from a choice of three at SL, and two extended-response questions on the core and the AHL from a choice of four at HL. Paper 3 consists of several compulsory short-answer questions in each of the two options studied. In addition, at HL there is one extended-response question in each of the two options studied.
  • Internal assessment accounts for 24% of the final assessment and consists of the interdisciplinary group 4 project and a mixture of both short-term and long-term investigations. The internal assessment allows students to demonstrate not only their scientific knowledge but also personal skills and manipulative skills. Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB.

Group 5: Mathematics

Mathematics

Overview

Because individual students have different needs, interests and abilities, four courses in mathematics are available:
  • mathematical studies standard level
  • mathematics standard level
  • mathematics higher level
These courses are designed for different types of students: those who wish to study mathematics in depth, either as a subject in its own right or to pursue their interests in areas related to mathematics; those who wish to gain a degree of understanding and competence better to understand their approach to other subjects; and those who may not as yet be aware how mathematics may be relevant to their studies and in their daily lives. Each course is designed to meet the needs of a particular group of students. Therefore, great care should be taken to select the course that is most appropriate for an individual student.

In making this selection, individual students should be advised to take account of the following types of factor.
  • Their own abilities in mathematics and the type of mathematics in which they can be successful
  • Their own interest in mathematics, and those particular areas of the subject that may hold the most interest for them
  • Their other choices of subjects within the framework of the Diploma Programme
  • Their academic plans, in particular the subjects they wish to study in future
  • Their choice of career
Teachers are expected to assist with the selection process and to offer advice to students about how to choose the most appropriate course from the four mathematics courses available.

Mathematical studies SL—course details

This course is available at standard level (SL) only. It caters for students with varied backgrounds and abilities. More specifically, it is designed to build confidence and encourage an appreciation of mathematics in students who do not anticipate a need for mathematics in their future studies. Students taking this course need to be already equipped with fundamental skills and a rudimentary knowledge of basic processes.

The course concentrates on mathematics that can be applied to contexts related as far as possible to other subjects being studied, to common real-world occurrences and to topics that relate to home, work and leisure situations. The course includes project work, a feature unique within this group of courses: students must produce a project, a piece of written work based on personal research, guided and supervised by the teacher. The project provides an opportunity for students to carry out a mathematical investigation in the context of another course being studied, a hobby or interest of their choice using skills learned before and during the course. This process allows students to ask their own questions about mathematics and to take responsibility for a part of their own course of studies in mathematics.

The students most likely to select this course are those whose main interests lie outside the field of mathematics, and for many students this course will be their final experience of being taught formal mathematics. All parts of the syllabus have therefore been carefully selected to ensure that an approach starting with first principles can be used. As a consequence, students can use their own inherent, logical thinking skills and do not need to rely on standard algorithms and remembered formulae. Students likely to need mathematics for the achievement of further qualifications should be advised to consider an alternative mathematics course.

Because of the nature of mathematical studies, teachers may find that traditional methods of teaching are inappropriate and that less formal, shared learning techniques can be more stimulating and rewarding for students. Lessons that use an inquiry-based approach, starting with practical investigations where possible, followed by analysis of results, leading to the understanding of a mathematical principle and its formulation into mathematical language, are often most successful in engaging the interest of students. Furthermore, this type of approach is likely to assist students in their understanding of mathematics by providing a meaningful context and by leading them to understand more fully how to structure their work for the project.

Mathematics SL—course details

This course caters for students who already possess knowledge of basic mathematical concepts, and who are equipped with the skills needed to apply simple mathematical techniques correctly. The majority of these students will expect to need a sound mathematical background as they prepare for future studies in subjects such as chemistry, economics, psychology and business administration.

The course focuses on introducing important mathematical concepts through the development of mathematical techniques. The intention is to introduce students to these concepts in a comprehensible and coherent way, rather than insisting on mathematical rigour. Students should wherever possible apply the mathematical knowledge they have acquired to solve realistic problems set in an appropriate context.

The internally assessed component, the portfolio, offers students a framework for developing independence in their mathematical learning by engaging in mathematical investigation and mathematical modelling. Students are provided with opportunities to take a considered approach to these activities and to explore different ways of approaching a problem. The portfolio also allows students to work without the time constraints of a written examination and to develop the skills they need for communicating mathematical ideas.

This course does not have the depth found in the mathematics HL course. Students wishing to study subjects with a high degree of mathematical content should therefore opt for the mathematics HL course rather than a mathematics SL course.

Mathematics HL—course details

This course caters for students with a good background in mathematics who are competent in a range of analytical and technical skills. The majority of these students will be expecting to include mathematics as a major component of their university studies, either as a subject in its own right or within courses such as physics, engineering and technology. Others may take this subject because they have a strong interest in mathematics and enjoy meeting its challenges and engaging with its problems.

The nature of the subject is such that it focuses on developing important mathematical concepts in a comprehensible, coherent and rigorous way. This is achieved by means of a carefully balanced approach. Students are encouraged to apply their mathematical knowledge to solving problems set in a variety of meaningful contexts. Development of each topic should feature justification and proof of results. Students embarking on this course should expect to develop insight into mathematical form and structure, and should be intellectually equipped to appreciate the links between concepts in different topic areas. They should also be encouraged to develop the skills needed to continue their mathematical growth in other learning environments.

The internally assessed component, the portfolio, offers students a framework for developing independence in their mathematical learning through engaging in mathematical investigation and mathematical modelling. Students will be provided with opportunities to take a considered approach to these activities, and to explore different ways of approaching a problem. The portfolio also allows students to work without the time constraints of a written examination and to develop skills in communicating mathematical ideas.

Group 6: The Arts

Visual arts (SL & HL)

The impulse to make art is common to all people. From earliest times, human beings have displayed a fundamental need to create, and to communicate personal and cultural meaning through art.

Visual arts continually open up new possibilities and challenge traditional boundaries. This is evident both in the way we make art and in the way we understand what artists from around the world do. Theory and practice in visual arts are dynamic and ever-changing, and connect many areas of study and human experience through individual and collaborative production and interpretation. The Diploma Programme visual arts course enables students to engage in both practical exploration and artistic production, and in independent contextual, visual and critical investigation. The course is designed to enable students to study visual arts in higher education and also welcomes those students who seek life enrichment through visual arts.

Quality work in visual arts can be produced by students at both HL and SL. The aims and assessment objectives are the same for visual arts students at both HL and SL. Through a variety of teaching approaches, all students are encouraged to develop their creative and critical abilities and to enhance their knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of visual arts.

The course content for HL and SL may be the same. However, due to the different amount of time available for each, students at HL have the opportunity to develop ideas and skills, and to produce a larger body of work, or work of greater depth. In order to reflect this, the assessment criteria are differentiated according to option and level. There need be no direct relationship between the number of works produced, the time spent on each, and the quality achieved: a high level of performance at either HL or SL can be achieved in both a large and small body of work.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • Available at standard (SL) and higher levels (HL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • External assessment at Option A (for HLA and SLA) consists of Studio work at 60%. The student prepares a selection of his or her studio work in the form of an exhibition. This is externally assessed by a visiting examiner following an interview with the student about the work.
  • External assessment at Option B (for HLB and SLB) consists of the Investigation workbook at 60%. The student presents selected pages of his or her investigation workbooks that have been produced during the course. This selection is externally assessed by a visiting examiner following an interview with the student.
  • Internal assessment at Option A (for HLA and SLA) consists of the Investigation workbook at 40%. The student presents selected pages of his or her investigation workbooks that have been produced during the course. This selection is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course.
  • Internal assessment at Option B (for HLB and SLB) consists of Studio work at 40%. The student prepares a selection of his or her studio work. This selection is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course.
In addition the programme has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding.

CORE CURRICULUM The core of the curriculum model consists of three components.

Extended essay

The extended essay extended essay of some 4,000 words offers the opportunity for IB students to investigate a topic of special interest related to one of the student's six Diploma Programme (DP) subjects/disciplines. An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies. The world studies extended essay provides students with the opportunity to carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, utilizing two IB diploma disciplines. Both types of extended essay (single-disciplinary and interdisciplinary essays )are intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity expected at university. They provide students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject or issue chosen. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject. It is recommended that students follow the completion of the written essay with a short, concluding interview - viva voce - with the supervisor. In countries where interviews are required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university, the extended essay has proved to be a valuable stimulus for discussion.

Theory of knowledge (TOK)

TOK plays a special role in the Diploma Programme by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.

The fundamental question of TOK is "how do we know that?" Students are encouraged to think about how knowledge is arrived at in different disciplines, what the disciplines have in common and the differences between the disciplinary. TOK therefore both supports and is supported by the study of other DP subjects, as students are required to explore knowledge questions against the backdrop of their experiences in their other DP subjects. Discussion and critical reflection form the backbone of the TOK course, centring around discussions of questions such as:
  • what counts as evidence for X?
  • what makes a good explanation in subject Y?
  • how do we judge which is the best model of Z?
  • how can we be sure of W?
  • what does theory T mean in the real world?
  • how do we know whether it is right to do S?
Through discussions of these types of questions students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions, as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives. The TOK course is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600 word essay. The TOK presentation assesses the ability of the student to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation, while the TOK essay takes a more conceptual starting point; for example asking students to discuss the claim that the methodologies used to produce knowledge depend on the use to which that knowledge will be used.

TOK is a demanding and challenging course, but one which plays a crucial role in effectively preparing students for the complex and rapidly changing world they will encounter both during their DP experience and beyond.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

CAS - Creativity - Action - Service at the heart of the Diploma Programme. CAS enables students to live the IB learner profile in real and practical ways, to grow as unique individuals and to recognise their role in relation to others.CAS is organised around the three strands of Creativity, Action and Service defined as:
  • Creativity - arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • Action - physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the IB Diploma Programme
  • Service - an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student.
Students develop skills and attitudes through a variety of individual and group activities that provide students with opportunities to express their passions, personalities and perspectives. CAS complements a challenging academic programme in a holistic way, providing opportunities for self-determination, collaboration, accomplishment and enjoyment.

Students are also required to undertake a CAS Project that challenges students to show initiative, demonstrate perseverance, and develop skills such as those of collaboration, problem solving, and decision making.

The school and students must give CAS as much importance as any other element of the Diploma Programme and ensure sufficient time is allocated for engagement in the CAS programme. Successful completion of CAS is a requirement for the award of the IB Diploma. While not formally assessed, students reflect on their CAS experiences and provide evidence of achieving the eight learning outcomes.

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