At CFIS, one way we help to prepare our senior high students for life after high school is through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, a curriculum framework for students in the last two years of high school.
Through IB, students develop an even deeper understanding of the world around them, and their responsibility to it. At CFIS, the IB experience is tailored to meet each student's needs and interests. They can choose to earn a full IB Diploma, or certificates in just the IB courses of interest to them. Students graduating with the full IB diploma have an advantage in being accepted to universities all around the world, often with advanced credit.
In the full Diploma Programme (DP), grade 11 and 12 students study six IB subjects (three at standard level and three at a higher level) over two years and complete three additional requirements: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay, and reflect on a number of different experiences and projects outside of the classroom through the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) option. For more about each of these IB courses, see below.
What does it all mean? In its most basic form, like a French immersion education, IB opens doors. Many of our senior high students felt strongly that taking IB courses gave them the tools needed to succeed in post-secondary studies. Our graduates tell us that they felt more prepared and self-confident with having already learning research skills and how to manage their time.
However, parents and students alike, often have questions about IB. We get it! It can sound a bit intimidating as discussions of IB education often include references to it only being for 'really smart kids' or that the students that do take IB 'have no life'. And, this can be the experience in some schools, but at CFIS, we believe that every student can 'do' IB. In fact, they already do! All CFIS senior students complete our French Language Arts course (FLA 30-1), that meets all IB requirements, and includes only three additional assessments.
Still have questions? Here are answers to the most common ones we get.
Is IB the same for every student?
Not at CFIS. While all our our students graduate with FLA 30-1 and one IB certificate, IB is designed with a specific framework and has course requirements, but there are many options available based on your child’s individual interests and goals.
Will my child be singled out or put into special classes?
Not at CFIS. On average, 85% of our students earn three or more IB certificates, and about 25% work towards an IB diploma. In addition, any extracurricular work or participation in athletics can often be applied to CAS requirements.
Will my child have time for other things?
Absolutely! IB students at CFIS are actively involved in extracurricular activities, and over 70% are involved in the school musical and/or school sports. Students often share with us that the workload in their IB courses is quite similar to the typical high school workload.
Do students enjoy IB at CFIS?
Our students tell us that they do enjoy their IB experience! Our teachers are dedicated to ensuring there are enriching in-depth discussions and learning activities. And our students have told us that their teachers and the small class sizes at CFIS have supported their learning immensely.
Is the IB DP at CFIS considered a “gifted” program?
The IB does not control how schools designate their Diploma Programme. At CFIS, students choose to participate in the full Diploma Programme via the CFIS IB DP admission application which must be filled out by both parents and the student. A meeting between the IB coordinator, counselor and family will take place to discuss the application and suitability for the student. The DP is a robust course of study for motivated students. That said, prior academic success is less an indicator of the ability to earn the diploma than are a student’s determination to do their best, be organized in order to complete the work while leading a full, balanced life, and a solid commitment to learning in and beyond the classroom.
How can student's find the right fit in IB?
Our current IB students suggest:
- taking IB courses that interest you
- taking B courses that you wish to explore more deeply
- realizing that full IB is not as overwhelming as you may think
- taking IB because it may benefit your post secondary studies
How do colleges and universities view the Diploma Programme?
The DP is internationally recognized as representing one of the highest standards in university preparatory education. More than 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have IB recognition policies for admissions, advanced standing, college credit and scholarships. A list of colleges and universities that grant credit, scholarships and/or advanced standing for DP diplomas and certificates is available at www.ibo.org.
What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
TOK is an interdisciplinary course designed to help students question and understand how they know what they know. Studying how individuals from various disciplines view the world in order to develop their own ways of thinking, TOK seeks to help students make sense of school and the world.
What is the Extended Essay?
The extended essay provides students with practical preparation for undergraduate research, and is an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to one of the student's six DP subjects, or takes the interdisciplinary approach of a World Studies extended essay.
What is Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)?
CAS is a pragmatic learning component of the Diploma Programme. Beginning in the summer between grades 10 and 11, students complete a variety of extracurricular, community service and athletic options to fulfill this requirement for a period of 18 months. CAS can be taken as a separate course by any CFIS student. We highly recommend that all students complete CAS as it can be beneficial for future employment opportunities and post-secondary applications.
For more information about the DP at CFIS, please contact our IB DP Coordinator, Christian Legault, at firstname.lastname@example.org.