IB Diploma Programme
JESS Dubai

IB Diploma Programme

JESS Dubai
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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 organization works with schools, governments and international organizations 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.

The IB – A Brief History

The International Baccalaureate Organisation was established in 1968 to meet the educational needs of students in International Schools. From these early days it has grown to an organisation that teaches over 1 million students in 3681 schools in 146 countries. The IB is now taught in both International Schools and State sector schools across the globe, with the highest number of schools being in the United States.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is based in Geneva with its head curriculum office for the Africa, Europe and Middle Eastern (AEM) region located in The Hague, Netherlands. There are regional offices that deal with Professional Development and administration of the program in different parts of the world in the Asia Pacific, South America, North America and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Curriculum Overview

At JESS we believe that the breadth of the IB Programme adds a value independent of any specific course. It is hard to quantify the value of scientists being required to study literature, or of artists being required to study mathematics, but we see it in our school and we believe that it provides a rich, broad and holistic educational experience to those in our Sixth Form.

Beyond the explicitly academic aspect of the courses, the IB's mission statement is translated into a set of learning outcomes as identified in the Learner Profile. At all stages of the programme, in all areas of each course, the following attributes are developed in students (and teachers):

The IB Diploma Curriculum

Both the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the IB Diploma Courses Programme (IB Courses) are comprehensive two year pre-university courses of study that aim to prepare students for the rigours of university but also to be caring, compassionate, global citizens with an appreciation of lifelong learning.

Designing an IB Diploma Programme

Students must do a range of subjects, one taken from each of the six groups:

Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature

At JESS this involves studies in either English Literature or English Language and Literature

Group 2: Language Acquisition (a second language)

At JESS this involves studies in Spanish, French or Arabic*

Group 3: Individuals and Societies (Humanities)

At JESS this involves a selection from Business Management, Economics, Environmental Systems and Societies***, Information Technology in a Global Society, Geography, History, and Psychology

Group 4: Experimental Sciences

At JESS this involves a selection from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Design Technology, Environmental Systems and Societies* and Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences

Group 5: Mathematics

At JESS this involves studies in either Mathematics or Mathematical Studies**

Group 6: The Arts

At JESS this involves studies in a selection from Music, Theatre Arts or Visual Arts

Note: Group 6 is optional meaning students can select a subject from any of the other groups in the place of an arts subject (e.g. take Chemistry and Biology or Business Management and History etc.)

Additional Requirements:

Students are required to do three subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL) over two years, as well as compulsory studies in Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity Service and Action (CAS), and a 4000 word Extended Essay (EE).

Standard Level and Higher Level: Standard level subjects contain 150 hours of teaching time over the two years, whilst higher level subjects have 240 hours of teaching time. Higher level is differentiated from Standard Level by the depth and breadth of work studied as opposed to the difficulty per se.  Some Standard and Higher level classes may be taught jointly at JESS. (Students can choose to do more than three subjects at HL where they wish to experience the Higher level offering prior to making a final decision. The understanding is that they drop one to SL by the end of Term 1 however).

 *Group 2 subjects offer an Ab Initio (Beginners) course in Spanish and Arabic. This is an entry level course intended for students with no or limited prior second language knowledge. The course carries the same grading and weighting as the other language courses however.

 **Group 5: Mathematics offer courses at Studies Standard Level. This course is designed for students who wish to study mathematics at an applied level as opposed to the pure and theoretical emphasis available in the Mathematics SL and HL courses. The course carries the same grading and weighting as the others however.

 ***Environmental Systems and Societies is only offered at Standard Level and counts as both a Group 3 and Group 4 subject thus allowing students who select this course to double up on any of the other group subjects.

Designing an IB Diploma Courses Programme (IB Courses)

The IB Diploma Programme has a reputation for being an academically rigorous programme; nonetheless the IB strives to be flexible and inclusive in its educational philosophy. As a result there is provision in the IBDP for students who have varied strengths and weaknesses or who do not require the full complement of IBDP options. At JESS the alternative IB Diploma Courses will be offered for a select number of students who qualify according to the specific criteria set for this pathway.

The IB Diploma Courses at JESS comprises of:

A minimum of four subjects (up to six) can be selected from the Diploma Group subject list, with at least one chosen at Higher Level. Where students are able to demonstrate strong performance/results at GCSE then additional HL subjects may be permitted.

English (Literature/Language & Literature Course at HL/SL), Mathematics Studies (or SL upon consultation) is highly recommended for all Diploma Courses students.

Compulsory Theory of Knowledge (TOK) lessons along with the IBDP students though there is no obligation to complete the TOK assessments. Diploma Courses students will be expected, however, to participate in TOK lessons.

Compulsory Creative, Action and Service (CAS) participation. This is excellent for boosting one’s curriculum vitae and for adding depth to personal statements.

Optional: Students may choose to complete an Extended Essay.

The Core Programme

The 3 Main Elements

The feature that sets the IB Diploma programme apart from other pre-university programmes is its core programme. These aim to encourage not only a love of learning and a desire to question but also to develop the fundamental life skills that students will need to become ethical leaders of the global society in which we live.

All students who are taking the IB Diploma must undertake the Core. Students who opt for IB Courses can choose whether or not they wish to do the Core, or elements of the Core.

The Diploma Core consists of:

  • Extended Essay (EE)
  • Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
  • Theory of Knowledge (ToK)

Extended Essay (EE)

This course aims to provide students with the opportunity to: 

  1. pursue independent research on a focused topic
  2. develop research and communication skills
  3. develop the skills of creative and critical thinking
  4. engage in a systematic process of research appropriate to the subject
  5. experience the excitement of intellectual discovery
Entry RequirementsThe Extended Essay is a compulsory subject if you are doing the Diploma or an option if you are doing Courses
 The Course Consists of the following areas:
Core ContentEssayStudents are required to write independently a research essay, with a maximum of 4,000 words, on a topic of their own choice in an IB subject
Assessment / ExaminationExternalFormatFinal Grade %
EssayThe essay is marked externally, and is given a grade of A (highest) to E (lowest)100

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

This course aims to develop students who are: 

  1. reflective thinkers – they understand their own strengths and limitations, identify goals and devise strategies for personal growth
  2. willing to accept new challenges and new roles
  3. aware of themselves as members of communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment
  4. active participants in sustained, collaborative projects
  5. balanced – they enjoy and find significance in a range of activities involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional experiences
Entry RequirementsCreativity, Action and Service is a compulsory subject if you are doing the Diploma or an option if you are doing courses
 The course consists of the following areas:
Core ContentCreativity

Students participate in activities across the three areas. They reflect on their participation and are assessed against eight learning outcomes.

Students also have to complete a CAS project which incorporates two or more aspects of CAS.

Action
Service
 InternalFormatFinal Grade %
Assessment / ExaminationAssessmentJESS monitors students’ progress against a set of specific learning outcomes. The students have to complete a minimum of 150 hours across the three aspects of CAS. The IB samples school records on a random basis100

No Diploma Points are awarded for CAS but a student who fails to complete the requirements is not eligible to be awarded a Diploma

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

This course aims to: 

  1. develop a fascination with the richness of knowledge as a human endeavour, and an understanding of the empowerment that follows from reflecting upon it
  2. develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed, critically examined, evaluated and renewed, by communities and individuals
  3. encourage students to reflect on their experiences as learners, in everyday life and in the Diploma Programme, and to make connections between academic disciplines and between thoughts, feelings and actions
  4. encourage an interest in the diversity of ways of thinking and ways of living of individuals and communities, and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions, including participants’ own
  5. encourage consideration of the responsibilities originating from the relationship between knowledge, the community and the individual as citizen of the world
Entry RequirementsTheory of Knowledge is a compulsory subject if you are doing the Diploma or an option if you are doing Courses
 The course consists of the following areas:
Core ContentKnowledge Issues and Shifting ViewpointsToK aims to get you to think about a variety of things that you and others know. You will be asked to reflect on how you and others came to possess this knowledge. Your job is to explore what you know and explore how your experiences have shaped your knowledge20 hours
The Ways of KnowingToK focuses on four Ways of Knowing; Reason; Language; Sensory Perception and Emotion. You will need to show an awareness of how each Way of Knowing works, influences what we believe to be true and how these interact to help us form knowledge30 hours
Areas of KnowledgeYou will be asked to explore six Areas of Knowledge: Mathematics; Natural Sciences; Human Sciences; History and the Arts. You will develop a clear understanding of the methods each area uses to construct knowledge, their significance and the limitations of the knowledge created in these areas100 hours
Total teaching hours over IB1500 hours
Assessment / ExaminationExternalFormatFinal Grade %
Essay1200 - 1600 word essay from list of ten prescribed titles67
InternalFormatFinal Grade %
PresentationPresentation on knowledge issues arising in a topic of students’ own choice (10 minutes) – not externally moderated33

IB Coursework, Exams & Grading

Grading Scales

All IB Diploma Programmes require students to complete mandatory and varied internal assessment (coursework) alongside formal examinations at the end of their second year. Both the internal assessments and final exams are assessed by the IB who awards the final grades.

A student's examination performance in individual subjects is scored on a scale of 1–7 points with a further 3 points available based on a matrix of performance in the Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay components. Students who display satisfactory levels of performance across all subject areas and achieve a minimum of 24 points (out of a possible 45) are awarded the IB diploma. All others receive a certificate of results (Diploma Courses) for the subjects examined. Subjects are marked according to the following scale.

7 Excellent
6 Very good
5 Good
4 Satisfactory
3 Mediocre
2 Poor
1 Very poor
N No grade

The TOK course and the extended essay are graded according to the following scale.

A Excellent
B Good
C Satisfactory
D Mediocre
E Elementary
N No grade

The Core Points Matrix

TOK / EEABCDE
A3322Failing Condition
B3221
C2210
D2100
EFailing Condition

The performance of a student in both the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE), is determined according to the quality of the work, based on the application of the IB Diploma Programme assessment criteria. It is described by one of the band descriptors A–E. Using the two performance levels and the diploma points matrix, a maximum of three diploma points can be awarded for a student’s combined performance.

A student who, for example, writes a satisfactory extended essay (C grade) and whose performance in theory of knowledge is judged to be good (B grade) will be awarded 2 points, while a student who writes a mediocre extended essay (D grade) and whose performance in theory of knowledge is judged to be satisfactory (C grade) will be awarded 1 point. The award of zero additional points does not constitute a fail in either TOK or EE as it only refers to the bonus points available in the overall diploma. 

A student who fails to submit either and Extended Essay, TOK essay, or who fails to make a TOK presentation, will be awarded an N, will score no points, and will not be awarded an IB Diploma (receiving the Diploma Courses instead).

Performance in both theory of knowledge and the extended essay of an elementary standard (E grade) is an automatic failing condition for the award of the diploma.

How does assessment work?

The maximum total marks available for an IBDP student are 45. Each of the six subjects are given a final mark out of 7 meaning that a total of 42 is available for subjects areas, whilst a total of 3 marks is given for the EE and TOK assessments combined. Each subject area has between 20-35% coursework that is internally marked and externally moderated. The remainders of the marks, constituting the final examinations, are externally marked.

Generally a student needs to achieve a minimum of 24 marks to receive their Diploma and must successfully complete all three elements of the core. 
The following conditions constitute and automatic fail of the IB Diploma as of May 2015:

  1. CAS requirements have not been met. 
  2. Candidate’s total points are fewer than 24. 
  3. An N has been given for theory of knowledge, extended essay or for a contributing subject (usually as a result of academic malpractice or failure to submit work). 
  4. A grade E has been awarded for one or both of theory of knowledge and the extended essay. 
  5. There is a grade 1 awarded in a subject/level. 
  6. Grade 2 has been awarded three or more times (HL or SL). 
  7. Grade 3 or below has been awarded four or more times (HL or SL). 
  8. Candidate has gained fewer than 12 points on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count). 
  9. Candidate has gained fewer than 9 points on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL). 

A maximum of three examination sessions is allowed in which to satisfy the requirements for the award of the IB Diploma.

IB Diploma Results & Rules

Issuance of Results

Examination results are available on 6 July following the May examination session via an online portal. Access to this will be provided by the IBDP Coordinator towards the end of the second Year. Students will receive candidate numbers and pin codes to access results at the website below.

IB Results Portal: https://candidates.ibo.org/

IB Diploma Rules

In order to secure the IB Diploma students need to ensure none of the following conditions are met:

From the May 2015 session the following conditions will come into effect:

  1. CAS requirements have not been met.
  2. Candidate’s total points are fewer than 24.
  3. An N has been given for theory of knowledge, extended essay or for a contributing subject (usually as a result of academic malpractice or failure to submit work).
  4. A grade E has been awarded for one or both of theory of knowledge and the extended essay.
  5. There is a grade 1 awarded in a subject/level.
  6. Grade 2 has been awarded three or more times (HL or SL).
  7. Grade 3 or below has been awarded four or more times (HL or SL).
  8. Candidate has gained fewer than 12 points on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
  9. Candidate has gained fewer than 9 points on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL).

A maximum of three examination sessions is allowed in which to satisfy the requirements for the award of the IB Diploma.

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