Diploma Requirements & Learner Profile

IB Diploma Requirements

The IB Diploma is earned when a student successfully completes the 6 required IB courses and the 3 required components of the central core. 

Required Courses Students must select one course from each of the following six IB groups:

Studies in Language
and Literature
English HL

Language acquisition French, German or Spanish SL or Spanish ab initio SL

Individuals and Societies History of the Americas HL

Experimental Sciences Chemistry SL or HL or Sports, Exercise and Health Science SL

Mathematics Math SL or HL, Math Studies SL 

Electives Visual Arts or Film HL, OR *Psychology SL (*offered 17-18; 19-20) 

All IB Diploma candidates are required to complete one subject from each group. At least three but not more than four of the six subjects are taken at the Higher Level, the others at the Standard Level. Higher and Standard Levels are IB classifications that describe the level of depth and breadth of the course. The level of rigor is the same but the Higher Level courses are two-year courses while most Standard Level courses are one-year courses. Students are assessed internally and also externally by approximately 4,000 examiners worldwide. Each student is graded on a scale of 1 to 7 in each subject. A minimum of 24 points in the six academic subjects plus the satisfactory completion of the central elements are required to earn the diploma. 

Required Central Elements

Central Element #1: CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service)

The CAS requirement emphasizes "Experiential Learning" and the importance of life outside of the world of scholarship. CAS provides a fresh counterbalance to the academic self-absorption some may feel within a demanding school program. All IB students are expected to generate their own unique CAS portfolios of activities in the areas of creativity, activity and service. A CAS Coordinator will guide and support students through this experience. CAS activities should center on real, purposeful activities with significant outcomes. Experiences must provide personal challenge that extends the student and is achievable in scope. CAS activities must involve thoughtful consideration such as planning, reviewing progress and reporting, and each activity must include opportunity for reflection on outcomes and personal learning.

Creativity includes arts and other experiences that allow for creative thinking and problem-solving. This can cover a wide range of planning, designing, and implementation of service projects as well as active participation in live cultural performances or helping to support the arts.

Activity involves physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Action may include participation in hiking expeditions, individual or team sports, yoga class, walkathons, or projects to fight urban blight.

Service is an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student and respects the rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved. Getting involved with community service-oriented organizations may help a student fulfill the service component of CAS.

The following eight outcomes should be demonstrated to fulfill the CAS requirement:

  • Increased awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Willingness to undertake new challenges
  • Ability to plan and initiate activities
  • Successful collaboration with others
  • Development of perseverance and commitment
  • Engagement in global issues
  • Consideration of ethical implications of ones actions
  • Development of new skills 

All students should be involved in some CAS activities that they have initiated themselves; other activities may be initiated by the school or an outside organization. Students should also participate in at least one project involving teamwork. The CAS experience is intended to raise awareness that one person can make a difference in the lives of others.

Central Element #2: The Extended Essay

The Extended Essay, an original research paper of no more than 4000 words, provides the student with the opportunity to intensify his/her attention on an area of particular interest. The student is encouraged to draw the connections between that which is studied in an academic environment and that which can be explored through one’s own means of investigation and expository writing.

The process should begin early in the junior year. The student should consider a variety of topics and engage in some cursory research, verifying the accessibility of adequate material and ascertaining a continued interest in the topic. Advised by a faculty mentor, the student will research the topic, draft a proposal, outline his/her paper, submit a rough draft, revise it, and polish a final piece for submission to the International Baccalaureate Organization. The final paper will be due in December of the senior year.

Central Element #3: Theory of Knowledge

The primary intent of the Theory of Knowledge class is to analyze the processes by which we acquire knowledge and the lenses through which we view it. The course will involve class discussion in small and large groups, presentations, debates, role-playing activities, writing assignments, and research. Students should expect to take an active role in class activities and to stretch their conventional understanding of almost every issue raised in class as well as the conventions through which they are accustomed to addressing such issues. The course is taken over the junior and senior year and will explore the primary ways of knowing. The exploration of each way of knowing will integrate with the material studied in other IB courses. Theory of Knowledge, the intellectual centerpiece of the IB Diploma Programme, encourages students to make important curricular and global connections and to stretch their understanding of themselves and the thinking process.

The IB Learner Profile

Developed in 2006, the IB Learner Profile is the mission statement of the IB Organization translated into a set of learning outcomes: IB learners strive to be:

Inquirers They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.

Knowledgeable They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

Thinkers They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

Communicators They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

Principled They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

Open-minded They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

Caring They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and to the environment.

Risk-takers They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

Balanced They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

Reflective They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

© International Baccalaureate Organization, IB Learner Profile Booklet, March 2006.

Profile of an IB Student

The IB Diploma Programme consists of a rigorous pre-university curriculum to meet the needs of highly motivated students. Participants are expected to complete curricula and activities that are coordinated and evaluated by international assessments. External assessments will follow in which student work is measured against pre-established, international standards. Successful International Baccalaureate students should…

• be self-motivated

• have the desire to challenge him/herself intellectually and academically

• have the ability to articulate effectively

• have international interests

• possess analytical and critical thinking skills

• possess or be willing to acquire good time management skills

• be open to new ideas and tolerant of different beliefs

• participate in school and community activities

• possess a willingness to share and cooperate

• have the ability to synthesize

• have broad interests

Cumberland Valley students who are highly motivated and have a history of academic success are potential candidates for the IB Program. The internationally established criteria will challenge students to demonstrate their academic ability, work-ethic and effective time management skills.

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