IB Curriculum

All IB Diploma candidates are required to take courses during their junior and senior years leading to examinations in six subjects. IB classes are broken into six groups and the following IB subjects are taught at George School (IB Subject Area: George School Subjects):

  1. Language A: English
  2. Language B: French, Latin, Spanish
  3. Individuals & Societies: History, Economics
  4. Experimental Sciences: Biology, Environmental Systems, Physics
  5. Mathematics: Precalculus, Calculus
  6. Art: Art Design (visual arts), Dance, Drama, Music

Diploma candidates must take courses in three subject areas for higher-level credit and three subject areas for standard-level credit. Students can choose for themselves which combination they prefer. IB examinations are external (taken outside the George School classroom) and universal, and are taken on prescribed days in the first two weeks of May. The higher-level examination is taken following a two-year course of study. The standard-level examination is less rigorous and in some subjects can be taken at the end of a one-year course. Please visit the Courses and Course Planning section to see details on more than forty-five IB courses offered at George School.

To earn the IB Diploma, candidates must earn at least twenty-four points. Points are awarded in each of the six subjects on a 1 (poor) to 7 (excellent) scale, and a candidate can earn up to three bonus points based on the quality of work in Theory of Knowledge and on the extended essay. In each subject, students undergo internal assessment by their classroom teacher as well as external assessment by IB examiners. External assessment includes but is not limited to the formal examinations in May.

Additional Diploma Requirements
In addition to the six courses and examinations, IB Diploma candidates must take the Theory of Knowledge course, write a 4,000-word extended essay, and participate in CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) activities.

Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge, often called TOK on campus, provides IB candidates with opportunities to reflect upon their experiences in the light of selected philosophical issues. The course aims to help students in the following ways:

  • Develop greater understanding of the methods, achievements, and connectedness of subjects studied in school.
  • Develop greater ability to pursue analyses that illuminate issues in constructive and compassionate ways.
  • Develop greater ability to articulate experiences, concepts, and values, both orally and in writing.

Theory of Knowledge is a yearlong course taken in the junior or senior year. Assessment is based on one externally graded essay (1,000–1,500 words), and an internally graded presentation.

The Extended Essay
Created in a student’s junior English class, the IB Extended Essay is an original and extended piece of research and writing by the student on a topic from one of the six IB subjects. The 4,000 word essay is supervised by a George School teacher and the IB coordinator. Assessment is by an external examiner.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
CAS activities are required in roughly equal parts. Students who fulfill George School’s specific arts, athletic, and service requirements easily meet the IB CAS requirements.

Program Costs
The cost of the charter for participating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program is borne by George School. Students are charged for individual examinations, just as they are for SATs or Advanced Placement examinations. Assessment fees for the Diploma Program are available online.

For more information, see the official IB website. You can also contact George School’s IB Coordinator Ralph Lelii with any questions.