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IB Diploma Programme (11th and 12th Grade)

A rigorous integrated curriculum, the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma develops critical thinking, global perspective, college writing and research ability.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) is recognized around the world for its challenging curriculum and is welcomed by top universities.

Students learn more than a collection of facts. The Diploma Programme prepares students for university and encourages them to:

•    ask challenging questions
•    learn how to learn
•    develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture
•    develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.
See fuller details about the IB DP at Blair here and in a PowerPoint overview.

What is in the curriculum?

The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a core of three integrated elements. This is illustrated by a circle with the three parts of the core at its center.

Students study six subjects selected from the subject groups. Normally three subjects are studied at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).

All three elements of the core—extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service—are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the Diploma Programme.

What are the three core requirements?

The three core requirements are:     
•    extended essay
•    theory of knowledge
•    creativity, action, service

Extended essay
The extended essay has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.

Theory of knowledge (TOK)
The interdisciplinary TOK course provides coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives.

Creativity, action, service (CAS)
Students devote at least 150 hours in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.

How are students assessed?
At the end of the two-year programme, students are assessed both internally and externally in ways that measure individual performance against stated objectives for each subject.

Internal assessment
In nearly all subjects at least some of the assessment is carried out internally by teachers, who mark individual pieces of work produced as part of a course of study. Examples include oral exercises in language subjects, projects, student portfolios, class presentations, practical laboratory work, mathematical investigations and artistic performances.

External assessment
•    Some assessment tasks are conducted and overseen by teachers without the restrictions of examination conditions, but are then marked externally by examiners. Examples include world literature assignments for language A1, written assignments for language A2, essays for theory of knowledge and extended essays.
•    Because of the greater degree of objectivity and reliability provided by the standard examination environment, externally marked examinations form the greatest share of the assessment for each subject.
Do universities recognize the IB diploma?
  • The IB diploma is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities.
  • The IBO works closely with universities in all regions of the world to gain recognition for the IB diploma. To aid this process, university admissions officers and government officials have direct online access to all syllabuses and recent examinations.
  • To assist IB diploma students in making appropriate choices, the organization holds a database containing contact details of universities around the world together with up-to-date information about their requirements for admission.
  • Students applying to a particular university may also grant permission for their grades to be accessed directly from the IBO’s secure web site.


Munguia Receives Award

"The IB Diploma Programme is eye opening to say the least. The curriculum of each class is unlike any other. I learned a lot about real life situations in all of my classes that I believe have really prepared me for college life. The classes are rigorous, but it is completely possible to succeed in every class if the student is willing to try 110% of the time. Personally, I succeeded more in IB than I ever had before, even without experiencing AP or Honors classes. It was an intimidating feeling to come into a set of classes I felt unprepared for. However, I learned to manage my time, and to still have a social life while handling multiple leadership roles. IB shouldn't be scary; it shouldn't be an obstacle. Many students worry about the stress and late nights, but I was never up until 2am doing homework, while some of my friends were. It truly was just about each student's individual learning style. IB taught me to really embrace learning, and the different ways of doing it. Receiving the diploma is one of my biggest accomplishments to date that I truly take pride in."

Stephanie Munguia, 2016 IB Diploma Recipient, Blair Class of 2016

Stephanie is a Los Angeles resident who came to Blair for the IB DP Program. She is now headed to the Univ. of California Los Angeles.  While at Blair, Stephanie balanced the demands of the Diploma Programme on top of extensive leadership responsibilities. In addition to her role in student government on the ASB Board, she was our JROTC Battalion Commander. Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Munguia took information from 1SG Turner about upcoming JROTC events in the community, planned their course of action and assigned roles, and learned to delegate and oversee others. (In above photo, Stephanie is shown receiving Congresswoman Judy Chu's award for excellence.)

She plans to major in Psychobiology/Neuroscience and possibly minor in Religious Studies (the subject of her Extended Essay). She hopes to participate in Alzheimer’s research while attending UCLA, and ultimately wants to become a neurologist. Stephanie says, “I also hope to work with Doctors Without Borders some day to give back to my family and community in El Salvador. I enjoyed the fact that IB was about real people, and learning to understand real situations.” 

Student Experience

DP Student

"IB taught me to really embrace learning, and the different ways of doing it. Receiving the diploma is one of my biggest accomplishments to date..."

Stephanie Munguia,
2016 IB Diploma Recipient, Blair Class of 2016
UCLA Class of 2020
Hear more about Stephanie's IBDP experience below.