What’s new in IB?


YoungSeo Jo, Print Editor

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme underwent changes this year as the graduating class of 2021 entered their first year of the program. The program was also introduced to the Upper School for Boys (USB).

The Diploma Programme is a two year program where students are assessed in different areas of knowledge. It is internationally recognized among educational institutions.

Every seven years the Diploma Programme goes under inspection; teachers are invited to review the syllabus and suggest improvements. This year, the Language and Literature course was heavily altered to reduce the number of assessments. 

According to Emily Lynn, Upper School for Girls English Teacher and Diploma Programme Coordinator, the graduating class of 2020 will undergo nine assessments (two creative essays, two prescribed essays, two presentations, one oral commentary and two end of year exams) in the span of two years. This was reduced to four, giving teachers more freedom to plan their classes outside of the prescribed work.

Senior Lillian Prime expects the change in the curriculum to make IB less overwhelming for the juniors. However, she commented that she is glad to have done the assessments. “I think it’s something that I’m proud of and it’s something that has helped me grow,” she said.

According to Lynn, IB intentionally includes many assessments. “There are so many pieces of it because IB wants to deemphasize it,” she said. That way not every piece is of significant value to the overall grade. She advises students to keep perspective and that, “students who do their best are students that can keep moving.”

Prime was able to take advantage of this characteristic of the program. “Because there are so many, any one individual assessment felt less intimidating and now feels less intimidating because I have had to produce so much work,” she said.

2019 was also the first year with the IB program in the Upper School for Boys. 

When asked about the differences in how the program is handled between the two departments, Lynn said, “Overall it is very consistent. It’s different because we added IB into Annie Wright after the USG had existed for a long time; whereas it’s a little different for the boys because from the start they knew it would be IB.”

Brian Chu, a Junior in the USB, believes that the IB program has had a solid start in the department, especially with the assistance from the faculty. “There are lots of things that are special to the program that other programs don’t have. I think teachers are really helping us prepare for that,” he said.

Chu said he finds the program challenging not because of the course work but because it requires students to invest time and passion into the work.

When asked to advise students of the curriculum, Prime said, “Look at IB as a really cool opportunity to engage and be passionate about the work that you are doing.” She also emphasized how students should recognize and be proud of the work they are producing. “Don’t do it for any external validation but because you get to learn,” she said.