The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (DP) is a pre-university course of studies leading to examinations that meets the needs of secondary school students between the ages of 16 and 19 years.
The focus of teaching and learning across all IB programs is outlined in a set of characteristics known as the IB learner profile. The learner profile aims to develop learners who are:
- and reflective.
Success in the DP requires students to have a good work ethic.
The IB Diploma Program is open to all grade 11 and 12 students. Designed as a comprehensive two-year curriculum that allows its graduates to fulfill requirements of various national education systems, the DP model is based on the pattern of no single country but incorporates the best elements of many. The DP is available in English and French in Nova Scotia and begins in the grade 11 year. The Diploma Program model represents an internationally focused program of study across all subjects.
Student-centered teaching and learning are at the very core.
All courses develop social, communication, research, self-management and thinking skills. These skills, strategies and attitudes are developed to enhance student learning and readiness for Diploma Program assessment and beyond. Subjects are studied concurrently, and students are exposed to the two great traditions of learning: the humanities and the sciences.
- DP students are required to select one subject from each of the six subject groups, although students are able to choose the sixth subject.
- Students can choose an arts course or a second subject from another group as the sixth subject option.
- At least three, and not more than four subjects, are taken at the Higher Level (HL); the others at the Standard Level (SL). HL courses represent 240 teaching hours; SL courses cover 150 hours. By arranging work in this fashion, students are able to explore some subjects in depth and some more broadly over the two-year period; this is a deliberate compromise between the early specialization preferred in some national systems and the breadth found in others.
The program culminates in a series of international examinations written in six academic subjects chosen by each student—one subject from each of the following groups (group 6 is optional, allowing students to study a second subject from other areas of interest), which correspond to the principal domains of knowledge.
Group 1: Language and Literature Studies
Group 2: Language Acquisition
Group 3: Individuals and Societies
Group 4: Experimental Sciences.
Group 5: Mathematics
Group 6: The Arts
Successful DP students also complete three core components designed to develop a coherent approach to learning that transcends and requirements in addition to the six subjects.
The interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course unifies the academic areas and encourages appreciation of other cultural perspectives.
The Extended Essay of some 4000 words offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
Participation in the creativity, activity, and service (CAS) requirement encourages students to be involved in creative pursuits, physical activities, and service projects in the local, national, and international contexts which are student initiated and meant to strengthen and extend student learning.
In Nova Scotia, all IB course credits are granted grade 12 credits regardless of whether or not a student completes the course in grade 11 or grade 12. However, on transcripts to universities, the IB courses will be included as both grade 11 and grade 12 courses with no credit recorded in grade 11 unless the student writes the final examination in that grade.