What is IBDP?

In short, the IBDP is a globally recognized college-preparatory curriculum for 11th and 12th graders. At WHS, the 9th and 10th grades are considered "IB Prep" and are not part of the formal IBDP. Regardless, we consider them part of the IB Community and the IBPA, IB Student Organziation and IB Program Office all try to serve the needs of this group of families, as well.

The IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

For more detail on the WHS IBDP, please visit the official website of the WHSIB. The information provided below is a high level summary of the program and its components.

For more information on the IBO and the IBDP, the Wikipedia link is a very good summary of the program and its history.

The IB Model

It is sometimes easier to encapsulate the elements of a program like the IBDP using a graphic, and that is what the IB Model does. At the center is the student, reflecting the student-centric curriculum that the IBDP aims to serve. Practically, how this manifests is a multitude of pathways through the IBDP, from choosing which course groups to HL or SL, to what the topic of the Extended Essay will be, to deciding what CAS projects to participate in and what their learning outcomes will be. The IBDP is more student-centric and open for customization that most college-prep curriculum offered at WHS.

The Learner Profile

The Learner Profile is a document of the personal and academic traits that the IB aims to develop in a student by how teaches the various subjects, and through the Core competes of the IBDP.

The IBO has a good summary video of the Learner Profile. There are students of all ages in the video because the Learner Profile is a concept that spans all of the IBO's educational programs.

Approaches to Learning & Teaching

Approaches to Teaching & Learning are the tools and methodologies used in the classroom to help students learn the material, which are closely connected to the goals of the IB Learner Profile.

The Core

The Core is the name given to the collection of courses or projects that are unique to the IB:

  1. Extended Essay (EE)

  2. Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

  3. Creativity, Activity & Service (CAS)

These three elements, taken in conjunction with the six subject groups, form the IBDP.

The Extended Essay is a faculty guided college freshman-level research paper on the topic of the students choosing. This 4,000 word essay is primarily focused on the process of research and the various forms of evidentiary sources, and the proper synthesis and citation of evidence. While the writing is important, the conclusions drawn are of less concern when it comes to the scoring of the EE. This work is done in the Spring semester of the Junior year and the Fall semester of the senior year, concurrent with the TOK course.

The TOK is an epistemology class focused on the question "how do we know what we know?". When alumni are asked what their favorite part of IBDP was, many cite their experience in TOK. As a "seminar" course, TOK allows students to discuss their interpretations of seminal philosophical works, enhancing curiosity and opening the mind to new perspectives. This course is taken in the Spring semester of the Junior year and the Fall semester of the senior year, concurrent with the EE.

Finally, CAS is a series of faculty-guided reflections on the student's choice of creative outlet, physical activity and community service. The CAS component is focused on development and growth, so this piece is not a tally of how many volunteer hours one completed. Rather, students are encouraged to develop their own learning goals and objectives for any given activity, and then reflect on their experiences in achieving those goals. The completion of CAS is required in order to earn the IB Diploma. Only activities and reflections completed as an IBDP student are considered in determining whether a student has satisfied the CAS requirement.

Subject Groups

There are six subject groups that comprise the academic portion of the IBDP:

  1. Literature (aka English)​

  2. Language Acquisition (aka foreign language or language other than English)

  3. Individuals & Society (aka social studies)

  4. Natural Science (aka experimental sciences)

  5. Mathematics

  6. Arts & Electives

International Mindedness

David Hawley, Chief Academic Officer at IBO, stated:

“International-mindedness has always been the bedrock of an IB education and, while the IB community has understood its importance, it has been at times a challenging concept to define, develop and assess, and to communicate to others. The international-mindedness that permeates our programmes constitutes more than simply learning a second language, although this is key; global perspectives run throughout the IB curriculum, in all subject areas, and throughout all of our programmes. This is so that our students embrace their own cultures and are open and responsive to other cultures and views. [emphasis added] We are absolutely delighted that this research has provided evidence for that which we have long known – that the IB develops internationally-minded young people through the quality of its curriculum provision.”