IB Program Brochure - St. John's International School

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IB Program Brochure - St. John's International School

ChemistrySTANDARD LEVEL80 hours of instruction on the topics * Quantitative chemistry *Atomic structure * Periodicity * Bonding * Energetics * Kinetics* Equilibrium * Acids and bases * Oxidation and reduction *Organic chemistry * Measurement and data processingAnd 30 hours on two options from the topics * Modern analyticalchemistry * Human biochemistry * Chemistry in industry andtechnology * Medicine and drugs * Environmental chemistry *Food chemistry * Further organic chemistryTogether with 40 hours of practical work.HIGHER LEVEL80 hours on the core subjects of the standard level course with55 hours of instruction on five of the subjects * Atomic structure* Periodicity * Bonding * Energetics * Kinetics * Equilibrium *Acids and bases * Oxidation and reduction * Organic chemistryAnd 45 hours on two of the additional topics in the standardcourse, and 60 hours of practical work.BiologyBiology is the science of life and living organisms. Aside frominstruction relevant to this, students are given the chance tolearn complex laboratory techniques (e.g. DNA extraction) aswell as develop mindful opinions about controversial topics inbiology (e.g., stem-cell research and genetic modification). Thesyllabus lists thirteen topics, to be covered in an order varyingfrom school to school.STANDARD LEVEL80 hours of instruction on 6 topics * Statistical analysis * Cells* Chemistry of life * Genetics * Ecology and evolution * Healthand human physiologyWith 30 hours of instruction on two options from * Humannutrition and health * Physiology of exercise * Cells and energy* Evolution * Neurobiology and behavior * Microbes andbiotechnology * Ecology and conservationHIGHER LEVEL80 hours of instruction on 6 topics in the standard course and55 hours on a further 5 topics * Nucleic acids and proteins* Cellular respiration and photosynthesis * Plant science *Genetics * Human health and physiologyWith 45 hours of instruction on addition topics in the SL courseplus * Further human physiologyThe Internal Assessment for Biology includes the submission ofa number of lab reports covering certain skills like ability to planan experiment, ability to present data and ability to process data.Design TechnologyTopics addressed in this section include * Design process* Product innovation * Green design * Materials * Productdevelopment * Product designWith additional topics in the higher level * Energy * Structures* Mechanical design * Advance manufacturing techniques *Sustainable development.Environmental systems and societies120 hours teaching on the following topics * Systems andmodels * The ecosystem * Human population, carrying capacityand resource use * Conservation and biodiversity * Pollutionmanagement * The issue of global warming * Environmentalvalue systemsAll students of the Diploma Programme in any of these subjectswill compulsory complete a Group 4 project. The studentscollaborate on the Group 4 project report which is approachedin an interdisciplinary way. The Group 4 project assessment isincluded in the internal assessment marks.GROUP 5: MathematicsBecause individual students have different needs, interests andabilities, there are four different courses in mathematics. Thesecourses are designed for different types of students: thosewho wish to study mathematics in depth, either as a subjectin its own right or to pursue their interests in areas related tomathematics; those who wish to gain a degree of understandingand competence to understand better their approach toother subjects; and those who may not as yet be aware howmathematics may be relevant to their studies and in their dailylives. Each course is designed to meet the needs of a particulargroup of students. Therefore, great care should be taken toselect the course that is most appropriate for an individualstudent.In making this selection, individual students should be advised totake account of the following factors:• their own abilities in mathematics and the type of mathematicsin which they can be successful• their own interest in mathematics and those particular areas ofthe subject that may hold the most interest for them• their other choices of subjects within the framework of theDiploma Programme• their academic plans, in particular the subjects they wish tostudy in future• their choice of career.Teachers are expected to assist with the selection process andto offer advice to students.Mathematical studies SLThis course is available only at standard level, and is equivalentin status to mathematics SL, but addresses different needs.It has an emphasis on applications of mathematics, and thelargest section is on statistical techniques. It is designed forstudents with varied mathematical backgrounds and abilities. Itoffers students opportunities to learn important concepts andtechniques and to gain an understanding of a wide variety ofmathematical topics. It prepares students to be able to solveproblems in a variety of settings, to develop more sophisticatedmathematical reasoning and to enhance their critical thinking.The individual project is an extended piece of work based onpersonal research involving the collection, analysis and evaluationof data. Students taking this course are well prepared for a careerin social sciences, humanities, languages or arts. These studentsmay need to utilize the statistics and logical reasoning that theyhave learned as part of the mathematical studies SL course intheir future studies.Mathematics SLThis course caters for students who already possess knowledgeof basic mathematical concepts, and who are equipped with theskills needed to apply simple mathematical techniques correctly.The majority of these students will expect to need a soundmathematical background as they prepare for future studiesin subjects such as chemistry, economics, psychology andbusiness administration.Mathematics HLThis course caters for students with a good background inmathematics who are competent in a range of analytical andtechnical skills. The majority of these students will be expectingto include mathematics as a major component of their universitystudies, either as a subject in its own right or within coursessuch as physics, engineering and technology. Others may takethis subject because they have a strong interest in mathematicsand enjoy meeting its challenges and engaging with itsproblems.Further mathematics HLThis course is available only at higher level. It caters for studentswith a very strong background in mathematics who haveattained a high degree of competence in a range of analyticaland technical skills, and who display considerable interestin the subject. Most of these students will expect to studymathematics at university, either as a subject in its own rightor as a major component of a related subject. The course isdesigned specifically to allow students to learn about a varietyof branches of mathematics in depth and also to appreciatepractical applications. It is expected that students taking thiscourse will also be taking mathematics HL.Note: Mathematics HL is an ideal course for students expectingto include mathematics as a major component of their universitystudies, either as a subject in its own right or within coursessuch as physics, engineering or technology. It should not beregarded as necessary for such students to study furthermathematics HL. Rather, further mathematics HL is an optionalcourse for students with a particular aptitude and interest inmathematics, enabling them to study some wider and deeperaspects of mathematics, but is by no means a necessaryqualification to study for a degree in mathematics.GROUP 6 : The ArtsVisual ArtsNature of the subjectThe impulse to make art is common to all people. From earliesttimes, human beings have displayed a fundamental need tocreate and communicate personal and cultural meaning throughart.The process involved in the study and production of visual artsis central to developing capable, inquiring and knowledgeableyoung people, and encourages students to locate their ideaswithin international contexts. Supporting the principles of theIBO mission statement (that is, to foster students’ appreciationof diverse world cultures and traditions), the course encouragesan active exploration of visual arts within the students’ ownand other cultural contexts. The study of visual arts and thejourney within it encourages respect for cultural and aestheticdifferences and promotes creative thinking and problem solving.Visual arts continually create new possibilities and can challengetraditional boundaries. This is evident both in the way we makeart and in the way we understand what artists from aroundthe world do. Theory and practice in visual arts are dynamic,ever changing and connect many areas of study and humanexperience through individual and collaborative production andinterpretation.New ways of expressing ideas help to make visual arts oneof the most interesting and challenging areas of learning andexperience. The processes of designing and making art requirea high level of cognitive activity that is both intellectual andaffective. Engagement in the arts promotes a sense of identityand makes a unique contribution to the lifelong learning ofeach student. Study of visual arts provides students with theopportunity to develop a critical and intensely personal view ofthemselves in relation to the world.The Diploma Programme visual arts course enables students toengage in both practical exploration and artistic production, andin independent contextual, visual and critical investigation, withoption A students focusing more on the former and option Bstudents on the latter. The course is designed to enable studentsto study visual arts in higher education and also welcomes thosestudents who seek life enrichment through visual arts.Difference between HL and SLBecause of the nature of the subject, quality work in visual artscan be produced by students at both HL and SL. The aims andassessment objectives are the same for visual arts students atboth HL and SL. Through a variety of teaching approaches, allstudents are encouraged to develop their creative and criticalabilities and to enhance their knowledge, appreciation andenjoyment of visual arts.The course content for HL and SL may be the same. However,due to the different amount of time available for each, studentsat HL have the opportunity to develop ideas and skills, to producea larger body of work and work of greater depth. In order toreflect this, the assessment criteria are differentiated accordingto option and level. Please see the markband descriptors in the“Assessment criteria” section for more detail. There need beno direct relationship between the number of works produced,the time spent on each, and the quality achieved: a high level ofperformance at either HL or SL can be achieved in both a largeand small body of work.Theatre ArtsNature of the subjectTheatre is a composite art that is forever evolving in newforms. It nourishes, sustains and extends the human spirit.It is a means of exploring society and relationships within it.Through it, there may emerge possibilities for individual and


communal understanding. Theatre is about transformation. Itis the application, through play, of energy and imagination toframe, reflect, expose, critique and speculate. These activitiesshould engage and develop the sensibilities of all the studentswho participate in them. By studying theatre, and engaging withit practically, students will discover how elusive, fascinating andvaried theatre can be.At one extreme, theatre is national, institutionalized andcommercial, while at the other it is provincial, subversiveand experimental. The Diploma Programme theatre courseis designed to encourage students to examine theatre in itsdiversity of forms around the world. This may be achievedthrough a critical study of the theory, history and culture oftheatre, and will find expression through workshopping, devisedwork or scripted performance. Students will come to understandthat the act of imagining, creating, presenting and criticallyreflecting on theatre in its past and present contexts embodiesthe individual and social need to investigate and find explanationsfor the world around us.The theatre course emphasizes the importance of workingindividually and as a member of an ensemble. Students areencouraged to develop the organizational and technical skillsneeded to express themselves creatively in theatre. A furtherchallenge for students following this course is for them tobecome aware of their own perspectives and biases and tolearn to respect those of others. This requires a willingness tounderstand alternative views, to respect and appreciate culturaldiversity, and to see the varied role that theatre plays in reflectingthese. As a result, the theatre course can become a way forstudents to celebrate the international and intercultural dynamicthat inspires and sustains some forms of contemporary theatre,while appreciating the specifically local origins that have alwaysgiven rise to performance, and which, in many parts of the world,still do.At the core of the theatre course lies a concern with clarity ofunderstanding, critical thinking, reflective analysis, effectiveinvolvement and imaginative synthesis—all of which should beachieved through practical engagement in theatre.Difference between SL and HLTheatre students at both SL and HL are presented with acommon core syllabus that encourages the development ofcertain skills, attributes and attitudes, as described in the“Objectives” section of this guide.Due to the nature of the theatre course, there may be nogreat difference in the complexity or artistic merit of the workproduced by students at SL and HL. However, the differencein recommended teaching times at SL and HL signals a cleardistinction between the demands made on students. It isexpected that students at HL will use the extra time available todevelop their personal research and practice in theatre, and toextend their understanding of the ideas, practices and conceptsencountered during the course. The differences between therequirements of the theatre course at SL and HL are outlined inthe table below.MusicMusic functions as a means of personal and communal identityand expression, and embodies the social and cultural valuesof individuals and communities. This scenario invites excitingexploration and sensitive study.Music, and all of its associations, may vary considerably fromone musical culture to another: yet music may share similarities.Such richness offers a variety of ways to encounter and engagewith a constantly changing world.A vibrant musical education fosters curiosity and openness toboth familiar and unfamiliar musical worlds. Through such astudy of music we learn to hear relationships of pitch in sound,pattern in rhythm and unfolding sonic structures. Throughparticipating in the study of music we are able to explore thesimilarities, differences and links in music from within ourown culture and that of others across time. Informed andactive musical engagement allows us to explore and discoverrelationships between lived human experience and specificsound combinations and technologies, thus informing us morefully of the world around us, and the nature of humanity.The Diploma Programme music course provides an appropriatefoundation for further study in music at university level or inmusic career pathways. It also provides an enriching and valuablecourse of study for students who may pursue other careers. Thiscourse also provides all students with the opportunity to engagein the world of music as lifelong participants.Distinction between SL and HLBoth standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) music studentsare required to study musical perception. All students thereforesubmit a musical links investigation and also respond to alistening examination paper. In the latter, HL students arerequired to answer a further two questions. The first ofthese two questions allows them to demonstrate a widerunderstanding of music in relation to time, place and cultures.The second requires them to carry out a comparative analysis ofmusic in response to pieces not previously studied.SL students in music are required to choose one of threeoptions:• SL creating (SLC)• SL solo performing (SLS)• SL group performing (SLG).HL students are required to present both creating and soloperforming.This is a significant difference in expectation. By pursuing bothcreating and performing, this enables HL students to bringto their musical studies a wider perspective. It also allowsthem to pursue some work in more depth. The study of threecomponents in an integrated way allows HL students to makenot only more connections but, potentially, these connectionsmay carry more importance and have more influence duringtheir musical studies. This path of study allows HL students theopportunity to engage in music in a more complete way.For creating, SLC students are required to present two piecesof coursework, while HL students present three. This allows HLstudents to present work that either demonstrates contrastsin content, nature and intention or comes from a wider, andtherefore more challenging, choice of creating options.For solo performing, SLS students are required to present 15minutes, while HL students present 20 minutes. This challengesHL students to present a performing programme that featuresmore music of a contrasting nature.For those students (SLG) presenting group performing, therequirement is 20–30 minutes.Prior learningThe Diploma Programme music course is designed to offerstudents the opportunity to build on prior experience inmusic while encouraging a broad approach to the subject anddeveloping new skills, techniques and ideas.While prior music experience is not mandatory at SL, it isrecommended. At HL it is very strongly recommended.What is Theory ofKnowledge?For students, “knowledge” might seem to be somethinglearned, or attained, or accumulated and then displayed in themany required assessment tasks. Theory of Knowledge (TOK)takes students down a different path, examining the nature of“knowledge” itself rather than as a means to an end. At thecenter of the subject are the various “knowledge claims” thatwe (as “knowers”) make about all manner of things, includingbut not limited to “academic” matters. And so, the student (the“knower”) is at the center of our exploration.How do we know something? Perhaps we saw it or heard it.Perhaps someone told us or we read it. Perhaps we worked itout. Perhaps we just felt it strongly. TOK calls these “ways ofknowing,” and we examine each of these: perception, language,logic, and emotion for strengths, weaknesses and degrees ofcertainty.What do we know? TOK deals with math, the human sciences,the natural sciences, history, the arts, and ethics as “areas ofknowledge.” We examine each one. Are they the same? Arethey different kinds of knowledge? Are some more certain thanothers? What are the links between them and the different waysof knowing?The heart of TOK is in the student’s reflection and analysis of thenature of knowledge and no “knowledge” is immune from thisapproach—even (or perhaps especially) IB courses and the TOKcourse itself.What is CAS (Creativity,Action, Service)?CAS encourages students to strive for balance in their lives;along with rigorous academic work, they undertake creativepursuits, physical activities and service projects. A goodCAS experience should be both challenging and enjoyable, ajourney of self-discovery which, at times, takes students outof their comfort zones. The spirit of CAS is important. It can bechallenging to maintain focus on the ideals of CAS amid the dailyrealities of course requirements and busy schedules.Sometimes the challenge is time-management, sometimeslack of confidence in a particular type of activity, sometimesreluctance to value experiences that don’t earn diploma points.Eventually, though, many students recognize the merits ofaccepting personal challenge, of working collaboratively as wellas individually for the benefit of someone else, of learning aboutthe world in a very “local” way.Because CAS might be a student’s first direct experience withdisadvantaged people, the service component is often the mostnoticeable area of growth and the most personally satisfying.Developing a sense of commitment to an orphan, an elderlyresident of a retirement home or a child of an impoverishedmigrant family can be a profound experience, and it takes time,approximately three hours per week.Students complete the CAS requirement through evidenceof eight learning outcomes achieved through a continuousbalance of creativity, action and service over the two yearsof the diploma program.What is the Extended Essay?The Extended Essay is the requirement that most fully acquaintsstudents with the type of independent research and writing skillsexpected in a university. The student chooses a topic of interest,and produces the essay with guidance from a faculty supervisor.Students are introduced to the essay in semester two of Grade11. Beyond these times, students are responsible for progresson their essay and initiating contact and discussion with theirsupervisor throughout the essay writing process.One of the biggest challenges is the sustained effort requiredby the students over a period of approximately 16 months.This essay requires motivation and organization on behalf ofthe student. Many students are very proud of their essay uponcompletion, and some will even take it to university admissioninterviews as a discussion piece.The IBO recommends that the essay take a total of 40 hours ofprivate study and writing. The maximum word limit is 4,000. Thefinal draft is due in mid-November of the diploma candidate’ssecond year (Grade 12).FAQs1. What is different about IB courses?IB courses are studied over two years thus allowing for abroader study of a discipline linking a greater number oftopics. Over the two years, a variety of assessment typesare used, not just formal written exams. Also, threadedthroughout each subject are the questions that studentsconsider in their Theory of Knowledge course.2. Is the IB Diploma only for “top” students?The answer is a definite no. The rigors of the IB should notbe construed to mean that only the very best students canbenefit from the program. An average student with goodmotivation and time-management skills is an appropriatediploma candidate. Approximately 85 percent of thegraduating class are diploma candidates. Almost all studentswould benefit from taking one or more IB courses in areasof particular strength and interest, write an extendedessay or take the TOK course. Students, parents, teachersand counselors should be involved in the discussion ofappropriate course selection.3. Is the IB diploma myonly option at St. John’s?No, you can select individual IB diploma courses, write anextended essay or follow the TOK course.If you need the IB diploma in order to meet requirements atthe universities of your choice, the decision is simple: enrollas a diploma student.For most students at the school, there is choice involved.The diploma is seen as the best-rounded, rigorous and


comprehensive course of study for the final two yearsat St. John’s. When applying to universities, the diplomacan certainly be an advantage. Being part of the diplomaprogram is one very tangible way of showing yourself to bea highly motivated and inquisitive student.Furthermore, students in the diploma program receive extratraining in skills that are important for college success,such as writing the Extended Essay and the approach toknowledge provided by TOK. IB diploma students shouldfeel confident that they have been given the preparationneeded for success at even the most highly competitiveuniversities. The diploma does not, however, guaranteeadmission. Many other factors are involved in how collegesmake decisions.Some students prefer to choose a few IB subjects, but notthe full program. This would be the case if the student’sskills were adequate in some, but not all, areas. Also,students need to be wary of over-commitment. The IBdiploma (and to some extent each IB course) involves a timeand energy commitment, and it may involve having to makesome choices as you prioritize what is most important toyou.Certificates are issued for completion of individual IBcourses and will designate a score of 1–7. Scores of 5 andabove, particularly in HL courses, may receive advancedcredit at universities. A limited number of colleges in theAmericas also grant credit for IB SL courses. A transcriptshowing some IB courses is stronger than one showingnone. Colleges and universities look for students willing totake challenges.This can be a complex issue. If in doubt, discuss this furtherwith the IB coordinator and your counselor.4. How are IB courses assessed?The IB program provides a liberal education that emphasizesa philosophy of learning. Consequently, a range of externaland internal assessment types are used.a) External assessment: These components are sent toover 4,000 examiners around the world. The examiners arethemselves subject to moderation and send their resultsto the IB assessment center (e.g., written examinations,essays, research investigations, art work.b) Internal assessment: These assessments are marked bythe teacher and are subject to external moderation. Samplesare sent to examiners to ensure that the teachers’ standardsare consistent. Internal assessment takes a variety of forms(e.g., individual oral presentations and commentaries,investigation and modelling assignments, field work,laboratory experiments, research workbooks, musicalinvestigations).At both Higher (HL) and Standard Levels (SL), eachexamined subject is graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to7 (maximum). The award of a diploma requires a minimumof 24 points with satisfactory completion of the Theory ofKnowledge course, the Extended Essay and CAS. Thereare a number of failing conditions that can negate a diplomaeven if 24 points have been earned, such as a 2 in a HLsubject.5. Do all students who start the full diplomasucceed in getting it?Some students find that during Grade 11 the workload ofthe full diploma is too demanding or compromises otherpriorities. Students can drop the diploma after discussionwith the IB coordinator. For students who complete the fulltwo-year diploma program, there are criteria that must bemet before the diploma is awarded.6. What is a bilingual diploma?A bilingual diploma is awarded to diploma candidates withthe completion of two languages selected from group 1 withthe award of a grade 3 or higher in both, or if the language Ais not English.7. Can I take an IB exam inthe first year of the program?Yes! This is known as anticipated candidate: that is whenthe candidate is sitting for one or two standard levelsubjects after the first year of the program. An anticipatedsubject (or subjects) can only contribute to a diploma if takenone year before the diploma session. If a potential diplomacandidate takes an anticipated subject but does not registerfor his or her remaining diploma subjects one year later, theanticipated subject is converted to a certificate of results.8. Do I need the IB diploma to getinto a prestigious university?The only honest answer is that it depends on theuniversity. A simpler answer is “No.” No, an IB diplomais not a requirement. Every year, St. John’s has nondiplomastudents who are accepted to highly prestigiousuniversities. They have shown their intellectual abilities andtheir willingness to embrace challenge in other ways. Theyhave taken and done well in IB courses, but not the fulldiploma. Of course, we also have IB diploma students whoare accepted to prestigious universities. There is no single“key”or “ticket” into highly competitive universities. Thebest advice is to excel at and enjoy what you choose.9. If I start IB classes in Grade 11,do I have to continue in Grade 12?Students who begin an IB course are expected to completeit. Nevertheless, should a schedule change be deemedappropriate, the proper time to make it is at the end ofGrade 11. In all cases, you should base your decision oncareful thought and investigation with advice from teachers,counselors and parents. Dropping out of the full IB diplomawill require a student and parent to discuss it with theguidance counselor.10. How can I best prepare for IB classesas a student in Grades 9 and 10?Work for excellence in the courses you are already in. Ifyou are not willing to work well in Grade 10, a Grade 11 IBprogram will be unlikely to suit you. The courses you takeand the level you achieve may influence your choices in theIB. For example, you will not be prepared for Chemistry HLif you have not had success in General Chemistry. Secondly,try to improve your study skills and to start asking teachersto help you find ways to “study smart.” Many studentswaste a lot of time by not being focused or organized.11. Do I have to pay extra fees?In addition to St John’s school’s tuition, IB students worldwideare required to pay a registration fee and a subject fee.Scale of fees(September 1, 2011to August 31, 2012)Registration fee (per candidate)Before the first registration deadlineNovember 15/May 15)Subject fee (per candidate)Fee for each subject (including Theory ofKnowledge and Extended Essay whentaken as retake subjects) a candidate isregistered forCurrency12. Am I allowed to retake any IB subject?UK£Normally a re-take candidate will register for the followingMay examination session. Candidates have the opportunityto retake one or more subjects after six months if thesubject, level and response language are available. Fordiploma candidates, this includes the opportunity toresubmit Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay.The following restrictions apply.• A subject taken as an anticipated subject cannot beretaken after six months.• If a candidate is registered for the session six monthsafter his or her diploma session, the subject(s) for whichhe or she is registering must have already been taken inthe diploma session.• A candidate is not permitted to change from standardlevel to higher level in a subject being retaken after sixmonths. However, a candidate is permitted to changefrom higher level to standard level, if the diplomarequirements allow such a change.• If a six-month retake candidate is submitting an ExtendedEssay, that essay must be registered for the same subject.8257

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