International Baccalaureate


The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly known as The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, founded in 1968.[1][2] IB offers four educational programmes for children aged 3–19.[3] The organization’s name and logo were changed in 2007 to reflect a reorganisation. Consequently, “IB” can refer to the organisation itself, any of the four programmes, or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of the programme.[4]

Marie-Thérèse Maurette[5] created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) in 1948 when she wrote ‘Educational Techniques for peace. Do they exist?’.[6] In the mid-1960s, a group of teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate (IB).[7] by Peter Nehr, International Baccalaureate Africa, Europe and Middle-East (IBAEM) was established in 1986,[8] and International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific (IBAP) established during the same period.[9]

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) adheres to the study of eight subject areas and was developed and piloted in the mid-1990s. Within five years 51 countries had MYP schools.[10] The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) was piloted in 1996 in thirty primary schools on different continents, and the first PYP school was authorised in 1997,[11] with as many as 87 authorised schools in 43 countries within five years.[12] The newest offering from the IB, the IB Career-related Programme (formerly IB Career-related Certificate[13]) is designed for students of ages 16 to 19 who want to engage in career-related learning. The IB introduced its newly reviewed MYP for first teaching in September 2014.[14]

The IB learner profile[edit]

As the IB’s mission in action, the learner profile concisely describes the aspirations of a global community that shares the values underlying the IB’s educational philosophy. The IB learner profile describes the attributes and outcomes of education for international-mindedness. IB learners strive to be: follows:[15]

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

All four programmes (PYP, MYP, DP and CP) use the IB learner profile.

Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum outline[edit]

Main article: IB Diploma Programme

Age Range: 16-19

DP Core [16]

  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
  • The Extended Essay (EE)
  • Creativity Activity and Service (CAS)

Subject areas [16]

  • Studies in Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts

Career-related Programme (CP) curriculum outline[edit]

Age Range: 16-19

Three-part framework[17]

  • Study of at least two Diploma Programme courses
  • Career-related studies (terminology differs across the world – vocational, professional, technical qualifications and other definitions).
  • CP core

CP Core

  • Personal and professional skills course
  • Service learning
  • Reflective project
  • Language development

Middle Years Programme (MYP) curriculum outline[edit]

Age range: 11-16

Six global contexts

  • Identities and relationships
  • Personal and cultural identity
  • Orientations in space and time
  • Scientific and technical innovation
  • Fairness and development
  • Globalization and sustainability

Eight subject areas

  • Language Acquisition
  • Language and Literature
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Mathematics
  • Design
  • Arts
  • Sciences
  • Physical and Health Education

Culminating activity for schools offering a 3- to 5-year program[18]

  • Personal project: MYP 5
  • Community Project: MYP 3-4

Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum outline[edit]

Age range: 3-12

Six transdisciplinary themes

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organise ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Six subject areas

  • Language
  • Social studies
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Science
  • Personal, social and physical education

Five essential elements

  • Concepts
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Action



The International Baccalaureate (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. To this end the organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.—International Baccalaureate Mission Statement[20]

The IB is a not-for-profit educational foundation. The IB maintains its Foundation Office inGeneva, Switzerland. The Assessment Centre is located in Cardiff, Wales and the curriculum centre moved in 2011 to The Hague, Netherlands. Three Global Centres have been opened: Bethesda, Maryland (within the metropolitan area of Washington, DC) in the United States, Singapore and The Hague.

The organisation is divided into three regional centres: IB Africa, Europe and Middle East (IBAEM), administered from The Hague; IB Americas (IBA), administered from Bethesda and Buenos Aires, Argentina; and IB Asia-Pacific (IBAP), administered from Singapore.[21]

Sub-regional associations “are groups formed by and for IB school practitioners to assist IB schools, teachers and students in their communities—from implementing IB programmes to providing a forum for dialogue.”[22] There are currently fifty-six (56) sub-regional associations, including:

  • fifteen (15) in the IB Africa, Europe and Middle East (IBAEM) region;[23]
  • thirty-six (36) in the IB Americas (IBA) region;[24] and
  • five in the IB Asia Pacific (IBAP) region.[25]

In 2003, the IB established the IB Fund, incorporated in the United States, for the purpose of enhancing fundraising and keeping funds raised separate from operational funds.[26] In 2004, the IB approved a strategic plan to “ensure that programmes and services are of the highest quality” and “to provide access to people who are socio-economically disadvantaged.”[27] In 2010 and 2015 the strategic plans were updated after substantial consultation. The vision for the next 5 years was to more consciously establish the IB as a leader in international education and the Board outlined a vision and four strategic goals with key strategic objective.[28]

Access remains fundamental to the mission of the IB and a variety of initiatives and projects are helping to take it forward in Ecuador, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Spain, Malaysia, and Japan[29]

The United States has the largest number of IB programmes (2,010 out of 5,586) offered in both private and public schools.[30]

The IB works with governments and non-governmental organizations across the world and has consultative status as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has collaborative relationships with the Council of Europe and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).[31]


The IB governance is composed of an IB Board of Governors and six committees (access and advancement, audit, education, finance, human resources and governance). The Board of Governors appoints the Director General, sets the strategic direction of the organisation, adopts a mission statement, makes policy, oversees the IB’s financial management, and ensures autonomy and integrity of the IB Diploma Programme examinations and other student assessment. The structure of its different committees are based on respect, representation and collaboration.[32]

The Board of Governors can comprise between 15 and 25 members. Members are elected by the Board on the recommendation of the governance committee, and from nominations presented from the Heads Council, Regional Councils and the Board. To encourage diversity of gender, culture and geography, there are only three ex officio positions: Director General (non-voting), the chair of the Examining Board and the chair of the Heads Council.[33]

Advisory bodies include the Heads Council and Regional Councils[34]


Countries with 40+ schools teaching IB programmes & Global Totals (as of 12 May 2016)[35]
United Kingdom141312513132
Hong Kong32929156
Total Schools Globally1,3751,2642,9971184,460
Countries & Territories1049714018151

The IB Diploma Programme was described as “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world” when it was featured in the December 18, 2006, edition of Time titled “How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century”.[36] The IBDP was also featured in the summer 2002 edition of American Educator, where Robert Rothman described it as “a good example of an effective, instructionally sound, exam-based system.”[37] In 2006, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI),[38] President George W. Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings presented a plan for the expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate mathematics and science courses, with the goal of increasing the number of AP and IB teachers and the number of students taking AP and IB exams, as well as tripling the number of students passing those exams.[38] Howard Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at Harvard University, said that the IBDP curriculum is “less parochial than most American efforts” and helps students “think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking.”[39]

In 2006, government ministers in the United Kingdom provided funding so that “every local authority in England could have at least one centre offering sixth-formers the chance to do the IB.”[40] In 2008, due to the devaluing of the A-Levels and an increase in the number of students taking the IB exams, then-Children’s Secretary Ed Balls abandoned a “flagship Tony Blair pledge to allow children in all areas to study IB.” Fears of a “two-tier” education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor emerged as the growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges.[41] While the number of Diploma Programme state schools has dropped under budget constraints, the new Career-related Programme has seen solid uptake in the UK with 27 schools in Kent alone.[42]

In 2006, an attempt was made to eliminate it from a public school in Pittsburgh, PA.[43][44] Some schools in the United States have eliminated the IBDP due to budgetary reasons and low student participation.[45][46] In Utah in 2008, funding for the IBDP was reduced from $300,000 to $100,000 after State Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, “First, I have never espoused eliminating IB …I don’t want to create ‘world citizens’ nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world.”[47][48] But not everyone agrees and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago believes IB needs to be an option for students in Chicago Public Schools.[49] Elizabeth Brackett reports on the IB in Chicago.[50] A report[51] by the University of Chicago concluded that Chicago Public School students who completed the IB programme were 40% more likely to attend a four-year college, 50% more likely to attend a selective four-year college, and significantly more likely to persist in college than their matched peers outside the program.” The City of Miami Beach Commission entered into an education compact with Miami-Dade County Public Schools with one of the initiatives of the compact to implement the IB program throughout Miami Beach feeder schools.[52]

In other parts of the world IB programs has been well received.

In 2013, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the IB announced a plan that will expand the opportunities for Japanese students to complete the IB curriculum in Japanese.[53] In Malaysia a project has been developed in response to interest expressed by the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MoE) in working with the IB to implement the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) in select secondary state schools.[54] The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) signed an agreement with the IB in efforts to widen the options offered for parents and to meet the different needs of students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).[55] In April 2014 The King Faisal Foundation in Saudi Arabia and the IB signed a memorandum of understanding to develop IB programs, including the IBDP, in up to 40 primary and secondary schools, with the goal of developing these schools as centres of excellence as IB World Schools.[56] In Peru President Ollanta Humala has committed to building a high performing schools network (COAR) made up of IB World Schools. In early 2016 13 new schools were authorized by the IB as part of this programme.[57] In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa has also committed to improving education in state schools by implementing IB programmes and by January 2016 there were over 200 state schools.[58] With support from local organisations,[59] there are 13 state IB schools in Russia. In Spain various models have been implemented (3 types of schools in Spain: public schools, private schools and state funded-private or ‘concerted’ schools) and led to extensive growth with 140 schools.[60]

Internationally the IB continues to be recognised as innovative, and in 2014 The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) announced the IB Career-related Certificate as a finalist for their annual WISE Awards.[61]


The IB conducts its own research or commissions research from renowned universities or research institutions around the globe. Research is used to understand and track the implementation and impact of the IB’s programmes or to support development of the programmes. There is also a wealth of third party research available:

Allegations of plagiarism[edit]

Jeffrey Beard, a past director-general of International Baccalaureate, gave a talk on “Education for a Better World” on 5 August 2010 at the Chautauqua Institution inNew York State. The institution issued a statement the next day in which it expressed “genuine disappointment” with the talk, noting that it “drew heavily upon and quoted extensively from a speech given earlier in the year by Sir Ken Robinson”, while adding that he “neglected to cite his source or reveal the quotations for what they were”.[63] Ken Robinson is a renowned British educationist who lives in the United States. Through an IB spokesperson, Beard admitted that “he could have been more explicit about the sources and authors that inspired him for the content of this speech”.[63] In a letter sent to heads of schools that offer the IB curricula, he described this as an “unfortunate incident” due to an “oversight”.[64]

In an apparently unrelated development, the Times Educational Supplement revealed on 8 October 2010, that significant portions of one of IB’s marking guides for the IB Diploma Programme was lifted wholesale from unattributed websites, including Wikipedia.[65] In a letter to schools, IB director-general Beard wrote: “We have and always will take immediate and appropriate action when we discover any violation of our policies or standards.” The examiner responsible for the plagiarism resigned from the examination board five weeks after the issue came to light.[66]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ IB headquarters.” International Baccalaureate. Retrieved on 25 September 2009.
  2. Jump up^ “Overview of the International Baccalaureate Organization”. Retrieved7 December 2006.
  3. Jump up^ “Three Programmes at a Glance”. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  4. Jump up^ “IB Identity Announcement”. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  5. Jump up^ “George Walker”.
  6. Jump up^ “UNESCO Resources Publications” (PDF). Retrieved 8 Jan 2015.
  7. Jump up^ Elisabeth Fox (2001). “The Emergence of the International Baccalaureate as an Impetus to Curriculum Reform”. In Mary Hayden and Jeff Thompson. International Education: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 141.ISBN 9780749436162.
  8. Jump up^ Peterson, p. 267
  9. Jump up^ Peterson, p. 265
  10. Jump up^ Peterson, p. 243
  11. Jump up^ “International Baccalaureate”.
  12. Jump up^ Peterson, p. 246
  13. Jump up^
  14. Jump up^ “IB Middle Years Programme at a glance”.
  15. Jump up^ |title=Learner Profile
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b “DP curriculum – International Baccalaureate®”. International Baccalaureate®.
  17. Jump up^
  18. Jump up^ “IB Middle Years Programme curriculum”.
  19. Jump up^ “International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme”. International Baccalaureate Organization 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  20. Jump up^ “IB Learner Profile” (PDF). IB Learner Profile Booklet. November 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  21. Jump up^ “IB Global Centres”. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  22. Jump up^ “Associations of IB World Schools”. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  23. Jump up^ “world school associations”. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  24. Jump up^ “Associations”. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  25. Jump up^ “IB Asia Pacific region”. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  26. Jump up^ “The president’s view on Fundraising and the strategic plan” (PDF). IB World. International Baccalaureate Organization. 40: 8. August 2004. Retrieved 13 July2009.
  27. Jump up^ “IBO strategic plan approved” (PDF). IB World. International Baccalaureate Organization. 40: 2. August 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
  28. Jump up^ Strategic plan. Retrieved on 17 August 2013.
  29. Jump up^ “IB Annual Review” (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  30. Jump up^ “Find an IB World School”. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  31. Jump up^ “Governments”. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  32. Jump up^ “Governance and leadership”. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  33. Jump up^ “The IB Board of Governors”. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  34. Jump up^ “Advisory Bodies”. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  35. Jump up^ “International Baccalaureate”.
  36. Jump up^ Wallis, Claudia (10 December 2006). “How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century”. Time. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  37. Jump up^ Rothman, Robert (Summer 2002). “A test worth teaching to”. American Educator. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  38. ^ Jump up to:a b “Expanding the Advanced Placement Initiative Program” (PDF). US Department of Education. February 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  39. Jump up^ Gross, Jane (21 June 2003). “Diploma for the ‘Top of the Top’; International Baccalaureate Gains Favor in Region”. The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July2009.
  40. Jump up^ Shepard, Jessica (10 February 2009). “Leap from Cardiff to Amsterdam for Baccalaureate”. London. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  41. Jump up^ Clark, Laura (19 May 2009). “Fears of ‘two-tier’ education system as pupils taking rival exam to A-levels rise by 40%”. Daily MailOnline. London. Retrieved 29 July2009.
  42. Jump up^
  43. Jump up^ Ward, Paula Reed (16 February 2006). “Cutting international program embroils Upper St. Clair board in controversy”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  44. Jump up^ Walters, Joanna (14 March 2006). “All American Trouble”. London. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  45. Jump up^ Kranhert III, John (21 March 2009). “Pinecrest Drops IB Program”. The Pilot. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  46. Jump up^ Martindale, Scott (12 March 2008). “175 Saddleback Valley Unified teachers face layoffs”. OCRegister. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  47. Jump up^ Dayton, Margaret (21 May 2008). “The Senate Site”. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  48. Jump up^ “League of Women Voters of Utah”. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  49. Jump up^ “Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett challenge perceptions of CPS”. Chicago Tribune. 13 December 2013.
  50. Jump up^ “International Baccalaureate Program”. Chicago Tonight – WTTW.
  51. Jump up^ “Working to My Potential: The Postsecondary Experiences of CPS Students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme”.
  52. Jump up^ “Official Website – City of Miami Beach”.
  53. Jump up^ “Japanese Students Obtain Greater Opportunities to Pursue an IB Education”
  54. Jump up^
  55. Jump up^ “ADEC signs a protocol agreement with the International Baccalaureate Organization today”. ADEC.
  56. Jump up^ “Faisal Foundation, IBO sign accord”.
  57. Jump up^
  58. Jump up^
  59. Jump up^
  60. Jump up^
  61. Jump up^ “Introduction”.
  62. Jump up^ “Diploma Years Studies – Research – International Baccalaureate®”.International Baccalaureate®.
  63. ^ Jump up to:a b William Stewart (17 September 2010). “Caught red-handed: IB boss plagiarising”. Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  64. Jump up^ William Stewart (8 October 2010). “IB chief pleads ‘oversight’ led to plagiarisation speech”. Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  65. Jump up^ William Stewart (10 October 2010). “IB lifted exam marking guides from Wikipedia”. Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  66. Jump up^ William Stewart (15 October 2010). “IB examiner stayed in post after Wiki plagiarism revealed”. Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 6 January 2011.

External links[edit]