Description of IB

IB logoThe International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is designed to meet the highest standards required of any high school student in the world. Successful completion of the Diploma Program earns the student a diploma recognized for university admission throughout the world and for course credit and academic placement at 1000 leading colleges and universities in the United States.

The IB Diploma Program is a system of syllabuses and examinations based on the idea that general education at the upper secondary level should encompass the development of all the main powers of the mind through which the student interprets, modifies, and enjoys his/her environment.

Embracing the last two years of secondary education, the curricula of the Diploma Program incorporates standards that assume a high level of achievement during the prior years. The subjects are outlined according to six areas:

  • Language A (English)
  • Language B (Foreign Language)
  • Individuals and Societies (Social Studies)
  • Experimental Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts and Humanities

In addition to the above courses, the IB Diploma Candidate must also take a unique course called Theory of Knowledge, participate in an intensive community service project, and write an extended essay. At FMHS and many other accredited schools, a Pre-Diploma curriculum for the ninth and tenth grades has been developed to prepare students for the full IB diploma that they can earn in the eleventh and twelfth grades.

History of IB

The idea of an International Baccalaureate---that is of an international university entrance examination that could be taken and recognized in any country---was first conceived by a group of educators in the International School of Geneva in conjunction with other international schools in Wales, New York, Teheran, Copenhagen, Paris, Frankfort, and Montevideo. Among the concerns of the founders was the ever-increasing emphasis on education as the mere delivery of information, the related fragmentation of knowledge, and the crowding out of aesthetic and creative experience.

In 1963, a grant from the Twentieth Century Fund made it possible for the International Schools Association to set up a group of educators to continue planning for the International Baccalaureate. Their studies and discussions and the programs that resulted also received substantial support from the Ford Foundations. The International Baccalaureate Program was formally initiated in Geneva in 1965.

By 1980, twenty national governments were providing financial support, and International Baccalaureate Programs were operating on five continents and in thirty-six countries. Today, there are more than 1000 member schools in over 100 countries around the world. Students have been admitted to more than 2500 universities, colleges, or other institutes of higher education, in many different countries.

The International Baccalaureate Office in Geneva is represented in Canada and the United States by the International Baccalaureate North America, Inc. (IBNA), a tax exempt, publicly supported corporation charted in New York. Almost seventy-five percent of the IBNA’s incomes is derived from foundation grants including The College Board, Exxon Education Foundation, Armand Hammer Foundation, IBM World Trade, The New York Times, Western Electric Fund,

IB Mission Statement---Education for Life

Through comprehensive and balanced curricula coupled with challenging assessments, the International Baccalaureate Organization aims to assist schools in their endeavors to develop the individual talents of young people and teach them to relate the experience of the classroom to the realities of the world outside. Beyond intellectual rigor and high academic standards, strong emphasis is placed on the ideals of international understanding and responsible citizenship, to the end that IB students may become critical and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners, and informed participants in local and world affairs, conscious of the shared humanity that binds all people together while respecting the variety of cultures and attitudes that makes for the richness of life.


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