What does it mean to be an International Baccalaureate (IB) school?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a philosophy for teaching and learning as well as a diploma that students can earn above and beyond the regular high school diploma. All students can participate in IB classes and any student can pursue the IB diploma--there are no prerequisites. West Jordan is uniquely prepared to become an IB World School. We are grateful for our diverse student population and supportive community. Our faculty and staff already embrace much of the IB mission, which states: The International Baccalaureate® 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 organization works with schools, governments and international organizations 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. Although IB courses may be considered more rigorous than what some students have experienced, ALL West Jordan High students are encouraged to participate and we are committed to providing support so ALL students can succeed.

What courses will WJHS offer the first year?

What courses will WJHS offer the first year? IB Language & Literature IB History of the Americas IB Biology
IB Spanish ab initio IB Dance IB Visual Arts
IB Mathematics Applications & Interpretations Theory of Knowledg

What is the Diploma Programme

What is the Diploma Programme?

The Diploma Programme (DP) is a curriculum framework designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for students in the last two years of high school (junior/senior year). IB students graduating with the IB diploma are able to study at universities all around the world, often with advanced credit. Students report that their involvement with the IB has given them the tools needed to succeed at college and beyond. In particular, students comment on their sense of preparedness, self-confidence, research skills and their ability to manage their time. Even more important, they have developed a sense of the world around them and their responsibility to it.

In order to receive an IB diploma, students must complete the following requirements:

  • Diploma Programme students study six subjects (at least three at standard level and three at higher level) over two years.
  • DP students also complete three additional requirements: the theory of knowledge (TOK), the extended essay and at least 150 hours of CAS—creativity, activity and service tasks outside of the classroom.
  • In addition to these requirements, students must earn a minimum of 24 points out of a possible 45 points on the final assessments which are externally marked and moderated by the IB, in order to receive an IB diploma.

It is easy to see why receiving the IB diploma is viewed as a prestigious accomplishment. Completing the above requirements will not only result in numerous post-high school opportunities, but develop a well-rounded individual with skills necessary to be successful in those endeavors.

What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?

TOK is an interdisciplinary course designed to help students question and understand how they
know what they know. Students study how individuals from various disciplines view the world
in order to develop their own ways of thinking. By stimulating analysis of knowledge across
disciplines, TOK seeks to help students make sense of school and the world.

What is Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) in IB?

CAS is an experiential learning component of the DP. Students complete a wide variety of
extracurricular, community service and athletic options to fulfill this requirement. These
experiences take place separate from any IB course, but West Jordan High has a CAS supervisor
who will help students track their experiences and find opportunities as needed. Students will
work on the CAS requirements over an 18-month period.

What is the Extended Essay requirement in IB?

The extended essay introduces students to the demands and rewards of independent work. Emphasis is placed on doing personal research and communicating ideas effectively in order to write a 4,000-word essay in an area of personal interest. Although the extended essay is not part of an IB course or grade, an introduction, explanation, and instructions will be provided in the TOK course. Also, each student will have an assigned teacher mentor to offer direction and support. They will meet with their mentor three times while they are working on their essay. The EE is great preparation, on a smaller scale, for what many university papers or research will require of students. It is also another way that IB encourages students to consider big ideas and questions and conduct meaningful inquiry.

How do colleges and universities view the Diploma Programme?

The DP is internationally recognized as representing one of the highest standards in university preparatory education. More than 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have recognition policies on how they weigh it in admissions, advanced standing, college credit and scholarships. Students with the IB diploma have a better chance of admissions at prestigious universities than those without an IB diploma.
Be sure to check out the “University Credit Guide” located at westjordanhigh.org to see a
summary of how Utah colleges and universities apply the IB diploma for credit.

What kind of student is a good candidate for the DP?

The DP is a rigorous course of study for motivated students. That said, prior academic success is less an indicator of ability to earn the diploma than a student’s determination to do his or her best, willingness to be organized in order to complete the work while leading a full, balanced life, and a strong commitment to learning in and beyond the classroom.

Do DP students have time for anything beyond academics?

Absolutely. Most successful Diploma Programme students lead very full lives. They are often
members of athletic teams and involved in a wide range of activities. Time management and
organization are key skills the IB develops in students. Completing the CAS requirements is
specifically regarding experiences beyond academics. The challenge in the early years of the
West Jordan High DP program is that the number of course offerings for IB are limited. Each
year we will increase the number of IB courses. If you have a particular WJ activity or group in which you want to participate, and they have a class during the school day, visit with the IB coordinator or counselor to see how/where that will work in your schedule.

Is the IB program considered a “gifted” program?

The IB program at West Jordan High is open to all students. There is not a GPA requirement,
test score, or prerequisite courses that a student needs in order to participate in the IB program or courses. If a student has previously participated in a Gifted and Talented or ALPS program, they will likely find some similarities in the approach to teaching and learning within IB classes.

Do DP teachers receive special training?

All DP teachers receive professional development in the IB’s approaches to teaching and
approaches to learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement for IB World
Schools implementing the DP. All of West Jordan’s IB teachers completed this requirement as part of our application process to become an IB World School. The IB teachers also work as a collaborative team regarding their teaching practices and to discuss ways to improve learning for the IB students.

What is the difference between the IB diploma and certificates?

Not all students choose to take the full course load leading to an IB diploma. Instead, some take a few DP courses in areas where they have a particular interest or strength, similar to honours and Advanced Placement classes. Certificates are awarded on a course-by-course basis to students who choose not to do the full programme. Students who satisfactorily complete a DP course earn a certificate and may be eligible for university credit.

How does the IB DP differ from other university-preparatory programs such as Advanced Placement?

The IB DP is a two-year comprehensive curriculum with a culminating set of externally graded final exams. IB, Advanced Placement (AP) and other college-preparatory curriculums are all university preparatory, academically rigorous programmes. There are important differences, however, in the content and exams. The DP is a cohesive and comprehensive programme, not a collection of individual courses as is the case with Advanced Placement. The most important distinguishing factor is the core of the Diploma Programme (CAS, TOK and extended essay). Earning the diploma is a designation not available with AP or concurrent enrollment.
You may want to review our “ How does IB compare to other courses that can earn college
credit like concurrent enrollment and AP? ” link on the IB home page at westjordanhigh.org
where we compare the Advanced Placement, concurrent enrollment, and IB courses and paths
available at West Jordan High.

International Baccalaureate
Frequently Asked Questions