Why more schools are offering the International Baccalaureate


An increasing number of students across Australia are completing the International Baccalaureate (IB) as an alternative to Year 12 state and territory-based certificates such as the HSC. Since 2000, Australian participation in the IB has tripled with over 2500 students receiving an IB Diploma in 2021.

Last year's cohort made headlines with record results, and a 98% pass rate well above the global average. As the IB Diploma emerges as an alternative entry way to leading universities, more schools are beginning to adopt the program.

What is the IB?

Established in 1968, the IB is an international curriculum of study which caters to mobile families and prepares students to participate in a global society. In Australia, there are 212 IB schools with 85 offering the IB Diploma Programme.

The IB Diploma is a globally recognised qualification with easy transferability and comparability of results between different states and countries. The two year course beginning in Year 11 enables students to be a part of a world learning program present in 7500 schools worldwide.

What does it offer?

The IB Diploma provides a well rounded education that offers students a wider breadth of subjects to study compared to many state based certificates. Students are required to study one subject from each of the following groups:
  • Language & Literature
  • Language Acquisition (Second language)
  • Individuals & Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts

Although, a common critique of the programme is that its emphasis on breadth such as requirements to study a second language discourages specialisation. Many state based certificates allow students to customise their senior education towards preferred subject areas and interests.

Difference from traditional year 12 certificates

IB Diploma students must also complete The Diploma Programme Core which has three additional required components. These include:
  • Theory of knowledge: a course reflecting on the nature of knowledge
  • Extended essay: an in-depth research paper of around 4000 words
  • Creativity, activity and service: approximately 4 hours per week of arts, physical activity or community service

Is it the right choice?

Both state based certificates and the IB Diploma provide rich learning opportunities so determining which is the right choice can be difficult. It is important to consider which option matches the long term goals of a student and whether they would prefer a broad educational approach or more flexibility.

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