- Upper School
Inside the IB: Grades 11 & 12
An inside look at the International Baccalaureate curriculum in an International School of Indiana classroom
Students at the International School of Indiana (ISI) participate in a universal International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, meaning every student, from our youngest learners to our seniors, engages in the holistic course of study that most U.S. schools reserve for only their top five percent of students or fewer.
At ISI, grades 11 and 12 students are able to pick between two courses of study to find their best fit to enable them to graduate successfully and gain entry to their preferred college or university. Students have the ability to choose between the Diploma Programme (DP) pathway or the IB Courses Pathway. Both pathways allow students to receive their ISI High School diplomas and graduate, but DP students additionally graduate with the internationally recognized IB Diploma.
The DP Framework
Research suggests that there are many benefits to the DP curriculum. The programme develops students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge and who succeed physically, intellectually, emotionally, and ethically.
The curriculum is made up of the DP core and six subject groups. Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills. The DP core includes the Theory of Knowledge class, the Creativity, Activity, and Service Project, and the Extended Essay. The DP core is created to make students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research, and undertake a project that often involves community service.
The Extended Essay
The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in their final two years of high school. It is a broad-based, two-year course that aims to prepare students for university by encouraging students to be knowledgeable and inquiring but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and be able to evaluate a range of points of view.
The Extended Essay is an opportunity for students to gain experience with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. Students are able to investigate a topic they personally care about from class and create a 4,000-word piece of independent research over the course of a year.
The Extended Essay prepares students for university and beyond by developing the following skills:
- Long-Term Project and Time Management - Students undertaking the Extended Essay will need to identify and develop the necessary self-management skills to be successful. The benefits of the development of these skills are recognized when students progress to university and the workplace and are expected to be able to manage their workloads and competing priorities.
- Research Skills - Students are able to engage in a wide variety of research depending on their choice of research topic and subject area. All students, regardless of their research area, are required to undertake a literature review that demonstrates their knowledge and understanding in context, and this requires them to be able to make informed choices about the relevancy, reliability, and validity of secondary source material
- Working with Supervisor - Although the Extended Essay is completed by students individually, all students are required to work with an appointed staff supervisor. The supervision and reflection process is to ensure that students are given the opportunity to explore ideas, issues, and challenges in a supportive environment.
- Conceptual Understanding Across Disciplines - For successful completion of the Extended Essay, it is crucial that students demonstrate their in-depth knowledge and understanding of their chosen topic. Students who are able to engage critically in discussion about the concepts relevant to their area of research are able to demonstrate at a deeper level how different aspects of their learning are connected.
- Communicating Big Ideas - The Extended Essay requires students to demonstrate their ability to communicate on a research topic of their choice in a specific way: in an academic paper. They will need to formulate arguments clearly and coherently, as well as draft and proofread their own work.
- Attention to Detail & Following Guidelines - All Extended Essays have the same requirements for formatting and presentation, citing sources, and final submission. As students move on to college, the ability to follow guidelines is necessary for their future success in university and career environments.