IB Program

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme involves study in Grades 11 and 12 and leads to the examinations of the International Baccalaureate.  It is designed as a comprehensive and academically demanding curriculum, which is internationally recognized as an excellent preparation for university study. Based on the educational tradition of no single country,  it represents the desire to provide students of different linguistic, cultural and educational backgrounds with the intellectual, social, and critical perspectives necessary for the world in which the students are about to embark.


The IB Diploma


To qualify for the IB Diploma award students must choose six subjects. The selection of three subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL) requires students to engage in the study of Languages, Sciences, Mathematics, and Individuals and Societies until the completion of secondary schooling.  It is a deliberate compromise between the preference of specialization in some countries and the breadth often preferred in others. The intent is that students should learn how to learn, how to analyze, and how to reach considered conclusions about languages, literature, society and the scientific nature of our global environment.  For the IB Diploma, six subjects must be chosen by selecting one from each of the following groups:


Group 1


Group 2

Language A (English Literature)


Language B (Language Acquisition)

English HL/SL


French (SL), German(SL), Latin(SL),

    Spanish(SL ), Chinese (SL)

Group 3


Individuals and Society


History of the Americas HL/SL,  Economics (SL) (Micro and Macro), Psychology HL/SL, Social and Cultural Anthropology (SL/HL)


Group 4


Experimental Sciences


Biology HL/SL,  Chemistry HL/SL, Physics HL/SL, Sports and Exercise Health Science (SL)


Group 5




Pre-Calculus (X), Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP, Math (SL)


Group 6


The Arts


Visual Arts HL/SL, Music HL/SL, Theatre (HL/SL)


In addition to these academic subjects the students will participate in a)            Extended Essay

b)         The Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

c)         Creativity, Action and Service (CAS)




Candidates for the IB Certificate are eligible to enroll in any of the IB courses that are offered in the six groups listed above.  Candidates for the IB Diploma Programme must have completed second-year algebra by the end of their sophomore year and must meet all Cathedral graduation requirements.



Conditions for the Award of an IB Diploma


Each of the six academic subjects is graded on a 1-7 scale (1 is poor and 7 is excellent) on the final examination. A maximum of three bonus points may be awarded according to the combined standard of a student’s TOK and Extended Essay work. Therefore, the maximum point total is 45. To qualify for the IB Diploma the student achieves a minimum of 24 points, submits an Extended Essay and has fulfilled the CAS and TOK requirements.


Creativity, Action, Service


The CAS requirement takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship, providing a refreshing counterbalance to the academic self-absorption some may feel in a demanding school program. Students are encouraged to share their artistic, athletic and other special talents with the community.  Over the course of the junior and the senior years, students engage in both long-term service projects and multiple

activities within the school environment and in the greater community.  Students are required to keep records of each CAS activity, to do a self-evaluation, and to submit a final summary report for the CAS program. Students begin their involvement by the first day of junior year and must provide evidence of all learner outcomes. The CAS requirement serves as the students Cathedral service requirement.


Extended Essay (EE)


The Extended Essay is an in-depth writing project that evolves over a year long period.  Its goal is to enable students to experience independent research and to practice effective methods of written expression such as those undertaken in college.  Under the direction of a faculty mentor, the student will focus, develop, and compose the essay on a topic of his/her choice. The essay must be, at most, 4,000 words in length and adhere to specific subject assessment criteria given to the student during the junior year. A central component of the full diploma programme, the extended essay is submitted in the student’s senior year.


Theory of Knowledge (TOK)


Theory of Knowledge is a one year course. The class is taken the second semester of the junior year and the first semester of the senior year, and provides a substantive base to the IB curriculum.  Its aim is to examine methods of thinking across the content areas, challenging students to reflect on and develop their critical and creative abilities.  Course work will focus on discussion, written expression and creative projects on the range of methodologies and beliefs found in the humanities, social and natural sciences, ethical, moral, and aesthetic thought, and logical argumentation.  Students discuss knowledge, language and communication as it relates to each of the academic areas. The ultimate design of the course is to affirm the value of open inquiry as the key to all learning.