International Baccalaureate - Diploma Programme (DP) » Diploma Programme (DP)

Diploma Programme (DP)

Meridian School has been granted authorization for the Diploma Years Program as of March 2014. Read more about this program below!

Meridian School received authorization from the International Baccalaureate (IB) to offer the Diploma Program curriculum (DP). This enables students to pursue the IB Diploma in addition to a Meridian School Diploma. In order to receive the IB Diploma, students must complete a two year course in each of six different subject groups. In addition they must take a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course both the junior and senior years, complete the Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) program, and an Extended Essay (EE). Whether or not students are awarded the IB Diploma is based upon satisfactory completion of the above elements, as well as receiving an average passing score of 4 out of a possible 7 points on exams in their six IBDP subject group courses that are completed in May of the senior year.

Students at Meridian School are not required to pursue the IB Diploma. All students will complete CAS and an Extended Essay, but if they are not pursuing the IB Diploma these results will not be sent to IB. Subject group courses will cover IB curriculum elements, but students who choose to take these courses at the IB level will be graded more rigorously and the courses will be listed as “IB” courses on these students’ transcripts. College admissions officers look more favorably upon courses that are taken at the “IB” level, and especially like when it is indicated that a student is pursuing the IB Diploma. For this reason, and especially the educational benefits that accompany the IB Diploma, all Meridian students are encouraged to pursue the IB Diploma.


Fees for IB Diploma Coursework

The International Baccalaureate charges fees for IB exams, and Meridian students taking courses at the “IB” level will need to pay the costs of these exam fees. There is a one-time candidate fee, plus a fee for each of the six subject courses in which an exam is taken. For the Meridian graduating class of 2016, the fee for all of the coursework involved in pursuing the IB Diploma will be $880 (approximately $150 per IB course exam). This is payable in four installments, the first $220 due in March 2015, the next $220 due in May 2015, and the final two installments of $220 due in August and October of 2015. These fees will be paid to IB in the fall of 2015. If for some reason a student is unable to take an IB course exam and this decision is made prior to the fall of 2015, all IB exam fees paid to Meridian up to that point will be refunded in full.

Financial hardship should not stand in the way of a student being able to pursue the IB Diploma. If a family is unable to pay IB exam fees due to financial hardship, they should contact the Meridian School business office to pursue a scholarship.


Course Selection

Students in the 11th and 12th grades at Meridian School will register for courses in seven different areas, which are required to pursue the IB Diploma. IB DP courses in groups 1 through 6 are all two years in length. They begin the junior year and are completed the senior year. Courses in groups 1 through 6 are taken at either Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL). Students pursuing the IB Diploma take three or four courses at Higher Level, and three or two courses at Standard Level. Both Higher and Standard Level courses are advanced courses, but HL courses cover more topics than SL. In addition to taking courses in groups 1 through 6, students also take a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course for a semester in both the junior and senior years.

Group 1—Language and Literature
IB DP English Literature HL

Group 2—Language Acquisition
IB DP Spanish SL or HL

Group 3—Individuals and Society
IB DP History HL, Americas and 20th Century World Topics

Group 4—Sciences
IB DP Biology SL or HL, or
IB DP Chemistry SL or HL

Group 5—Mathematics
IB DP Mathematical Studies SL, or
IB DP Mathematics SL

Group 6—Fine Arts and Electives
IB DP Theater SL or HL, or
IB DP Visual Arts SL or HL, or
An additional course in Group 4

Theory of Knowledge
IB DP Theory of Knowledge (spring of junior year and fall of senior year)
In addition to the IB DP Theory of Knowledge course, students will take a state-required US Government course in the fall of the junior year and state-required Economics in the spring of the senior year.


IB Diploma Program Exams

Students pursuing the IB Diploma will take IB exams for each of the IB DP courses in which they are enrolled. The majority of these exams are composed of tests, known as “Papers” (Paper 1, Paper 2, etc.) taken in May of the senior year. A portion of the exam in each IB course is composed of “Internal Assessments” which take a different form in each course, such as an oral presentation in English, a research paper in History, experiments in the Sciences, a project in Math, and a research workbook in Visual Art. These Internal Assessments are marked by the teacher and marked samples are sent to an IB moderator to verify that the marks are in accordance with the IB standard. Based upon student achievement on the Papers and the Internal Assessments, IB will award students a grade in each course ranging from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). IB awards these grades in July after the students have completed their senior year. Many colleges will award college credit for IB courses based upon the scores achieved on IB exams.

Whether or not students are awarded the IB Diploma depends upon several factors, including:
• Taking six appropriate IB DP courses and earning an average exam score of 4 overall,
• Taking and earning a passing score in Theory of Knowledge (TOK),
• Completing the Extended Essay (EE) and earning a passing score, and
• Fulfilling the requirements of Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS).


Extended Essay (EE)

The Extended Essay is a piece of research writing up to 4,000 words in length that students complete over the second half of the junior year and first half of the senior year. Students may choose any subject area in which they are taking an IB course to write their EE. With the assistance of an EE supervisor in that subject, students will craft a question that they wish to answer, research a variety of sources (and if their EE is in the Sciences, design and carry out an experiment), and write an analytical answer to their question. Completing the EE prepares students extremely well for completing similar tasks in college.


Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS)

Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) is at the heart of the IB Diploma Program, and involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Program. The three strands of CAS, often interwoven in particular activities, are:
• Creativity: arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking,
• Activity: physical exertion that contributes to a healthy lifestyle, such as sports and other exercise, and
• Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student.

CAS activities should be:
• Purposeful, with significant outcomes,
• Personally challenging,
• Undertaken with thoughtful consideration and planning, and
• Reflected upon to assure that personal learning outcomes have been achieved.

CAS activities should be ongoing, occurring on a regular basis throughout the junior and senior years. Each student will have a CAS advisor with whom they will meet several times each year, discussing the progress of their CAS activities and reflecting upon the outcomes. Ultimately, CAS helps to ensure that student academic growth is accompanied by fulfilling personal growth.