The Diploma Programme core:

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (ToK) is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. It is a core element which all IB DP students undertake, and it is a subject considered integral at ISH. In essence, the ToK course examines how we know what we claim to know.
In ToK at ISH, students study six areas of knowledge in depth: the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, mathematics, history and ethics. Students also focus on four ways of knowing in depth: reason, sense perception, language and intuition.

Extended Essay

In a 4,000 word essay each student has the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest. The essay requirements acquaint IB DP students with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities. For further details see the IB DP Extended Essay Guide.

Creativity, Action and Service (CAS)

Creativity, Action & Service (CAS) is at the core of the Diploma Programme.
Through experiential learning CAS offers the opportunity to develop skills of communication, collaboration, ethics, leadership, creativity, patience, determination and so much more. It is not impossible to learn these in a classroom but it is much easier, and they will hold deeper resonance, when learned through active experimentation on real world problems, in a real world setting.
The three strands can be characterised as follows:

  • CREATIVITY - arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • ACTION - physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the IB Diploma Programme
  • SERVICE - an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student.

Activities carried out should provide: real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes

  • personal challenge - tasks must challenge the student and be achievable
  • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress and reporting
  • reflection on outcomes and personal learning.

CAS should be both challenging & enjoyable, a personal journey of self-discovery that will be different for each student.

The curriculum:

Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature

All Language A courses at ISH are intended for students who have studied the language at MYP Language A level or equivalent.

Language A: Language and Literature is offered in English, Dutch, Spanish, French and German. These courses aim to develop in students an understanding of how language, culture and context determine the ways in which meaning is constructed in texts. Both literary and non-literary texts are used to enable students to develop an appreciation of the nature, power, and beauty of language and literature.

Language A: Literature is offered in English and Dutch. These courses aim to develop in students an understanding of techniques involved in literary criticism and an ability to form independent literary judgments. Students will study a total of 13 texts at Higher Level and 10 texts at Standard Level.

Group 2: Language Acquisition

IB DP students at ISH can take Language B courses in English, Dutch, Spanish, French and German. Learning the language will be achieved through the development of listening skills, reading skills, writing skills and speaking skills. All skills will be practiced through a variety of activities in oral and written form. The course aims to develop intercultural understanding by exposing the student to different cultures within the target language.

Group 3: Individuals and Societies

Individuals and Societies encompasses a broad range of subjects. In our Diploma Programme five separate subjects are offered – Business & Management, Economics, Geography, History and Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS). Students can choose whether to study these subjects at Higher Level or Standard Level. An interdisciplinary subject with science, Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) can be studied at Standard Level. Although each of these courses has very distinct content, they involve common skills. Each subject is designed to foster the capacity to critically analyse and evaluate theories, concepts and arguments relating to the nature and activities of individuals and societies.

Group 4: Sciences

ISH offers Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) as Group 4 subjects. A common curriculum model applies to all the Sciences. This model offers a parallel structure at both Higher and Standard Level, whereby a core of material is studied, together with option topics. Through studying any of the Group 4 subjects, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the “scientific method” may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that distinguishes the Group 4 subjects.

Group 5: Mathematics

At ISH we offer three courses in Mathematics: Mathematical Studies SL, Mathematics SL, and Mathematics HL. Mathematical Studies SL is designed for students who do not anticipate a need for mathematics in their future studies. Mathematics SL is designed for students who will need a sound mathematical background as they prepare for future studies in subjects such as chemistry, economics, psychology and business administration. The Mathematics HL programme is designed for students who have a very good aptitude for and a strong interest in mathematics. Some universities, particularly those in Europe, require Mathematics HL for study of engineering and physics.

Group 6: The Arts

ISH offers courses in Visual Arts, Music, and Theatre. The IB DP Visual Arts course aims to develop both technical skills and critical art appreciation. The studio work accounts for the major proportion of the final grade. The IB DP Music programme is designed to promote greater awareness and understanding of both the power and variety of musical experiences. Students are exposed to a broad spectrum of music ranging from Western music, from many periods and styles, to world music. Through the DP Theatre course students develop their skills as actors, directors, designers, theorists and practitioners. A variety of theatrical practices from different eras and places are studied, and students have the opportunity to pursue areas of specific interest.

IB DP Curriculum

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