To IB or not to IB

Carey students are very fortunate to have the chance to choose between the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) and the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) for their final years of secondary study.

There are some key differences between the IB and VCE and some students naturally gravitate to one or the other. One key difference is that VCE students can specialise in an area of interest (choosing to study two or three creative art subjects, for example) whereas all IB students study a broader program.

Our experience is that the IB tends, mistakenly, to be seen as a program which is only for the most able students. This is not the case. While the number of Carey students studying the IB varies significantly, the IB should be considered as a genuine option by a majority of our students.

Many schools around the world only offer the IB Diploma and students who achieve B and B+ results in Year 10 at Carey regularly feature among our top performing IB students.

While the Carey IB average ATAR and percentage of students who achieve results of 90 and above is higher than our VCE students, the difference between those students’ Year 10 results is less pronounced. Differences in the type of assessment in the IB and VCE and way they are converted to an ATAR account for much of the difference in scores.

If you would like to find out more about the IB at Carey, a recording of our Year 10 Parent and Student IB Information Evening held on Monday evening is available here.

IB Theatre

Below are some other common IB misconceptions and responses from our IB Co-ordinator, Mrs Petithory.

Misconception #1: Students must be very good language learners.
FALSE! Not all students will have continued their language learning in Year 10 or they might fancy a change of language. In Year 11, IB students can start learning a language at beginners’ level, with no prior knowledge of that language. At Carey we offer Spanish Ab Initio (meaning ‘from the beginning’), and it’s a very successful course! The IB recognises the immense benefits of studying a foreign language, namely enhancing the ability to communicate, developing conceptual understandings of how language works and gaining cross-cultural understanding and an international perspective.

Misconception #2: Students must be excellent at science.
FALSE! Whilst you do have to study a science, you could choose it at Standard Level which is accessible to all students. In addition to traditional Science subjects, we offer Sports Exercise Health Science at Carey which incorporates disciplines of anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, psychology and nutrition, and could be of interest to a broad audience of students.

Misconception #3: Students study many more subjects.
FALSE! As a matter of fact, many Year 11 VCE students have the same load as a Year 11 IB student. The expectation is that all students in Year 11 study six subjects and it is not uncommon to find VCE and IB students taking the same subjects!

Misconception #4: Students have a very demanding load in Year 12.
FALSE! The workload is no more demanding than a VCE load… Yes, IB students continue with their six subjects in Year 12, but only three of them will be studied at Higher Level, where the content will be greater. The other three subjects are studied at Standard Level and this content is usually finished by May of Year 12.

Misconception #5: The Extended Essay is too challenging.
FALSE! The Extended Essay is the exciting part of the Programme and enables students to research into an area of interest with the assistance of a school supervisor. Students have over 12 months to work on their essay and gain so many skills of research and writing, citing and referencing which puts them in good stead for university study.

Misconception #6: In the IB you have to do lots of hours of CAS.
FALSE! Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is one of the core components of the IB and is based on the belief that education does not begin or end in the classroom but that many essential elements exist outside. Students are supported by their mentors and our CAS co-ordinator to identify learning outcomes which they meet by selecting experiences. Most of them are part and parcel of the life of a Carey student: music, service work, sports training and games, fundraising, performing arts, etc… so many opportunities!

Misconception #7: The IB is only for students who want to study overseas.
FALSE! The IB is recognised throughout Australia and globally by universities and top employers. The IB is concerned with developing internationally minded students by promoting three keys elements: global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding. All universities hold the IB in high regard because they value the skills and the attributes that IB graduates bring to their tertiary studies, due to the learning style and structure of the Programme.

Misconception #8: The IB is not fun.
FALSE! Approaches to teaching and learning in the IB make the courses interesting, enjoyable and exciting. Not only do students choose the direction of their own Internal Assessment Coursework, but all disciplines are also focussed on teamwork and collaboration and based on inquiry.

Please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Frédérique Petithory (ph: 9816 1232) if you would like further information about the IB Diploma Program.

Graeme Young
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Learning

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