International Baccalaureate

“There is no other curriculum anywhere that does a superior job of both educating students and inspiring a true and broad-based love of learning.”

William Shain, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University

An IB education is focused on student inquiry and teaching students to think critically and independently and to inquire with care and logic. In the rapidly changing world knowing how to learn, will define success. An IB education encourages students to understand how they learn, and how they connect and apply their learning.

IB World School logo

West Sound Academy has offered the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme since 2010.

All 11th and 12th grade students take IB courses. Studies show that participation in IB Diploma courses is the best indicator of success in higher education.

Click to download the IB flyer, 10 Reasons Why the IB Diploma Programme  is Ideal Preparation for University

IB flyer: 10 Reasons Why the IB Diploma Programme (DP) is Ideal Preparation for University

It is the goal of West Sound Academy, through the IB diploma program, to instill in our students the knowledge that will make them better learners and better people so that we send them off into life with the skills they really need to grow and develop in a successful, happy way to reach their full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is IB?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, established in the 1960s and recognized as the worldwide gold standard of education, provides an academically challenging and balanced program of study to talented and motivated 11th and 12th graders around the world. IB coursework balances subject breadth and depth with a concern for understanding the connectedness of disciplines and intentionally fosters international mindedness.

Why do we offer the IB at West Sound Academy?

The IB’s mission to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” aligns with and expands the West Sound Academy mission. A West Sound Academy IB education focuses on developing the whole student: physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. Students leave the program ready to excel in university and, more importantly, in a global society.

Participation in IB coursework gives distinct advantage to students in the college admission process. Universities around the globe recognize the rigor and value of an IB education and see the IB as the most rigorous program of study in a US high school. Many universities will also award academic credit and scholarship awards for successful examination results in specific subject areas or after completion of the full IB diploma.

Who says the IB is excellent education?

Students seeking the finest [high school] preparation available for an American college should consider the International Baccalaureate. The IB offers an integrated curriculum that provides students with the skill needed to be world-class scholars and an educational philosophy that prepares them to be first-class citizens. I do not know of a more comprehensive and appropriate learning model.

Jim Crowder, Director of Admissions, Macalester College

One of the advantages of an IB curriculum is its structure and quality. It is a coordinated programme, well established, well known and well respected. We know the quality of IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific.

Christoph Guttentag, Director of Undergraduate Admission, Duke University

I have always been a supporter of the International Baccalaureate. It is a thoughtful and genuinely intellectual curriculum with an unusually high degree of integrity and connectedness. There is no other curriculum anywhere that does a superior job of both educating students and inspiring a true and broad-based love of learning.

William Shain, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University

For many years we here at CMC have considered the full-IB Diploma to be the ‘Gold Standard’. Unlike an AP program in which students can pick and choose which AP courses to take, sometimes based on playing to their strengths and avoiding their weaknesses, the full IB diploma is consistent, coherent, rigorous, and takes two full years to complete.

Richard Vos, Vice President/Dead of Admission, Claremont McKenna College

IB is well known to us for excellent preparation. Success in an IB programme correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Programme on the transcript.

Marilyn McGrath Lewis, Director of Undergraduate Admission, Harvard University

Send us prepared students á la IB… It is the best high school prep curriculum an American school can offer.

Marilee Jones, Director of Undergraduate Admission, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The International Baccalaureate Programmes’ emphasis on critical thinking skills, increased content knowledge and an interdisciplinary approach to education not only prepare students for success at the postsecondary level, but also for life and the world of work.

Dr. Kathleen Plato, Supervisor of Advanced Placement Programs, Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

How is the IB different than AP?

While there are some similarities in that they are both eligible for college credit, there are many differences between the two programs.




Emphasizes process and integration of content across subject areas Content driven
Comprehensive course of study encompassing six areas: language and literature, history, language acquisition, science, math and the arts. Students choose AP courses that fit their strengths and that are independent of one another.
Students also take a class called Theory of Knowledge, write a senior research project called the Extended Essay, and complete 150 CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) hours. No additional requirements
Asks why more than what Asks what more than why
Assessments are graded world-wide with global standards Exams are graded in the U.S. with American standards
Final score (1-7) is determined by many factors, such as papers, orals, and projects, in addition to the written exams. Final score (1-5) hinges on a single written, largely multiple choice, exam.
Only students at approved IB World Schools taking IB courses can register for IB exams. Students not enrolled in AP courses can register for AP exams
How does IB work?

International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates are expected to do IB coursework in six major areas, including literature, language acquisition, social studies, the experimental sciences, mathematics and an elective of either arts or an additional course from one of the other subject areas.

Three subjects are taken at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. The Diploma Programme has three additional core requirements intended to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply what they learn in personally and socially meaningful ways. These requirements include a 4,000-word Extended Essay on a subject of the student’s choice; a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course that examines the nature of knowledge and different ways and kinds of knowing; and a requirement called Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) which includes 150 hours of personally and socially relevant activity beyond the classroom and, in many cases, beyond the school.

IB examinations are taken at the end of the two-year program and are marked by external examiners around the world. Internal assessments are administered and marked by classroom teachers over the two years; samples of those are “moderated” by external examiners to assure consistency and quality of assessment. West Sound Academy students may choose to participate in the full IB Diploma Programme, earn certificates in individual subject areas, or focus on completion of the West Sound Academy diploma, which continues to be highly regarded by college and university admissions officers.

Who can participate in the IB Diploma Programme at West Sound Academy?

The IB Diploma Programme option is available to all West Sound Academy students enrolled in the 11th and 12th grade years.

The IB diploma and certificates are awarded to students who sit for and pass comprehensive exams in May of their senior year and complete all other requirements. IB diplomas and certificates are issued by IB and sent to the candidate and a college of the student’s choice in the summer after graduation.

Where can I learn more about International Baccalaureate?
For more information about IB education at West Sound Academy, contact Catherine Freeman, Associate Head of School, at cfreeman@westsoundacademy.org