In the spring of 2008 the American International School of Lagos became an official member of the International Baccalaureate Organization, a prestigious, worldwide program that offers a rigorous two-year pre-university course of study, leading to examinations that meet the needs of the highly motivated 11th and 12th grade student. The IB Diploma program provides students of different backgrounds with the intellectual, social, and critical perspective necessary for the challenges that lie ahead.
Full diploma candidates must sit for six IB exams in six different subjects. Three subjects must be studied at the Higher Level and at the Standard Level (or a maximum of four at HL and two at SL). In addition to the successful completion of the six subjects and their respective exams, the Diploma candidate must also take a unique course entitled Theory of Knowledge. The purpose of ToK is to stimulate critical reflection of the knowledge and experiences acquired inside and outside the classroom, to evaluate the basis of knowledge and experience, and to develop a personal mode of thought based on critical examination of evidence and argument.
Furthermore, Diploma candidates must meet two additional requirements: research and write a 4,000-word Extended Essay in any subject within the IB curriculum. This is an independent and original piece of research and writing by the student under the supervision of a qualified teacher/advisor. They must also complete the CAS program: Creativity, Action, and Service. Taking part in and reflecting on planned and supervised extracurricular activities related to the school, local and/or the international community is the primary focus of CAS. After successfully completing these requirements, a student will be awarded the IB Diploma in addition to AISL's high school Diploma. IB Certificates are awarded to students who successfully complete individual IB courses from within the IB Diploma program. Lastly, students may also elect to complete their AISL requirements through our "non-IB" courses. Each student chooses which "pathway" is best suited to their strengths and future academic goals, with close guidance from the IB Coordinator and college counselor.
IB courses are organized into six groups. Full Diploma candidates must select one subject from each of the six groups, with the exception of Group 6 which is optional. Three courses must be taken at the Higher Level (HL), and three at the Standard Level (SL). Some students may qualify to take up to four HL courses, upon prior approval by the IB Coordinator. HL courses require 240 teaching hours, while SL courses require 150 teaching hours. The ToK component adds up to 100 teaching hours.
The IB groups and courses are organized as follows:
Group 1 – Native language course entitled, English A: Literature (HL & SL)
Group 2 – World language course offerings include: French B (HL, SL), French (ab initio), Spanish B (HL, SL) , Spanish (ab initio), and Arabic (ab initio)
Group 3 – Individuals and Societies course offerings include: Economics (HL & SL) and History (HL & SL)
Group 4 – Experimental Sciences course offerings include: Biology (HL), Chemistry (HL & SL), Physics (HL & SL), and Sports, Exercise, and Health Science (SL)
Group 5 – Mathematics course offerings include Math Studies (SL only) and Mathematics (HL & SL)
Group 6* - The Arts course offerings include Music (SL only) and Visual Arts (HL & SL)
The IB Diploma is a demanding academic program developed, implemented and regulated by The International Baccalaureate Organization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The diploma courses are united in a demanding and rigorous two-year curriculum measured against well-defined, criterion-referenced international standards. The central purpose of this program is to prepare highly motivated students for success after high school. Graduates report that the diploma program has prepared them well for their university studies. Students successfully completing IB Diploma Program requirements at AISL earn an IB Diploma in addition to their US accredited AISL high school diploma. For more information on the IB Diploma please visit the International Baccalaureate Organization website at ibo.org
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Program. It is one of the three essential elements in every student's Diploma Program experience. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their IB coursework. The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:
Creativity: arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
Activity: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the Diploma Program.
Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.
CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of the Diploma Program. A good CAS program should be both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self-discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life-changing.
For student development to occur, CAS should involve:
- real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
- personal challenge—tasks must extend the student and be achievable in scope
- thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
- reflection on outcomes and personal learning.
All proposed CAS activities need to meet these four criteria. It is also essential that they do not replicate other parts of the student's Diploma Program work.
Theory of Knowledge (ToK) is a course unique to the International Baccalaureate. The course is required of all IB Diploma candidates and at AISL, ToK is covered during a student's Junior (2nd Semester) and Senior (1st Semester) year. A description of TOK from the IB Guide follows:
The Theory of Knowledge (ToK) programme is central to the educational philosophy of the International Baccalaureate. It challenges students and their teachers to reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and areas of knowledge, and to consider the role which knowledge plays in a global society. It encourages students to become aware of themselves as thinkers, to become aware of the complexity of knowledge, and to recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected world.
Engaging with students in a critical examination of knowledge, teachers will foster an appreciation of the quest for knowledge, in particular its importance, its complexities, and its human implications. ToK is a valuable course for diploma candidates because it encourages thinking and reflection across the curriculum.
As part of the IB Diploma Program candidates must complete a formal research paper on an IB subject and topic of their choice. This 4,000-word writing requirement is known as the Extended Essay (EE), and is an integral part of the IB program. The EE process and completion emphasizes independent research, candidate dedication, academic interest, and organization. At AISL each candidate is assigned an Extended Essay advisor early in their Junior year. The student then begins work at that time, following monitored steps toward completion of the EE. A final draft of the is handed in towards the end of 1st semester, Senior year.
Upon embarking on their Extended Essay quest, all IB Diploma candidates receive an Extended Essay handbook, complete with detailed instructions, suggestions for the research and writing process, and a timeline of required deadlines. A final draft of the Extended Essay is handed in towards the end of 1st semester, Senior year.