In Grades 11 and 12, independence and critical-thinking skills gain even more focus. Students actually plan their own program - choosing from a range of courses in Humanities, Mathematics and Sciences, plus Arts and electives options. School and University Counsellors and Learning Strategies staff provide support every step of the way.
In Grade 12, students in the Diploma Programme submit an Extended Essay, a 4,000-word essay that all IB Diploma Programme students write on a topic of special interest drawn from their studies.
All students’ work in Grades 11 and 12 is marked externally against established, standardized criteria. It’s one reason Branksome Hall graduates are so highly sought-after by the world’s leading universities. And it’s why they often receive university credit for their IB Higher Level courses.
Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary course designed to stimulate critical thinking and reflection. It challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, be aware of bias and learn to analyze the evidence used in presenting an argument. Students come to understand different points of view and how one's background can affect one’s perception of truth.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) encourages students to involve themselves beyond the curriculum in the Arts, Athletics and service to others. Over the two-year Diploma Programme, students involve themselves in the three CAS areas, developing and sharing their energies and talents while they learn to work cooperatively.
The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay that all IB Diploma Programme students write on a topic of special interest drawn from their studies. With the guidance of an Advisor, each student conducts independent research, prepares her ideas and organizes material for her essay. The skills and techniques honed in creating the Extended Essay provide valuable practice for university work.
Assessment in the Diploma Programme
A key feature of the International Baccalaureate is its emphasis on criterion-based assessment of performance. This means that students are not graded “on a curve,” based on other students’ performance; their learning is measured in relation to established, published standards that apply equally to each student at every IB World School.
The IB Organization’s assessment strategy emphasizes validity, reliability and fairness. Teachers and IB examiners work as partners to ensure that students have various opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. A student’s progress is assessed by her teachers through classroom and group work, assignments, labs or artistic performances, and reviewed by highly qualified IB examiners. All examinations held in Grade 12, at the end of the two-year Diploma Program, are graded externally by IB examiners. Grades are awarded on a scale of one to seven, with seven being the highest.
In addition to their exam grades, students may receive up to three bonus points for combined performance in the Theory of Knowledge course and the Extended Essay. An International Baccalaureate Diploma is awarded to students who graduate with at least 24 points, up to a maximum of 45 points.
Branksome Hall students graduate with two diplomas, the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and the IB Diploma. Students are able to present two sets of credentials to universities for consideration.
Those students who do not complete all the requirements for the IB Diploma receive an OSSD and an IB Certificate for each course they have successfully completed.