Talking the Talk
The IB program -- A worldwide program for the last two years of high school which is mainly linked by uniform teacher training and a common assessment system in which exams and other work are graded internationally. Intended for students who are academically motivated. IB is a non-profit organization, with offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Cardiff, Wales and New York.



· Diploma -- The name of a document issued by IB after a student has completed and passed these requirements: six exams taken in five or six different academic areas, three at the Higher Level and three at the Standard Level; an Extended Essay; CAS activities; and completion of Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course. The Diploma is the highest level of IB achievement.



· Higher Level (HL) -- An IB course offered over two years; exams only available to high school seniors. HL credit with good grades can often be submitted to colleges and universities for transfer credit.



· Standard Level (SL)-- An IB course that must have a minimum of 150 hours of instruction. Standard Level exams are usually a little shorter or less conceptual or analytical than Higher Level exams. Occasionally SL grades can be submitted to colleges and universities for credit. A SL level course can be examined at the end of Grade 11, if the school chooses.



· Extended Essay -- A 4000-word independent research paper due in the senior year, chosen and undertaken by the student in one of over 20 IB. disciplines (foreign language, literature, history, physics, biology, etc.). The student chooses a school-based mentor for guidance in research and writing. The Extended Essay does not earn credit in any class. The Extended Essay is sent elsewhere in the world to be graded. Form is emphasized as well as content.



· CAS -- Acronym standing for creativity, activity, and service. CAS is the non-school portion of the requirements for the Diploma, in which community service and activity in the arts and athletics is expected. It is hoped that students will involve themselves deeply in a single community service rather than piece together bits of many.



· Theory of Knowledge (TOK) -- A course required of Diploma candidates in every school in the world, in which the concept of knowledge -- its worth, veracity, and forms -- is considered. One essay is required for outside assessment; the class teacher assesses the other assignments or projects. TOK is an every other day course for two years.



· Certificate -- The name of the document which a student earns after completing any IB class along with the attendant work and exam. Exams and course work for both Diploma and Certificate candidates are the same in any given subject and level.



· Scores -- Students earn a single score ranging from “1-7” for each IB subject exam taken. The scores indicate a level of achievement compared with students around the world undergoing the same requirements. Diploma candidates must accumulate a minimum of 24 points, out of a possible 45 points, to earn the diploma. A “1” is low; a “7” is high, indicating excellent or exceptional work.



· Internal Assessment -- Individual student evaluation done by the teacher of a subject on a particular piece of work or the accumulation of work (depends on the subject) and communicated to the IB Curriculum and Assessment office (IBCA). Internal assessments are criteria-based. Samples of candidates’ work, which represent a range of performance, low to high are also submitted to markers. Oral exams, portfolios, lab books and essays all comprise parts of internal assessment.



· Descriptors -- Course-specific expectations or criteria for performance evaluation by the teacher. For example in Music: a) creativity, originality and imagination; b) technical competence and control of elements; c) interpretational aspects of style; d) aesthetic content and presentation; e) ability to assess own growth and development -- or in History: a) historical explanation and understanding; and b) analysis and evaluation of sources and evidence. Such descriptors exist in all subjects to help teacher’s grade internal assessment assignments.



· Moderation -- Process by which the internal assessment (by the teacher) is evaluated by an external assessor appointed by IBCA. After a teacher submits internal assessment samples, representing high to low grades, IBCA will compare that teacher and group of students with others, and re-assign the entire teacher’s candidates higher or lower grades, or keep them where they are. The purpose of moderation is to see how closely the school matches the external standard, and to determine an accurate evaluation of the student’s work. This is the process whereby the IB Organization maintains high standards and uniformity throughout the world.



· Predicted grades -- Teachers submit scores to IBCA which they think students will ultimately earn from their total IB assessment. This is another way in which the teacher can see, when actual scores arrive, whether or not their thinking is in line with IB’s. Predicted scores are also used if there is an unusual circumstance, such as illness, that affects a candidate’s examination. Some universities use predicted scores to aid in assessing applicants for scholarships and admission.



· Orals (Formal Commentary) -- In English and second languages, such as French, an oral presentation by each student is tape recorded for internal assessment. A range of the resulting tapes is sent by the teacher(s) for moderation of all scores. Oral exams must be completed by

the end of March in the senior year.