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What is the IB Program?


The International Baccalaureate Program is an internationally recognized academic course of study noted for its depth and challenging curriculum. IB offers a high quality curriculum that engages students in critical thinking and inquiry while encouraging an international perspective. Unlike regular college preparatory programs, the IB approach to education is not encyclopedic. The IB standards are criterion based and thus have international acceptability which allow for flexibility and mobility to prestigious academic programs around the country and world.


What is IB at City College?


City is the only school in Baltimore to offer the prestigious IB Middle Years Program in grades 9 and 10 and the Diploma Program in grades 11 and 12. City’s mission, to prepare students for success in the best colleges, is aligned with the academically challenging goals of IB. Since certification in 1998 as an IB World School, City continues to incorporate IB’s goal of developing the whole student by providing a balanced program of international awareness, critical thinking, and rigorous assessment.


Middle Years Program, Grades 9 and 10


In the IB Middle Years Program, all underclassmen will develop skills useful in the upper grades of the Diploma Program and are also encouraged to take risks in furthering their own intercultural awareness and understanding about how they learn best.


In the Middle Years program, the focus is on interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking. Students enroll in 8 subjects, English, Foreign Language, Humanities, Science, Technology, Fine Arts, Math and Physical Education. Each subject is examined through the lenses of the Areas of Interaction (Approaches to Learning, Environment, Health Education, Community Service, and Human Ingenuity) to facilitate natural links in topics and disciplines.


In grade 10, students complete the personal project, a yearlong, in depth, independent study of a student selected topic.


Diploma Program, Grades 11 and 12


In the IB Diploma Program, students can elect to commit to the full two-year IB curriculum and be candidates for the prestigious IB Diploma or take up to five IB courses over a two-year period and become candidates for the IB certificate.

Students who are full Diploma students study six subject groups in depth (English, Second Language, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science and The Arts) together with a core made of three separate parts. All three of the core- extended essay, theory of knowledge, and creativity, action, service – are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the Diploma Program.


At the end of the two year program, full Diploma and Certificate students are assessed both internally and externally in ways that measure individual performance in each subject area against an international standard of achievement. Assessed student work includes: oral exercises, projects, portfolios, presentations, lab work, investigations, performances, essays and written exams. These exams are sent to IB graders all over the world for evaluation. Official transcripts are forwarded by the International Baccalaureate Organization to students’ colleges of choice.


What does IB look like in the classroom?


City College’s teachers plan lessons and units about rigorous content that generate interest and participation from all of our students. This engagement gives students the tools of critical thinking, writing, and analysis that are essential for success in the university environment.


In a 9th grade interdisciplinary unit, Music and Anatomy students experiment with the connection between human anatomy and vocal performance.


In 10th grade MYP Chemistry, students study the relationship between organic farming practices and organic chemistry in our school garden.


In 11th grade DP Psychology, students examine how social or cultural factors affect cognitive processes by looking at the effect of video games on attention.


In 12th grade DP Theory of Knowledge class, students examine questions like “what role should intuition play in justifying capital punishment.”


The Value of IB at City College


Every year, City’s IB graduates earn advanced standing at colleges and universities with many receiving between 6 and 30 credits in the freshman year. Leah Goldman, class of 2009, saw the value of these credits her freshmen year at Oberlin College.

“Oberlin recognized my academic achievements with my IB credits, and rewarded me even more than they rewarded my peers who took AP courses. While my friends got 4 credits for AP Psych or English, I got 8 credits each for IB HL Psychology, HL English, and HL History of the Americas. Total, I have 24 credits--enough to give me sophomore standing, and help me register for my classes earlier than other freshman,” said Goldman.


Colleges and universities give IB students college credit because the IB curriculum’s rigorous and in depth analysis of subjects has been proven to be equivalent to college study. For example, IB Biology has been proven as the “gold standard for U.S. high school course work,” according to a November 2007 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.


Since becoming an IB World School, our students have earned entrance to selective colleges and universities like MIT, Swarthmore, Pomona, Georgetown, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Amherst, Brown, Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, Oberlin, Howard, Spelman, Morehouse, Hampton, Wesleyan, and Boston University.

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