IB Diploma Programme

High School

IB Diploma Programme

The Diploma Programme incorporates the best elements of national systems without being based on any single system. Internationally mobile students are able to transfer from one IB school to another, while students who remain closer to home benefit from a highly respected international curriculum.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, established in 1968, is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations; it is designed for highly motivated secondary school students aged 16 to 19. The programme has earned a reputation for rigorous assessment; giving IB diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities. The IB has shown, over more than 30 years, that students are well prepared for university work.

The IB’s goal is to provide students with the values and opportunities that will enable them to develop critical thinking and intercultural understanding, make wise choices, and respect others in the global community. The Diploma Programme equips students with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in higher education and employment.


The IB Core

The IB Diploma is awarded by the International Baccalaureate Organization for satisfactory performance in six subject areas and a 2-year course in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) plus the successful completion of Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) and an extended essay in a specific discipline within one of the six subject areas.

Academia Cotopaxi encourages all students to take on the highest appropriate academic challenge for them, whether this means following the full Diploma Program or taking several IB courses. Parent information meetings are scheduled in the fall of 10th grade to offer information on the IB Diploma program, and students are individually counseled about their IB choices.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) - This epistemology class is an interdisciplinary requirement intended to stimulate critical reflection and to develop analytical skill built on experience gained inside and outside the classroom. The course challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, to be aware of subjective and ideological biases and to develop the ability to analyze evidence. TOK is a key element in encouraging students to appreciate other cultural perspectives.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) - The IB’s goal is to educate the whole person, to help students become responsible, compassionate citizens. The CAS requirement encourages students to share their energy and special talents with others: students may, for example, participate in theatre or musical productions, sports and community service activities.
Students should, through these activities, develop greater awareness of themselves and concern for others, and the ability to work co-operatively with other people.

The extended essay - Each student has the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest in a 4,000-word research paper. The extended essay requirement acquaints Diploma candidates with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities.


Diploma Assessment

Assessment of subjects is based on a combination of internal assessment and external examinations at the end of Grade 12. Within each subject examinations and internal assessments for Higher Level are more demanding than those for Standard level.

  • Grade 11 and 12 students will sit a semester 1 exam in January.
  • Grade 11 students will sit end of year exams.
  • Grade 12 students will sit mock examinations in their second semester and their final IB
  • Diploma exams in May.

Each subject is graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). Up to 3 additional points may be gained for performance in the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. The maximum possible score is 45 points (6 x 7 = 42 + 3 = 45).


Six Subjects

Diploma candidates study 6 subjects. They must select one subject from each of Groups 1-5. The choice of subject from Group 6 is not compulsory and therefore a student may choose a second subject from Groups 1 – 4, instead of a Group 6 subject.

  • Three subjects must be taken at higher level, (HL)
  • Three subjects must be taken at standard level (SL)
  • IB recommends a minimum of 240 teaching hours for HL courses
  • IB recommends a minimum of 150 teaching hours for SL courses

Students are thus able to explore some subjects in depth and others more broadly, a deliberate compromise between the early specialization of some national systems and the breadth found in others. The science-oriented student is challenged to learn a foreign language and the natural linguist becomes familiar with laboratory procedures.

The subjects offered at Academia Cotopaxi are continually reviewed and revised to meet contemporary needs. The list below serves as a current guide only and are the subjects currently offered at Academia Cotopaxi:.

Group 1 – Studies in Language and Literature

All diploma candidates must take a Language A course, which demands good writing and oral skills and the ability to understand and respond to literary texts. The study of the A language is complemented by the international perspective given through world literature studied.

  •  English Language A: Literature
  •  English Language A: Language and Literature
  •  Spanish Language A: Literature
  •  Spanish Language A: Language and Literature

Group 2 – Language Acquisition

All diploma candidates are examined in a second language. Language B accommodates genuine second language learners with previous experience of learning the language, typically amounting to between 2 and 5 years of instruction; Language Ab initio accommodates beginners in the language. Both Language B and Ab Initio courses focus on written and spoken communication in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes.

  •  Spanish B
  •  Spanish Ab Initio

Group 3 – Individuals and Societies

  •  Economics
  •  History

Group 4 – Experimental Sciences

  •  Biology
  •  Chemistry
  •  Physics

Group 5 – Mathematics

  •  Math Applications and Analysis
  •  Math Applications and Interpretations

Group 6 – The Arts

  •  Visual Arts
  •  Music


Awarding of the Diploma

The Diploma will be awarded to a candidate whose total score reaches or exceeds 24 points, provided that:

  • A course in Theory of Knowledge has been followed and the assessment requirements met.
  • An Extended Essay has been submitted and assessed.
  • The candidate has engaged satisfactorily in Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) activities.
  • Failing Conditions

From the May 2015 session the following failing conditions apply:

  • CAS requirements have not been met.
  • Candidate’s total points are fewer than 24.
  • An N has been given for theory of knowledge, extended essay or for a contributing subject.
  • A grade E has been awarded for one or both of theory of knowledge and the extended essay.
  • There is a grade 1 awarded in a subject/level.
  • Grade 2 has been awarded three or more times (HL or SL).
  • Grade 3 or below has been awarded four or more times (HL or SL).
  • Candidate has gained fewer than 12 points on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
  • Candidate has gained fewer than 9 points on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL).