International Baccalaureate

National Vocational Qualification City and Guilds of London Institute Business and Technology Education Council

International Baccalaureate
International Baccalaureate Logo.svg
International Baccalaureate logo
FormationOctober 25, 1968; 51 years ago (October 25, 1968)
FounderJohn Goormaghtigh
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Formerly called
International Baccalaureate Organization

The International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly known as the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and founded in 1968.[1][2] It offers four educational programmes: the IB Diploma Programme and the IB Career-related Programme for students aged 15 to 19, the IB Middle Years Programme for students aged 11 to 16, and the IB Primary Years Programme for children aged 3 to 12.[3] To teach these programmes, schools must be authorised by the International Baccalaureate.

The organisation's name and logo were changed in 2007 to reflect new structural arrangements. Consequently, "IB" may now refer to the organisation itself, any of the four programmes, or the diploma or certificates awarded at the end of a programme.[4]



When Marie-Thérèse Maurette wrote "Educational Techniques for Peace. Do They Exist?" in 1948,[5] she created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP).[6] In the mid-1960s, a group of teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which would later become the International Baccalaureate Office (IBO), followed by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and then the International Baccalaureate (IB).[7]

First programme

The IB headquarters were officially established in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968 for the development and maintenance of the IB Diploma Programme. The objective of this programme was to "provide an internationally acceptable university admissions qualification suitable for the growing mobile population of young people whose parents were part of the world of diplomacy, international and multi-national organisations" by offering standardised courses and assessments for students aged 16 to 19.[8][9]

International Baccalaureate North America (IBNA) was established in 1975[10] by Peter Nehr, International Baccalaureate Africa, Europe and Middle-East (IBAEM) in 1986,[11] and International Baccalaureate Asia Pacific (IBAP) during the same period.[12]

Other programmes

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) was first offered in 1994. Within five years, 51 countries had MYP schools.[13] A revised MYP programme was introduced in September 2014.[14]

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) was piloted in 1996 in 30 primary schools on different continents, and the first PYP school was authorised in 1997,[15] with 87 authorised schools in 43 countries within five years.[16]

The IB Career-related Programme (formerly IB Career-related Certificate[17]) was first offered in 2012.

Directors General

Alec Peterson was IB's first director general (1968–1977), followed by Gérard Renaud (1977–1983), Roger Peel (1983–1998), Derek Blackman (1998–1999), George Walker (1999–2005), Jeffrey Beard (2006–2013) and Dr. Siva Kumari (appointed 2013, incumbent from 2014).[18]


The IB is a foundation[19], a legal entity under Swiss law which is constituted for a stated special objective[20]. The IB is a non-profit organisation, selling its products and services to schools in a system analogous to a franchise network. Schools buy products and services from the IB - assessments, publications, the right to use branding - and in turn schools act as distributors, reselling the products and services to families.[21]

The IB’s financial surplus has increased nine-fold in eight years. In 2012, the IB had a surplus of $8 million, on revenues of $150.6 million. In 2019, the IB's surplus reached $71.5 million on revenues of $247.5 million. Almost half of all revenue comes from grading.[22]

The IB maintains its head office in Geneva, Switzerland. Assessment and grading services are located in Cardiff, Wales and the curriculum centre moved in 2011 to The Hague, Netherlands. Three other offices are located in Bethesda, Maryland, Singapore and The Hague.

The organisation is divided into three regional centres: IB Africa, Europe and Middle East (IBAEM), administered from The Hague; IB Americas (IBA), administered from Bethesda; and IB Asia-Pacific (IBAP), administered from Singapore.[23]

Sub-regional associations "are groups formed by and for IB school practitioners to assist IB schools, teachers and students in their communities—from implementing IB programmes to providing a forum for dialogue."[24] There are currently fifty-six (56) sub-regional associations, including:

In 2003, the IB established the IB Fund, incorporated in the United States, for the purpose of enhancing fundraising and keeping funds raised separate from operational funds.[28] In 2004, the IB approved a strategic plan to "ensure that programmes and services are of the highest quality" and "to provide access to people who are socio-economically disadvantaged."[29] In 2010 and 2015 the strategic plans were updated after substantial consultation. The vision for the next five years was to more consciously establish the IB as a leader in international education and the Board outlined a vision and four strategic goals with key strategic objectives.[30]

Access remains fundamental to the mission of the IB and a variety of initiatives and projects are helping to take it forward in Ecuador, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Spain, Philippines, Malaysia, and Japan[31]

The United States has the largest number of IB programmes (2,010 out of 5,586) offered in both private and public schools.[32]

The IB works with governments and non-governmental organisations across the world and has consultative status as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and has collaborative relationships with the Council of Europe and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).[33]


The IB governance is composed of an IB Board of Governors and six committees (access and advancement, audit, education, finance, human resources and governance). The Board of Governors appoints the Director General, sets the strategic direction of the organisation, adopts a mission statement, makes policy, oversees the IB's financial management, and ensures autonomy and integrity of the IB Diploma Programme examinations and other student assessment. The structure of its different committees are based on respect, representation and collaboration.[34]

The Board of Governors can comprise between 15 and 25 members. Members are elected by the Board on the recommendation of the governance committee, and from nominations presented from the Heads Council, Regional Councils and the Board. To encourage diversity of gender, culture and geography, there are only three ex officio positions: Director General (non-voting), the chair of the Examining Board and the chair of the Heads Council.[35]

Advisory bodies include the Heads Council and Regional Councils[36]


Countries with 40+ schools teaching IB programmes & Global Totals (as of 12 May 2016)[37]
Country Primary Middle Diploma Career-related Schools
United States 500 618 893 77 1,725
Canada 82 169 171 2 366
Australia 119 45 67 1 176
Ecuador 9 9 253 0 253
United Kingdom 14 13 125 13 132
India 63 21 108 0 128
Mexico 55 35 66 1 106
China 37 27 83 1 101
Spain 11 14 93 0 95
Germany 23 11 67 2 71
Hong Kong 32 9 29 1 56
Turkey 25 10 43 0 60
Argentina 7 3 56 0 57
Switzerland 18 11 42 1 49
United Arab Emirates 27 18 42 13 48
Indonesia 32 14 29 0 48
Poland 6 8 40 0 45
Primary Middle Diploma Career-related Schools
Total Schools Globally 1,375 1,264 2,997 118 4,460
Countries & Territories 104 97 140 18 151

The IB Diploma Programme was described as "a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognised by universities around the world" when it was featured in the December 18, 2006, edition of Time titled "How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century".[38] The IBDP was also featured in the summer 2002 edition of American Educator, where Robert Rothman described it as "a good example of an effective, instructionally sound, exam-based system."[39]

In the US, in 2006, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI),[40] President George W. Bush and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings presented a plan for the expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate mathematics and science courses, with the goal of increasing the number of AP and IB teachers and the number of students taking AP and IB examinations, as well as tripling the number of students passing those exams.[40] Howard Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at Harvard University, said that the IBDP curriculum is "less parochial than most American efforts" and helps students "think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking."[41]

In 2006, government ministers in the United Kingdom provided funding so that "every local authority in England could have at least one centre offering sixth-formers the chance to do the IB."[42] In 2008, due to the devaluing of the A-Levels and an increase in the number of students taking the IB exams, then-Children's Secretary Ed Balls abandoned a "flagship Tony Blair pledge to allow children in all areas to study IB." Fears of a "two-tier" education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor emerged as the growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges.[citation needed] While the number of Diploma Programme state schools has dropped under budget constraints, the new Career-related Programme has seen solid uptake in the UK with 27 schools in Kent alone.[43]

In 2006, an attempt was made to eliminate it from a public school in Pittsburgh, PA.[44][45] Some schools in the United States have eliminated the IBDP due to budgetary reasons and low student participation.[46][47] In Utah in 2008, funding for the IBDP was reduced from $300,000 to $100,000 after State Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the IB curriculum, stating, "First, I have never espoused eliminating IB ... I don't want to create 'world citizens' nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world."[48][49] Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, meanwhile, believes that IB should be an option for students in Chicago Public Schools.[50] Elizabeth Brackett, reporting on her own experience of studying the IB in Chicago, found that it made for a stressful school experience but subsequently eased the pressures of university study.[51] A further report[52] by the University of Chicago concluded that Chicago Public School students who completed the IB curriculum were 40% more likely to attend a four-year college, 50% more likely to attend a selective four-year college, and significantly more likely to persist in college than their matched peers outside the IB. The City of Miami Beach Commission entered into an education compact with Miami-Dade County Public Schools with one of the initiatives of the compact to implement the IB curriculum throughout Miami Beach feeder schools.[53]

In some other parts of the world, the International Baccalaureate has been well-received. In 2013, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the IB announced a plan that will expand the opportunities for Japanese students to complete the IB curriculum in Japanese.[54] In Malaysia a project has been developed in response to interest expressed by the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MoE) in working with the IB to implement the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) in select secondary state schools.[55] The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) signed an agreement with the IB in efforts to widen the options offered for parents and to meet the different needs of students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).[56] In April 2014 The King Faisal Foundation in Saudi Arabia and the IB signed a memorandum of understanding to develop IB programmes, including the IBDP, in up to forty primary and secondary schools, with the goal of developing these schools as centres of excellence as IB World Schools.[57] In Peru President Ollanta Humala has committed to building a high performing schools network (COAR) made up of IB World Schools. In early 2016 thirteen new schools were authorised by the IB as part of this programme.[58] In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa has also committed to improving education in state schools by implementing IB programmes and by January 2016 there were over 200 state schools.[59] With support from local organisations,[60] there are thirteen state IB schools in Russia. In Spain, various models have been implemented (3 types of schools in Spain: public schools, private schools and state funded-private or ‘concerted’ schools) and led to extensive growth with 140 schools.[61]

Internationally the IB continues to be recognised as innovative, and in 2014 the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) announced the IB Career-related Certificate as a finalist for their annual WISE Awards.[62] However, the IB has came under heavy criticism around the world in 2020 for controversial estimated grades, set when Covid-19 precautions obstructed examinations. [63]


May 2020 results

On 27 March 2020, the IB announced that exams for the May 2020 session had been canceled as a response to the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic.[64] They claimed that final grades would instead be calculated based on course work, students' teacher-predicted grades, and historic school data. "Prior to the attribution of final grades, this process was subjected to rigorous testing by educational statistical specialists to ensure our methods were robust. It was also checked against the last five years’ sets of results data," an IB spokesman said.[65] On 5 July 2020, the IB released its results for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme candidates enrolled in the May 2020 session. By 13 July an online petition calling for a clarification of the grading methodology, and for free remarking and retesting, had been signed more than 17,000 times.[66]

One headteacher wrote to the UK Department for Education calling for clarity over "what appears to be a set of randomly generated" grades.[67]

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, urged schools, universities and students to recognise that the results “are not real grades”.[68]

Howard Stickley, the IB Co-ordinator at TASIS school in Switzerland, said it is "obvious that the use of historic data was flawed from the outset".[69]

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), the UK's exam regulator, issued a statement on July 9th 2020, saying it would "scrutinise" the grades. We want to "satisfy ourselves that results have been delivered in line with our extraordinary regulatory framework," a spokesman said.[70]

After some students in Norway had their university offers rescinded because of their IB grades, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority issued an Order to Provide Information to the IB, under the General Data Protection Regulation.[71]

Some argued that using a school's historic data to produce grades was unfair to black or low-income students, or students from smaller schools.[72][73] Others complained that the IB's appeal process for marks ("Enquiry upon results", or EUR) made little sense, since the original mark itself was arbitrary; the lack of a functioning appeal process added to the injustice felt by many students.[74][75]

See also

Notes and references

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  2. ^ "Overview of the International Baccalaureate Organization". Archived from the original on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  3. ^ "Programmes". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  4. ^ "IB Identity Announcement". Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  5. ^ "George Walker".
  6. ^ "UNESCO Resources Publications" (PDF). Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  7. ^ Elisabeth Fox (2001). "The Emergence of the International Baccalaureate as an Impetus to Curriculum Reform. These teachers would go on to become universally hated by every IB student ever.". In Mary Hayden; Jeff Thompson (eds.). International Education: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 141. ISBN 9780749436162.
  8. ^ "International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme". Retrieved 8 May 2007.
  9. ^ Mary Hayden (2001). "Global Issues: A Necessary Component of a Balanced Curriculum for the Twenty-First Century". In Mary Ray Hayden; Jeff William Thompson (eds.). International Education: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 94. ISBN 9780749436162.
  10. ^ Peterson, Alexander Duncan Campbell (2003). Schools Across Frontiers: The Story of the International Baccalaureate and the United World Colleges. Open Court Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-8126-9505-2.
  11. ^ Peterson, p. 267
  12. ^ Peterson, p. 265
  13. ^ Peterson, p. 243
  14. ^ "IB Middle Years Programme at a glance".
  15. ^ "International Baccalaureate". Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  16. ^ Peterson, p. 246
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ "IBO History". Archived from the original on 28 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  19. ^ "UID Version:". Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Create a foundation in Switzerland". LPG Geneva. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
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  36. ^ "Advisory Bodies". Retrieved 2 November 2015.
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  38. ^ Wallis, Claudia (10 December 2006). "How to bring our schools out of the 20th Century". Time. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  39. ^ Rothman, Robert (Summer 2002). "A test worth teaching to". American Educator. Archived from the original on 1 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  40. ^ a b "Expanding the Advanced Placement Initiative Program" (PDF). US Department of Education. February 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  41. ^ Gross, Jane (21 June 2003). "Diploma for the 'Top of the Top'; International Baccalaureate Gains Favor in Region". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  42. ^ Shepard, Jessica (10 February 2009). "Leap from Cardiff to Amsterdam for Baccalaureate". London. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  43. ^ "12 April 2016 weekly update". KELSI.
  44. ^ Ward, Paula Reed (16 February 2006). "Cutting international program embroils Upper St. Clair board in controversy". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  45. ^ Walters, Joanna (14 March 2006). "All American Trouble". London. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  46. ^ Kranhert III, John (21 March 2009). "Pinecrest Drops IB Program". The Pilot. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  47. ^ Martindale, Scott (12 March 2008). "175 Saddleback Valley Unified teachers face layoffs". OCRegister. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  48. ^ Dayton, Margaret (21 May 2008). "The Senate Site". Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  49. ^ "League of Women Voters of Utah". 28 February 2008. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  50. ^ "Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett challenge perceptions of CPS". Chicago Tribune. 13 December 2013.
  51. ^ "International Baccalaureate Program". Chicago Tonight. WTTW.
  52. ^ "Working to My Potential: The Postsecondary Experiences of CPS Students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program".
  53. ^ "Official Website – City of Miami Beach". Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  54. ^ "Japanese Students Obtain Greater Opportunities to Pursue an IB Education". Archived from the original on 14 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  55. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  56. ^ "ADEC signs a protocol agreement with the International Baccalaureate Organization today". ADEC.
  57. ^ "Faisal Foundation, IBO sign accord". 4 April 2014.
  58. ^ Orange, Phillip. "International Baccalaureate approves 13 more schools". Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  59. ^ "Ecuador sums more public schools accredited with International Baccalaureate – ANDES".
  60. ^ " Basic Information". Educational Trust Foundation.
  61. ^ Resnik, Julia (2 April 2016). "The development of the International Baccalaureate in Spanish speaking countries: a global comparative approach". Globalisation, Societies and Education. 14 (2): 298–325. doi:10.1080/14767724.2015.1051951.
  62. ^ "Introduction".
  63. ^
  64. ^ "May 2020 examinations will no longer be held". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  65. ^ "IB results: Anger grows over grading 'scandal'". Tes. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  66. ^ Jaschik, Scott (13 July 2020). "What's Wrong With This Year's IB Scores?". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  67. ^ "School leader criticises 'randomly generated' IB grades". Tes. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  68. ^ "ISC chair urges schools and universities to remember this year's grades 'are not real'". Independent Education Today. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  69. ^ "A Look at the 2020 IB Assessments". Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  70. ^ "International Baccalaureate to be placed under Ofqual "scrutiny"". The Profs. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  71. ^ "Order to provide information" (PDF).
  72. ^ "ANALYSIS-Global exam grading algorithm under fire for suspected bias". Reuters. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  73. ^ "Meet the Secret Algorithm That's Keeping Students Out of College". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  74. ^
  75. ^