The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program
at George Mason High School
A Tradition of Excellence and Expanding Opportunity Since 1981
The First IB Diploma Program World School in the State of Virginia
Introduction to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at George Mason High School
Since 1981, the most rigorous course of studies offered to the students of George Mason High School is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. This program of advanced internationally recognized syllabi and external examinations offers a comprehensive and world-class education during the last two years of high school. The IB Diploma Program is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepares students for success at university and life beyond. The program has gained recognition and respect from the world’s universities. In 2013, 85% of seniors take one or more IB courses and exams; thus, our IB Diploma Program serves a large majority of students at Mason.
The Program- provides a package of education that balances subject breadth and depth, and considers the nature of knowledge across disciplines through the unique theory of knowledge course
- encourages international-mindedness in IB students, starting with a foundation in their own language and culture
- develops a positive attitude to learning that prepares students for university education
- has a reputation for its rigorous external assessment with published global standards, making this qualification welcomed by universities worldwide
- emphasized the development of the whole student- physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
Mason IB Students can seek individual IB Course certificates by simply taking an IB course and exam. They may also pursue the full IB Diploma. The IB Diploma requires students to study in six core areas: English, a world language, social science, science, mathematics, and the arts or an elective. For the IB Diploma, a candidate must successfully complete the following: earn a minimum of 24 points on six examinations graded on a scale of 1–7; complete a 4000-word extended essay in one of the content areas; complete the Theory of Knowledge course; and reflect upon extra-curricular activities in three areas: Creativity, Action and Service. In May 2012, George Mason seniors posted a 98% success rate in completing the IB Diploma and achieved Diploma Scores above the international average.
Students not wishing to fulfill all of the requirements of the IB Diploma are strongly encouraged to take individual courses in the IB curriculum to help them prepare for future education. These students thus earn IB certificates. In the 2012-2013 school year, 85% of the school’s seniors enrolled in one or more IB courses.
The IB program is guided by a clear mission translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. This clarity of the mission as learning outcomes provides a consistent thematic approach that influences all of our educational practice at George Mason High School.
The IB Mission Statement:
The International Baccalaureate Organization aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
The IB learner profile is the IBO mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century:
A Tradition of Excellence and Expanding Opportunity
Currently at George Mason High School:
* 85% of George Mason students participate in the IB Diploma Program.
• 26% of students in the Class of 2012 are pursing the full IB Diploma.
• 35% of students in the Class of 2013 are pursuing the full IB Diploma.
As our program continues to expand and serve more students our school’s performance has increased:
• For at least the past fifteen years, George Mason IB Diploma Candidates’ performances on most end of term IB Exams have surpassed the international average.
• Our diploma pass rate has consistently surpassed the international average.
Why pursue IB Courses?
Understanding the IB Diploma Program
The IB program has six groups of study:
Group 1: Studies in language and literature
Group 2: Second Languages
Group 3: Individual and Societies (Social Studies)
Group 4: Experimental Sciences
Group 5: Mathematics
Group 6: Arts or Electives
IB Core (Open to
The IB diploma program is the most rigorous course of study offered at George Mason High School. Students who wish to undertake the full IB diploma program must complete courses in each of the groups shown above and earn a total of 24 points on three higher and three standard level examinations. (All six examinations are graded on a scale of 1 to 7 so the maximum examination total is 42 points.) Diploma candidates also take a seminar course called “Theory of Knowledge”, write an extended essay, and must complete at least 150 hours in the areas of creativity, action, and community service. Students who complete all of the above IB courses and requirements and satisfactorily pass the related IB examinations receive, in addition to their high school diploma, the IB Diploma. Students may also take fewer than six IB courses from the groups listed. These students fulfill all requirements in their selected IB classes and receive an IB certificate for each of these classes rather than an IB Diploma. IB courses are offered at either the standard or higher level. Standard level courses explore a range of topics within a subject and typically last one year. In higher level courses, students study subjects more in-depth over a two-year period.
The IB program is excellent preparation for college level work. In addition, when making admissions decisions, colleges look very favorably upon the IB program as indication of a student’s level of motivation and ability to perform in a rigorous and challenging program. Studies on the acceptance rates of IB Diploma students show that these students have higher acceptance rates at colleges in the United States. Like the Advanced Placement program, many American colleges give course credit or advanced standing to a student who earns a satisfactory score on an IB examination. General information about university recognition of the IB can be found at http://www.ibo.org/ibna/recognition/ and recognition/credit policies for specific colleges and universities can be found at www.ibo.org/country/US/index.cfm. Students who are interested in the IB program should consult the IB Coordinator and their counselor.
A suggested general sequence of courses for students who seek to earn an International Baccalaureate Diploma is listed on the following pages for your reference. Each student’s IB Diploma program is planned to meet the individual student’s needs, strengths, and interests.
Students who complete advanced placement, college-level, or courses required for an International Baccalaureate Diploma shall be deemed to have completed the requirements for graduation under these standards provided that they have earned the verified credits as required of students earning either a standard or an advanced studies diploma.
(Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, July 28, 2000)