International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program - Information Session for the 2024-25 School Year

Click HERE to join the virtual session - Wednesday, November 29th - 7:00PM

If you have any questions about the evening, you can email the IB Coordinator (Mr. Glenn Finockio) at

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program - Info Night for Grade 11 + 12 Students and Families

What is International Baccalaureate (IB)?

“The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is an assessed programme for students aged 16 to 19. It is respected by leading universities across the globe.” – IBO

The IB Diploma Programme is a Program of Choice in the Calgary Board of Education and is offered at five CBE High Schools.  Henry Wise Wood High School is your designated IB School for all interested families currently living in Areas 5 and 6.  The IB Diploma Programme is a rigorous and challenging program that is perfect for students who are passionate and very interested in specializing in at least one or possibly all subject areas.  We offer a wide variety of IB courses to meet the needs and interests of students. The IB Programme is proven to prepare students extremely well for university as well.

Two Candidacy Options - IB Diploma Students & IB Course Students

IB students can be either an IB Diploma (Full IB) Student or  an IB Course (Partial IB) Student. The difference between the two is that IB Diploma students must take at least 6 IB courses in at least 5 groups, with at least three courses at the higher level.  IB Course Students choose to take IB courses they are most interested in (minimum 2) and will receive a certificate of completion for each one. Additionally, IB Diploma Students must write an:

  • Extended essay.

Starting in your Grade 11 year, all IB students will be required to participate in:

  • CAS – creativity, activity, service
  • TOK – theory of knowledge

IB Courses

The courses in IB are categorized into one of 6 groups:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language & Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals & Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

IB Diploma Students must take 6 IB courses, with at least one course from each group, with the exception of Group 6. If a student does not want to take a Group 6 course, they can instead replace it with a second course from any of the other groups). Most IB Diploma Students at HWW choose to replace their group 6 subject with another science course.

Higher Level (HL) vs. Standard Level (SL)

The IB programme offers courses at two different levels: higher level (HL) and standard level (SL). In both higher level and standard level IB courses, students will be expected to follow the IB curriculum. However, HL courses will require the student to learn more content, which will further enrich their knowledge in the course. HL courses will also expect a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, and assessment grading will reflect this. However, the SL courses should not be considered “easier” or “watered-down” in comparison to their HL counterparts, as both courses are both rigorous and academically challenging. Students should pursue courses at the higher level if they are interested in the subject and are willing to further develop their academic abilities. If a student is registered in full IB, the student must take 3-4 IB courses at the higher level. 


Due to Alberta Education’s requirements, students will receive both a IB grade, determined solely by the IB’s external assessments and internal assessments, as well as a regular Alberta Education grade (%), which reflects the student’s performance in the regular Alberta program.

IB grades are on a scale of 1-7 (7 being the highest). Grades are determined by the student’s performance in the external and internal assessments relative to the established IB standard on those course assessments. Grade boundaries are a range of percentages that a candidate must achieve to obtain a certain mark out of 7. 

Important Acronyms in IB

  • IB: International Baccalaureate
  • DP: Diploma Programme
  • HL and SL: Higher Level and Standard Level. Standard Level is the normal standard of IB courses, while Higher Level subjects will learn content at a more advanced standard.
  • EA: External Assessment – this is the formal name for IB examinations that are held in May each year.
  • IA: Internal Assessment – all IB subjects require the student to complete a research paper, lab report, oral assignment or essay regarding the course subject.
  • TOK: Theory of Knowledge - must be completed by IB students starting in Grade 11.
  • CAS: Creativity, Activity, Service - must be completed by IB students starting in Grade 11.
  • EE: Extended Essay. Starting in grade 11, IB diploma students will begin working towards writing a 4000 word essay in one of the six IB subject groups. This essay will be supervised by a teacher advisor at HWW, who will aid students in the completion of their essay and supervise the process.  The EE is ultimately due in Grade 12.
  • P1/P2/P3: Paper 1, 2, 3) – these are exams that partial and full IB students will write in May for their external assessments.
  • Ab initio: Used when referring to Group 2: Language Acquisition courses. Ab initio courses are SL courses, but they are for people who do not have much prior knowledge of the language they are choosing to study, and are complete beginners.

IB Coordinator - Glenn Finockio (

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