International Baccalaureate

Grade 9 Expression of Interest: Western IB Programme Important Dates:

IB Open House Presentation (pdf) - November 2022
View the Presentation (youtube)


Expression of Interest Deadline:  March 15, 2023 at 4 PM.

Please email the I.B. Coordinator, Susan Rivers, with any questions or concerns.

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

About Assessment in IB (from

The International Baccalaureate Programme is an enriched program of studies for students. The purpose of the program is to develop students that are knowledgeable, caring, and inquiring. In this program, students will be encouraged to strengthen their academic abilities and worldview by tackling enriched content with an emphasis on global perspective.

Full vs. Partial

IB students can obtain the IB Diploma (Full IB) or IB Certificates (Partial IB). 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 (this is explained further in Choosing Courses). IB Certificate students, however, can choose to take 2 or more IB courses and will receive a certificate of completion for each one. 

Choosing 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

Students in Full IB must take at least 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 (provided that courses are available). Most full IB students at WCHS choose to replace their group 6 subject with another science course, but again, it could be any course from groups one to five.

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.

International Baccalaureate at Western Canada

Western Canada High School is pleased and proud to offer the internationally recognized International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme. Founded in 1968, this challenging programme is offered in over 140 countries and recognized by post-secondary institutions worldwide.

The majority of students who are enrolled in IB at Western will take their IB courses in English; however, Western also offers an IB Bilingual Diploma in French, and an IB Diploma with a concentration in International Languages: French and Spanish.

Students who register as IB Diploma students, in addition to their academic courses,  take the core components of the IB programme. This includes an extended essay in a subject area of their choice, the CAS (creativity - activity - service) portfolio, as well as the Theory of Knowledge course.

Students who register as IB Course Candidate students (partial IB) mix IB courses with Alberta Education courses.  The extended essay will be optional and they will have modified CAS and Theory of Knowledge requirements.

In order to enter the IB Programme at Western, students must prepare an expression of interest package (deadline is mid-March of the Grade 9 year) to register in the cohort IB Grade 10 Programme. At the end of Grade 10, students may register for IB courses based on the advice of teachers and student preferences. Students must combine a serious work ethic and a strong love of learning to succeed in this academically rigorous and rewarding programme.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is designed to be a challenging alternative for academically motivated high school students. Students may pursue either a Courses (partial) program (with a minimum of 2 subjects) or a Diploma (full) program.

Western Canada offers IB courses in English (SL & HL), History (HL), Chemistry (HL), Biology (SL & HL), Physics (SL & HL), Mathematics (SL, HL, Math Studies SL), French B (HL - Immersion), French as a Second Language (French ab initio (SL) and French B (SL), Spanish ab initio (SL), Spanish B (SL & HL) and Philosophy (SL & HL). Other courses are available through the Chinese Academy or on-line through Pamoja Education for an additional charge. In addition, Diploma IB students take the course Theory of Knowledge, write an Extended Essay and complete the C.A.S. (Creativity, Activity, Service) component of the program.

To enter IB courses at the Grade 11 level, students must successfully complete pre-IB Grade 10 courses in the appropriate subjects and receive a teacher recommendation. These courses offer enrichment designed to prepare students for IB courses.

Fees for IB exams and exam registration (in the final year of the course only) are the responsibility of the student. Students are responsible for paying IB exam fees in the year the exams are written (currently these fees are $200/course).  There is also a $25 annual fee to participate in the IB Programme at Western. For more information regarding this program, please contact Ms. Rivers.

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​​​International Baccalaureate Programme at the CBE

The CBE offers alternative programs of academic excellence and rigour, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. The program develops “internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.” (From the IB Learner Profile.) ​

The programme encourages participation in creative and service-oriented actions, as well as personal and academic reflection, addresses intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being and covers the curriculum required by Alberta Education and the IB programme.

You can look on the CBE website for more information on the IB program, including registration information.​​

RT @UsihChristopher: The 2022-23 Chief Superintendent Student Advisory Council held its final meeting this pm. The students shared key reflections and strategies to empower student voice and agency. I’m immensely proud of our students. Thanks to staff advisors & admin #WeAreCBE

Merci, for joining the board meeting to share your experiences as French Immersion students! #WeAreCBE

The Board of Trustees approved the 2021-24 Education Plan and 2023-24 budget at its May 30 regular board meeting. #yycbe

Today’s Board of Trustees public meeting starts at 11 a.m. at the Education Centre. Join us in-person or stream the meeting online #yycbe

Monday, May 29 is a system-wide non-instructional day so there are no classes for CBE students. It is also the provincial election day – don’t forget to vote! Have a safe long weekend. #WeAreCBE