International Baccalaureate

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

This is the presentation that was held at the open house. For more information on the IB program at Western please give them a watch.

Expression of Interest Deadline:  March 15, 2021 at 4 PM.

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


Please Note: there is no IB Math Placement test anymore as it has been permanently cancelled.


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 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 however many IB courses they want, and will receive a certificate of completion for each one. Additionally, Full IB students must take the Theory of Knowledge course, do CAS, and write an extended essay. Partial IB students do not need to; however, it is possible to do so should the student wish. Full IB is more difficult due to the increased amount of work students must do, but it also  provides greater benefits. Many universities will recognize the IB Diploma, but will not do so for IB Certificates.


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.



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 grade, which reflects the student’s performance in the regular Alberta program.

IB grades are on a scale of 1-7. Grades are determined by the student’s performance in the external and internal assessments relative to other IB candidates in the world. A grade out of 7 is assigned from the grade boundaries that are determined by the overall performance of everyone who took the exam in the same year. Grade boundaries are a range of percentages that a candidate must achieve to obtain a certain mark out of 7. If the overall performance of everyone in the world is poor, the grade boundaries to obtain a 7 would be lower than if the performance was higher.


Important Acronyms

  • IB: International Baccalaureate
  • 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, or essay regarding the course subject.
  • TOK: Theory of Knowledge - must be completed by full IB students
  • CAS: Creativity, Activity, Service - must be completed by full IB students
  • EE: Extended Essay. Starting the second semester of grade 11, IB diploma students will write a 4000 word essay in one of the six IB subject groups. This essay will be supervised by a guiding teacher, who will aid students in the completion of their essay and supervise the process.
  • P1/P2/P3: Paper 1, 2, 3 (If taking History in French, Épreuve 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 any prior knowledge of the language they are choosing to study, and are complete beginners.


The IB Program at WCHS

Bilingual IB Diploma 

At WCHS, we are very proud to say that we are the only high school in Calgary to offer students the opportunity to obtain a Bilingual IB Diploma in French and English, which greatly benefits students who wish to study abroad after High School. To earn a Bilingual IB Diploma, students must either achieve a grade of 3 or higher in two languages from the Diploma Program studies in language and literature, or achieve a grade of 3 or higher in studies in language and literature, as well as in an Individual and Societies or Science subject completed in a different language. At WCHS, History is offered in French which allows students who complete History in French and English Literature to obtain a Bilingual Diploma. 

Alberta’s Dual-Diploma Requirement 

While working on a International Baccalaureate diploma or certificate, do not be surprised to find out that students in Alberta will also receive an Alberta High School Diploma. As each IB student pursues the course load of their choice, they will also receive adjusted Alberta grades that correspond with the difficulty of the IB programme. IB grades, depending on the course, are only dependent on work specifically requested by IBO. This includes the final exam and any other written or speaking task such as the internal assessment. However, because Alberta Education requires a student to go beyond completion of exams and specific work, an IB student will receive Alberta grades based on their Alberta and IB mixed curriculum that are adjusted to fully represent the rigority of any additional work. 

Final Exams (General) 

Final exams for WCHS International Baccalaureate students take place at the school. Students taking exams will be notified of the location of the exam, but it should be noted that all IB exams for students at WCHS occur in the month of May, during regularly scheduled class time, before the Alberta exam break of June. All IB final exams are written by hand in pen, with the exception of multiple choice papers, which are written using pencil.


IB exams cost $119 USD per exam (subject to change, but generally is around this amount). Additionally, there is a “candidate registration fee” that costs $172 USD (subject to change). Full IB students only have to pay this registration fee once, however partial IB students must pay it every year that they are taking exams.

 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.

In order to enter the IB Programme at Western, students must prepare an expression of interest package (deadline is mid-January 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. 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 International Baccalaureate (IB). 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.)

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

Here is an great opportunity for CBE artists aged 15 and older. Check it out! #WeAreCBE

RT @UsihChristopher: As we conclude Week 1 of online learning for Grades 7-12 students while continuing with in-person learning for K-6 students, I am grateful for the professionalism and dedication of our staff. Every time, staff have stepped up to support students and families. Thank you very much.

Friday, Dec. 4 is a system-wide non-instructional day. There are no classes for CBE students – this includes in-person, at-home and Hub online learning. Enjoy the beautiful weather and please continue to follow all public health measures #WeAreCBE

RT @mckenzie_lake: Our Gr 1Ss have been promoting the Mayor’s food drive and we are off to a rocking start. Gr1s are promoting using videos and announcements. Gr 2s are graphing our progress. ⁦@nenshi⁩ ⁦@dmmccomish#yycbe #wearecbe

Earlier today we shared an update with CBE families with some important system information #yycbe #WeAreCBE