IB Explained

Lauriston Girls’ School offers a dual pathway with the choice of two Senior Secondary certificates via the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (IBDP) in Year 11 and 12, both providing gateways to tertiary education options in Australia and overseas.

Choice of pathway in the Senior College is one of the factors that sets Lauriston apart from other independent girls’ schools. Essentially, it enables the students to pursue their own interests and a course of study that suits the way they learn best.

The IB is a not-for-profit foundation registered in Switzerland governed by a Board of Directors alongside a leadership team and councils and boards which support it’s functioning. Our current Principal, Susan Just, has recently been appointed to the IB Heads Council as an Asia Pacific member for the next three years. Elected to this position by her peers, Susan joins 11 members from around the world to advise the organisation and strengthen the operations of the IB.

The IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, are confident in their own identities, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity and are prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and unpredictable situations. Currently, IB programmes are being offered in 5,400 schools in 159 countries. Each of these is committed to the development of students who are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective (the 10 attributes of the learner profile).

Lauriston is committed to offering the IB as an alternative programme to the VCE. The Senior College has offered the program for more than 32 years and has a team of IB educators with national and international experience. Several staff are IB workshop leaders and examiners in their field. 

Through cultivating self-reflection, collaborative learning and community engagement as well as encouraging students to pursue their passions and interests, the IB provides students with the tools to become active, contributing members of a global community, qualities which are congruent with Lauriston’s values.

Why do students choose the IB Diploma?

The IBDP is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education, with final examinations, that prepares students aged 16 to 19 for success at university and in life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

How does the IB work?

IB Diploma students must choose one course from each of five subject groups delivering a breadth of knowledge and understanding in language and literature, individuals and societies, the sciences and mathematics. Furthermore, students must also choose either an arts course from the arts group or a second course from one of the other subject groups. IB courses can be taken at higher level (HL) or standard level (SL). At least three, and not more than four, are taken at HL (240 teaching hours), while the remaining courses are taken at SL (150 teaching hours).

Students who choose the IB are interested in studying a broad range of subjects to provide a strong foundation for tertiary study and in selecting three subjects that they will study to a standard that is widely considered to be at the tertiary level.

They also study three compulsory core components: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE) and CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). TOK and the EE emphasise research and writing while the CAS course requires personal reflection and enables students to develop an awareness of the world-wide community of thinkers and learners.

All students who undertake the IB must able to consistently display highly competent standards in both their written and oral expression and an ongoing interest in reading widely by the end of Year 10.

Assessing the IB Diploma and the ATAR

The award of the IB’s Diploma requires a minimum total of 24 points from a maximum of 45.

Each subject is graded on a scale from 1 (minimum score) to 7 (maximum score). Three additional points can be gained from the student’s performance in TOK and the EE. TOK and the EE are graded from A-E.

IB assessment involves a variety of methods including written examinations, spoken examinations, essays, portfolios, field work, science practical reports and internal assessment of coursework over the two years. Responsibility for the quality of candidates’ work and final grades rests with IB Assistant Examiners worldwide, led by Chief Examiners who are international authorities in their fields and supported by teams of examiners and moderators. All subjects have an internal component and external components. The internal component varies from subject to subject and could involve the development of portfolios, exhibitions, reports or oral presentations. The external assessment component in most subjects are the November examinations but, in some subjects, there are additional external components such as an essay.

Final results for Australian IB students are converted into a notional ATAR to allow IB students to be considered for tertiary places alongside their counterparts who have completed state curricula. This means that IB students can apply in any Australian state or territory with confidence about how their results compare to their peers who have completed state curricula and received an ATAR.

Below is the national ATAR conversion table for 2022 university entrance:

2021 Passing Diploma Score (including bonus points) ATAR