IB Diploma Program

The International School of Ouagadougou is proud to offer the IB Diploma Programme to all students in grades 11-12.

In April 2020, the International School of Ouagadougou was authorized to offer the IBDP program. That same year, with COVID mitigation efforts in place, the school physically opened, and beginning in August 2020, ISO’s first IBDP cohort of students began their studies. In the IBDP students study courses in six groups and complete the core components of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS).

Through the support of our Head of School, IB Coordinator and Students, CAS Coordinator, IB Diploma teachers, and support staff, our students submit assessments and sit exams for the May session.

These two-year courses that run concurrently aim to develop understandings, skills, and the IB Learner Profile attributes, which align specifically to the IB mission and philosophy.

Thomas Hibbers

Thomas Hibbers

IB Coordinator

Our IB course listing for the 2020-21 school year includes the following courses offered at Standard and Higher Level:

Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature

IB English A Language and Literature

IB French A Language and Literature

Group 2: Language Acquisition

IB French B

Group 3: Individuals and Societies

IB History

  • IB Economics
  • IB Global Politics (2021-22)

Group 4: Sciences

IB Physics

IB  Biology

Group 5: Mathematics

IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches

IB Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation

Group 6: The Arts

IB Visual Arts

IB Theatre

The International Baccalaureate Organization Mission:

The International Baccalaureate® 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 programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

For more information, visit the IBO website: https://ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/

What is the IB at ISO?

It is the opportunity to be challenged, to develop a broader perspective, to contribute to a diverse community, to grow through that diversity, to address the needs of others, and to take action.


The IB Learner Profile

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

As IB learners we strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective.

The IB learner profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals and groups become responsible members of local, national and global communities.

Approaches to Learning

Learning how to learn enables students to be in control of their own learning and develop self-reliance and confidence. The IB outlines 5 skill areas that comprise the Approaches to Learning that overlap in a practical sense throughout activities, engagements, and processes at school and beyond. Explore the skill areas and their sub-skills, and follow the links to utilize the ISO Approaches to Learning website (https://sites.google.com/site/atlskills) for helpful resources.

IB Recognition

Universities around the world recognize the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme for its preparation of students for successful entry into college and university, as well as for lifelong learning and life in a global society.

IB is well recognized for entry to European and Canadian universities, and it is a qualification that is notable for its rigor, breadth, depth, and intrinsic benefit when applying to U.S. universities.

Value of IB for College/University

While IB is internationally recognized, many U.S. universities and colleges still require students to submit an SAT or ACT score, and the vast majority of U.S. schools assess students holistically for admission using a combination of GPA, standardized test scores, essays, transcripts, and in some cases, IB predicted grades.

In terms of acceptance of IB scores for university credit, HL subjects are generally accepted and will have an equivalency published on each university’s website for a general education course that may be waived if a minimum score is achieved. SL subjects are less often accepted, but there are some universities that do value high scores in these subjects for credit. Also, there are U.S. universities that prioritize students completing the full IB Diploma and extend a benefit to students for that (e.g. Sophomore standing, acceptance of SL courses for credit as part of an IB Diploma, etc.).

Admission to the IB Diploma Program and Prerequisites

Admission to the IB Diploma is open to all students currently enrolled at ISO. Students may elect to complete the full IB Diploma or individual IB and non-IB courses. Enrollment in IB courses at Higher Level or Standard Level is also open to all students with the exception of IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches HL and courses in French. All students are required to enroll in Theory of Knowledge for both grade 11 and 12.

To enroll in IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches HL, students must receive permission from their current Mathematics teacher and the IB Mathematics teacher, and must have completed the Algebra 2 Extended course with a B+ or higher or the Algebra 2 Standard course with an A- or higher in grade 10. Enrollment in French A or French B courses is subject to the recommendation of the Modern Foreign Languages department and is based upon students’ language development pathway as outlined in the Language policy.

Students may make changes to their course schedule through the first five weeks of grade 11, between semester 1 and semester 2 of grade 11, or in the first five weeks of grade 12. Outside of these course change periods, exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Upper School Principal and IB Diploma Coordinator. Initial course selections are made by the beginning of May, and the add/drop period will extend from the start of the school year in August through the 5th week of the school year (typically the end of September).

The IB Diploma Program Core: TOK, Extended Essay, and CAS

Along with their six courses, IB Diploma students have the opportunity to learn through the core of the program which includes Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS). Theory of Knowledge is a course designed to teach students critical thinking. The TOK course challenges students’ assumptions about the world and helps them to recognize the wide range of perspectives that exist. The central questions in the course are “What do I know?” and “How do I know that?”, and students investigate the influence of culture, past experience, sense perception, emotion, and other factors on forming our beliefs about the world we live in. IB graduates from other schools always say that the TOK course fundamentally changed the way they think, and it can be difficult, inspiring, uncomfortable, and highly engaging.

The Extended Essay is an argumentative research paper that must be limited to 4000 words. It requires the student to find a subject they are passionate about and take on the role of expert as they investigate a very specific topic at great depth.

The CAS program has some similarities to Service Learning, particularly in regard to the student-initiated projects that address a need in the broader community. It is essentially a component that centers on learning through experience, and CAS emphasizes the importance of goal-setting and thoughtful reflection in students’ growth and development.

Subjects on Offer

The following list represents the IB courses typically on offer at ISO. Course offerings are determined by student interest, resources, minimum enrollment, and the requirements of the IB Diploma Program. Courses will be guaranteed in year 2 regardless of external factors, and ISO will adapt course delivery to ensure that this is possible.

Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature

  • IB English A: Language and Literature HL and SL
  • IB French A: Language and Literature HL and SL

Group 2: Language Acquisition

  • IB French B HL and SL

Group 3: Individuals and Societies

  • IB History HL and SL – HL option: Africa and the Middle East
  • IB Economics SL

Group 4: Sciences

  • IB Biology HL and SL
  • IB Physics HL and SL

Group 5: Mathematics

  • IB Mathematics Analysis and Approaches HL
  • IB Mathematics Applications and Interpretations SL

Group 6: The Arts

  • IB Visual Arts HL and SL

Awarding the IB Diploma

Passing and achieving highly in the IB Diploma is determined through a score earned on a 45-point scale. Each of the six subjects are scored on a 1-7 scale, amounting to 42 possible points. Students can earn an additional 3 points by way of their Extended Essay and the Theory of Knowledge assessment instrument (an essay and exhibition), allowing for 45 possible points. The mark for passing the IB Diploma is set at 24 points, and strong students typically score upwards of 40 points. That said, students may instead attempt individual IB courses and forgo the IB Diploma. ISO will continue to award a High School Diploma upon graduation for all students who meet our graduation credit requirements.