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The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Programme is for globally minded students looking to challenge themselves academically while potentially earning college credits.

Recognized as the leader in international education, the IB Programme is another way that Cheshire Academy prioritizes an individualized approach to education.

The IB Programme’s challenging curriculum aims to develop a capacity for inquiry, research, collaboration, and problem solving that makes students better learners and better people.

The IB Programme is different from other curricula because it:

  • encourages students of all ages to think critically and challenge assumption
  • develops independently of government and national systems, incorporating quality practice from research and our global community
  • encourages students of all ages to consider both local and global context
  • develops multilingual students

Cheshire Academy became an IB World School in 2011. Recognized as the leader in international education, the IB Programme cultivates the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enable students to excel at the university level.

CA adopted the IB because it is truly student centered, interdisciplinary, and multi-modal in its learning experience, and because the philosophy and pedagogical approaches behind it fit perfectly with the our mission. Cheshire Academy has successfully integrated IB into our existing ethos, with an emphasis on providing each student the exact, right level of challenge with the exact right level of support.

Download our profile of students who excelled in the IB Programme at CA:

The International Baccalaureate® Programme is an internationally consistent, extensively developed global education program held in high regard by colleges and universities all over the world. The IB is known for its rigor and explicit emphasis on creativity, synthesis, critical thinking and deep understanding.

Known for its high level of rigor and commitment, the IB Programme not only provides students a way of earning college credits in high school, it also fosters the personal and academic skills needed to succeed in a university environment. The program is a “liberal arts approach” at an appropriate high school level, offering students a well-rounded education that emphasizes research, writing, and reading. Cheshire Academy is one of only a few schools in Connecticut to offer this prestigious program, and students who have completed this program have gone on to top schools, including Yale, Fordham, and Vassar.


Viewed as an alternative to Advanced Placement (AP) courses, IB is an internationally consistent, extensively developed global education program that emphasizes creativity, synthesis, critical thinking, and deep understanding. There is a holistic approach in which writing is important in all components and all subject areas. Though writing is not generally emphasized in high school level math and science courses, IB courses require a broad look at—and comprehensive understanding of—each subject. To provide a 360-degree view of an individual student’s abilities and knowledge, IB students are evaluated over the course of the program through several assessments that comprise the final grade. IB courses also emphasize the presence of multiple perspectives, encouraging students to formulate their own ideas and come to their own conclusions, leaving room for greater self-expression and personal exploration.

It is well known that students aspiring to enroll in competitive colleges and universities focus on taking a large number of advanced placement (AP) courses in high school, even as many colleges limit the amount of credit they are willing to give for high grades.

The AP trend has grown steadily in the US since the 1960s, the same time period when the international diplomatic community initiated the International Baccalaureate® Programme (IB). The IB is growing in the United States and all around the world. It is highly established and very well known all over Europe. While both programs offer rigorous courses, there are distinct and important differences between the AP and IB.

There is a consistent theme in all IB courses: a careful and explicit focus on critical thinking and problem solving. Students learn adaptable critical thinking skills and are asked to apply them creatively, and teachers are encouraged to adopt best practices consistent with emerging brain science and modern educational research. There is decreased emphasis on “coverage” as that has normally been understood in high school education. The injunction to teach “critical thinking skills” has been much repeated in the educational world over the last 30 years; we think the IB Program contains a sophisticated and effective focus on this challenge. All students in the Diploma Programme must take three High Level (HL) courses and three Standard Level (SL) courses. The primary distinction between all HL and SL courses is the volume of work; in all other ways, they are the same.


The IB program was initiated by the international diplomatic community in the 1960s and has grown consistently in all ways since then. The founders had a clear agenda: to create a consistent, rigorous program that would allow fluid student movement around the world and help promote international understanding and goodwill.


Nearly all of CA’s juniors and seniors take one or more IB courses. Students who want the full experience consider the IB Diploma Programme, which requires the completion of six IB courses (three high level and three standard level) and a three-part core requirement. Because there is the freedom to choose which three high level and which three standard level courses, the IB program can serve a lot of areas of interest and expertise.

As students choose which courses to take at each level, they have the ability to prioritize the subjects that they are most interested in; for example, taking all language arts courses at the high level and math and science at the standard level, or vice versa. Thus, college admissions officers know that IB Diploma Programme candidates will not only be prepared to handle the requirements of university courses, they will also have the self-advocacy skills necessary to succeed independently in a student-driven setting.

Graduates of the IB Diploma Programme are viewed not only as competitive college applicants, but also as global citizens with an ability to both consider and respect multiple viewpoints and positions.


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