Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    Chief Sealth International Baccalaureate Program
    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does it mean to “do Full IB”?
    Students who enroll in IB classes in each of six categories, or groups, for the duration of their junior and senior years, may consider pursuing a diploma from IB. They register for exams as an “anticipated” candidate in November of their senior year, and commit to complete three other elements which are detailed below.

    What is Full Diploma coursework?
    Students must take six IB classes, one from each of the five “groups” or core areas. Students must also take a sixth course in the sixth core area or group from Visual Arts, Academy of Finance/Economics, or an approved elective (see Course Progression chart). Many IB classes are considered two-year courses and span junior andsenior year.

    Are all the course exams the same?

    Many course exams are offered at different levels. Exams are either standard level (SL) or higher level (HL). For a diploma, three courses must be taken at the HL. No more than four HL exams are recommended. In foreign language there is a third level, ab inito, for students just beginning to study a world language in their junior year.

    What’s the difference between exams and assessments?
    Exams are a form of assessment, but all courses have assessed work that varies in its format and scoring (experiment, paper, and demonstration of skills), and who assesses it. Internally assessed (IA) work is scored by the teacher of the course with scores sent directly to the IB Organization. In some cases, only a sample of the scores will be requested by IBO for external evaluators to review. When this happens, the external evaluators may recalibrate or readjust the scores given by the teacher to better match the IB expectations.

    Some work is submitted directly to the IBO and is assessed in another country, or externally assessed (EA). In some cases, the teacher or advisor is required to submit a predicted grade (PG) that is used to help the external assessor in determining a score.

    When do the exams take place?
    The exams take place world-wide in May. The exams are either in the morning or afternoon and students are expected to attend their classes during the non-testing period. The exact start times, locations, and directions will be available prior to testing. Diploma candidates must sit for exams in three HL courses with the rest being standard level (SL). It is not recommended to take more than four HL exams. Two SL exams may be taken in the junior year. In this way students can put together varying combinations to achieve a full diploma. Most candidates do not take exams in the junior year. Most who do take Biology SL because they plan to take Chemistry in their senior year rather than continue with Biology.

    What are those three other requirements for an IB Diploma candidate?

    These three elements are intended to broaden the student’s viewpoint on academic, social and aesthetic issues in an engaging way that invites practical application of learning.

    • CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) – This requirement corresponds to the graduation requirement for service hours, but there are some differences. The chief difference is the requirement to fulfill the approximately 150 CAS hours working on a sustained project that grows the student’s skills as a person and a global citizen. The district graduation requirement is 60 hours. The CAS project(s) must be a “stretch” for the student and constitute a new learning experience. A final portfolio demonstrates the completion of all required components. It will be due in the second semester of their senior year prior to testing. Exact dates will be posted on the web and via PTSA Google Groups.
    • TOK (Theory of Knowledge) – This requirement is a two-semester class. The first semester is taught during Study Hall on block days (usually Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:15 – 11:00 a.m.) and Mondays 3:15-5:15pm after school, beginning second semester. Part two is taught at the same times during the first semester of the senior year. The teacher, Mr. Zeichner, leads students in an examination of how different domains of study establish what is accepted as knowledge. For example, how does knowledge in mathematics differ from knowledge in history or in the sciences? The class does not culminate in an IB exam, but rather requires an internally assessed presentation and an externally assessed essay. The bulk of the work on the essay and presentation takes place in the fall and spring of the senior year.
    • EE (Extended Essay) – For diploma candidates, this requirement takes the place of Sealth’s required Senior Project course and work. This independently completed 4,000 word research paper is done in consultation with a staff member who agrees in advance to supervise the student’s choice of topic and research question, as well as their search for sources. The research and writing must be completed by June of the junior year. Being a self starter and advocate are essential to completion of this requirement.

    The IB Hexagon
    ib hexagon