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DP | Diploma Programme

Grades 11 and 12

DP Coordinator:  Nancy Hsu

Diploma Programme

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, one of the world's most respected pre-university courses of study, is offered to CDS upper school students in their junior and senior years. Successful completion of year 5 of the CDS  Middle Years Programme gains the student admission into the Diploma Programme. (Download the CDS IB DP Admission Policy.) The Diploma Programme is the capstone of Carrollwood Day School's comprehensive preschool - grade 12 IB curriculum design.  As with the Primary Years Progamme and Middle Years Programme, the IB Learner profile defines the type of lifelong learner the DP strives to develop.

Designed for highly motivated students, the IB Diploma Programme is a rigorous two-year course of study leading to externally assessed examinations.  The DP offers both breadth, in terms of the range of courses offered, and depth, in that students must take each course for two years. It is a deliberate compromise between the specialization required by some colleges and universities and the breadth preferred by others. Students who do not wish to become full IB Diploma candidates may elect to take IB courses in their areas of academic strength. These students will receive an IB certificate for each course successfully completed.

Patriot Buddies 2019
Diploma Programme Chemistry Lab
Community Food Pantry

DP Progamme Model and Policies

DP Programme Model

DP Courses at CDS

DP Courses offered at CDS

Students take six subjects for the IB Diploma Programme; three at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL).  Generally, subjects studied at Higher Level will reflect the student’s area of interest and specialization and will be covered in greater depth and breadth than subjects studied at Standard Level. Each student must take one course from Groups 1 - 5 and may choose an elective from Group 6.  By arranging work in this fashion, students are able to achieve depth of study in the context of a broad and coherent curriculum over the two-year period. Instead of a course in The Arts, a candidate has the option to select an additional course in one of the other five subjects. 

At CDS, the following choices are available: 

Subject Area
Studies in Language and Literature
English Literature SL | English Literature HL
English Language & Literature SL |
English Language & Literature HL
Language Acquisition
French ab initio SL | French SL | French HL
Spanish ab initio SL | Spanish SL | Spanish HL
Global Politics SL | Global Politics HL
History SL | 
History HL
Psychology SL | Psychology HL
Business Management SL | Business Management HL
Physics SL | Physics HL
Biology SL | Biology HL
Chemistry SL | Chemistry HL
Environment Systems & Societies SL
Sports, Exercise & Health Science SL |
Sports, Exercise & Health Science HL
Math Studies SL
Mathematics SL | Mathematics HL
The Arts
Visual Arts SL | Visual Arts HL
Theater Arts SL | Theater Arts HL
Music SL | Music HL

DP Core Requirements

DP Core Requirements

In addition to the six subject areas, the Programme has three core requirements that are central to the philosophy of the Diploma Programme and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding.  All full Diploma Programme candidates must engage in these three activities:

  • extended essay
  • theory of knowledge
  • creativity, activity, service.

Extended Essay

Extended Essay

All candidates in the IB Diploma Programme are required to submit an extended essay. The extended essay is an individual research project of about 4,000 words which allows students to investigate in detail a topic of special interest to them. This project acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills that are necessary and expected at the university level.

Every student engaged in writing the extended essay is supervised by a faculty member. The supervisor’s role is to encourage, support, advise and guide the student as he/she goes through the writing process.

More Information

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge is the signature IB course that all Diploma Programme students take worldwide. This course challenges students to become critical, reflective, and independent thinkers. A thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions. The most central of these questions is “How do we know?” Exploration of the nature of knowledge in TOK transcends and links academic subject areas, demonstrating for students the ways in which they can apply their own knowledge with greater awareness and credibility. In coming to understand the strengths and limitations of their own and others’ cultural perspectives, students are better able to evaluate their own views and their own level of intercultural understanding.

As part of their final assessment, students give an internally assessed oral presentation of about 10 minutes and write an essay of 1,200 to 1,600 words that is assessed externally by the IBO. 

CAS | Creativity, Activity, Service

CAS | Creativity, Activity, Service

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena. CAS recognizes the fact that important educational experiences take place outside the classroom and offers a perfect complement to the demands of the academic programme.  Participation in CAS activities helps students to develop a greater level of self awareness, increase their understanding of the needs of others, improve their skills in communication, develop their own individual talents, and learn how to work cooperatively with others.

Students are expected to be involved in CAS activities each week during the two years of the Diploma Programme and are encouraged to reflect on their CAS activities on a regular basis. 

DP Policies

DP Assessment Policy

DP Assessment Policy

Purpose for assessment:

  • Assessment supports and encourages effective teaching and learning.
  • Assessment reflects intercultural dimensions of the programmes.
  • Assessment determines the learners’ levels of understanding, using both formative and summative assessment.
  • Assessment must meet the needs  of students at particular ages and stages of development.

Principles of assessment:

  • Assessment is key to planning, teaching, and learning.
  • Assessment practices are clear to all members of the community [teachers, parents, and students].
  • There is a balance between formative and summative assessment.
  • There are opportunities for both peer and self-assessment.
  • There are opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning.
  • Before starting new learning, teachers assess students’ current knowledge and experience.
  • Teachers provide students with feedback for future learning. 
  • Reporting to parents is meaningful.

Assessment practices:

  • Teachers will use a variety of assessment strategies and tools to provide feedback on the learning process.
  • Teachers will report assessment with report cards, parent-teacher conferences, student–led conferences, and anecdotal records.

In the DP:

  • Formal assessment is summative assessment, designed to record student achievement at the end of the course of study.
  • Final assessment is criterion-related performance assessment.
  • Prior to the final assessment, teachers must engage in assessment for learning, using a wide range of assessment strategies and reporting tools.
  • Students produce work for internal assessment, which is first marked according to subject specific criteria, and then moderated by external examiners.

CDS Language Policy Continuum

CDS Language Policy Continuum

As language is the key to all learning, all teachers at CDS are language teachers.

Language learning at CDS refers not only to the learning of a specific language, but it includes any and all activities which bring about learning. Through language, our students acquire the ability to think and to learn, to develop social skills and values, and to acquire knowledge.

  • Language skills are the key to inquiry.
  • Developing language means using a variety of sources, comprehending the material read, and making conclusions based on discoveries.  
  • Students must develop strong written and oral communication skills. 
  • Our primary language of instruction is English.

Click here to download the CDS Language Policy Continuum.

University and College Recognition

University and College Recognition

A survey by IB North America, the non-profit organization that runs the IB programmes in this country, found the acceptance rate of IB diploma candidates at 20 selective colleges much higher than the acceptance rate for all applicants. More and more universities are recognizing the value of an IB Diploma. They find IB Diploma Programme students to have the qualities they look for in prospective students – they're inquisitive, energetic, committed, hard working, internationally minded. There is also a growing body of research that shows students who take IB coursework are better prepared to succeed in college than if they did not participate in this rigorous academic program.  Learn more...

The Value of an IB Education

Hear from university admissions officers from institutions accepting IB students from around the world. They discuss their perspective of the IB and how prepares students for university success.  View videos...

What Colleges Say About IBO

"Send us prepared students á la IB…It is the 'best' high school prep curriculum an American school can offer." 

Marilee Jones
Director of Undergraduate Admission, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"IB is well known to us for excellent preparations. Success in an IB programme correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Programme on the transcript."

Marilyn McGrath Lewis
Director of Undergraduate Admission, Harvard University

"One of the advantages of an IB curriculum is its structure and quality. It is a coordinated programme, well established, well known and well respected. We know the quality of IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific."

Christoph Guttentag
Director of Undergraduate Admission, Duke University

"I have always been a supporter of the International Baccalaureate. It is a thoughtful and genuinely intellectual curriculum with an unusually high degree of integrity and connectedness. There is no other curriculum anywhere that does a superior job of both educating students and inspiring a true and broadbased love of learning."

William Shain
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University