International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

11th-12th Grades

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (DP) is a two-year curriculum during the Grade 11 & 12 years. The course of study is composed of three core components (Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge – TOK, and Creativity, Action & Service – CAS) along with one subject from each of the six academic groups illustrated in the diagram below.


The three core components (Extended Essay, TOK, and CAS) in the center of the hexagon are compulsory for all students. However, it is Westwood’s philosophy to tailor education to the needs of the student and so students are presented with a menu of options from which to choose so that their DP course is unique to their educational aspirations while maintaining exposure to subjects in all academic areas.

The DP course runs over two years and the subject choices students make at the start of Grade 11 continue to the end of Grade 12. Students choose:

  • One subject from each of the six groups.
  • Three of their choices must be at Standard Level (SL).
  • Three of their choices must be at Higher Level (HL).

It is not necessary to have studied your language choice prior to commencing the DP as you would study that language (Spanish or Mandarin) as an Ab Initio (beginner) student.

The differences between standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) are:
The volume of work covered at HL is typically about 30% more than at SL.
The additional work at HL is to a greater depth than the SL syllabus. As a general rule-of-thumb, SL is equivalent to an Advanced Placement (AP) subject while HL is equivalent to a first year (or higher) college subject.

Because of the range and levels offered for each group subject, course descriptions can be obtained from The Westwood School upon application. To learn more, contact us at

Extended Essay
The Extended Essay is an in-depth essay focused on individual research of a topic chosen by the student in cooperation with their supervisor. It is presented as a formal piece of scholarship (thesis) of no more than 4,000 words followed by an interview (viva voce) about the subject matter. Typically students spend about 40 hours researching, writing and reviewing their paper which is externally assessed by IB examiners around the world.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
Theory of Knowledge (TOK) centers on critical thinking. Students consider how they know, rather than study a specific body of knowledge, by analyzing knowledge claims such as: “I know the sky is blue” and by exploring knowledge questions such as “how do I know the sky is blue?” Often described as a philosophy course without philosophers, TOK encourages every student to become theorists and to challenge the conventional wisdom of the day. Many students describe their TOK experience as the most valuable course they took in High School.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
In addition to their academic studies, Westwood students are expected to develop their skills in a variety of other areas, and the CAS program is designed to encourage this through approximately 150 hours of student-driven, hands-on learning experiences completed outside of the classroom during the two-year Diploma Programme. These are outlined in greater detail below.

Creativity – students are expected to create something that did not previously exist. This can be a piece of art or a magazine or a club or a charity – anything that requires innovative and creative thinking to achieve.

Action – students are expected to be involved in physical activities to maintain a healthy body and hence a healthy mind. Typically students are involved in a school-sponsored sport but they are not limited to this and can undertake any form of physical activity (rock climbing, scuba diving, paragliding, etc).The crucial factor is that students are physically active.

Service – any unpaid activity that is of benefit to an individual or organization is regarded as service. Often students are involved in a wide variety of charitable undertakings (blood drive, clothes for Goodwill, Toys for Tots, voluntary work in a hospital, helping young students learn to read, etc.) but service can also be childcare during a school function, helping a neighbor, or serving on a missionary trip abroad. The important thing is that Westwood students learn to be givers as well as receivers in our society.

DP Subjects Offered
The Diploma Programme spans 11th and 12th Grade as a two-year curriculum. Below are the subjects offered by The Westwood School. Because of the range and levels offered for each group subject, course descriptions can be obtained from The Westwood School upon application. To learn more contact us at

“If you are looking for a school where your child is known by his first name, by staff and teachers at multiple levels, a school where people firmly believe in independent thinking, self respect, community spirit, multicultural tolerance and understanding, and above all, academic excellence, The Westwood School is your arrival destination! I have been a Montessori parent, and a Westwood parent for many years now, and I have grown a lot, and learned a lot about our changing world, together with my children. This school is set apart from the rest in so many ways…Here children are familiar personalities to their teachers and staff, not just another face in a crowd. The teachers are kind and focused on each individual, finding the best way of maximizing each potential for success. It all begins early, around the toddler age, and it beautifully grows into a place where teenagers feel proud and connected with whom they want to become.This school truly focusses on the child’s world, and the understanding of his needs and potential.”
— S. Patel