General International Baccalaureate Information

These are links to the International Baccalaureate Organization website that we believe are core to QSI International School of Chengdu parents and students to review and understand

Important Links and Information:

What is an IB Education?

IB Diploma Program Curriculum

Academic Honesty in the IB: Educational Context

IB Learner Profile

International Baccalaureate (IB) Mission Statement: 
The International Baccalaureate Organization 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 IBO works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. 

Program Overview:

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Program (DP) is designed for highly motivated students interested in earning the IB Diploma, or individual IB Courses, in addition to their high school diploma. Students enter the two-year Diploma Program as a high school junior.

IB offers high quality programs of international education to a worldwide community of schools. The Program began in 1968 as a non-profit education foundation. It was designed to provide a consistent education for internationally minded students preparing for college, by providing a common curriculum and common assessments.

IB Programs promote the education of the whole person, emphasizing intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth through all domains of knowledge. The IB approach is interdisciplinary and requires students to apply learning in one course to learning in another. Students learn to transfer critical and conceptual thinking from one situation to the next. Additionally, the curriculum encourages the study of international perspectives so students are prepared to navigate the increasingly global marketplace. Today, there are more than 1,101,000 IB students in 3,584 schools in 145 countries.

QSI International School of Chengdu was granted authorization to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) in May 2015. QSI Chengdu offers a varied range of IBDP subjects from which students can tailor study programs that best suit their immediate needs, personal interests and future goals. The current IB course offerings for students at QSI Chengdu are listed below.
To be awarded the IB diploma, students must satisfy the course requirements in one course from each of the six groups listed. In general, IB courses are completed over two years, with the exception of some one-year ‘anticipated’ courses. At least three and not more than four courses are taken at higher level (HL—240 hours over two years), the others at standard level (SL—150 hours over two years). 

Additionally, students must complete a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) component which is designed to foster critical reflection on students’ own knowledge and experience; a program of Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS); and an extended essay of 4,000 words on a topic of personal interest.

IB Diploma Program Course Descriptors


IB English A: Language and Literature (HL and SL)
The goal of the course is to foster an understanding of how language, culture, and context determine the ways in which meaning is constructed in texts, including literary texts. Students will read independently, carry out interpretation and analysis of an author’s style as well as cultural and social influences, and express a thoughtful, personal response. Students will learn to write and speak in a well-organized and convincing way, showing an appreciation of each author’s choices and the possible influences on, and effect of, these choices. They will use formal language. Assessment tasks include both oral and written assignments which are submitted over the two-year duration of the course as well as final exams. All graded work will be assessed against task-specific criteria: e.g., knowledge and understanding, response to the question, organization and presentation, understanding of the use of stylistic features, interpretation of the text, organization and development, formal use of language, and more.

IB Chinese A: Literature (HL and SL)
Through the study of a wide range of literature, the language A: literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the language A: literature course does not limit the study of works to the products of one culture or the cultures covered by any one language. The study of works in translation is especially important in introducing students, through literature, to other cultural perspectives. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of language. Language A: literature is a flexible course that allows teachers to choose works from prescribed lists of authors and to construct a course that suits the particular needs and interests of their students. It is divided into four parts, each with a particular focus.
• Part 1: Works in translation
• Part 2: Detailed study
• Part 3: Literary genres
​• Part 4: Options (in which works are freely chosen)

Language B: Mandarin (HL and SL)
The Language B courses occupy the middle ground of the group 2 modern languages spectrum and are language-learning courses for students with some previous experience learning the target language. The main focus of these courses is on language acquisition and the development of skills considerably beyond those expected of an ab initio candidate, up to a fairly sophisticated degree at a higher level. Language B course give students the opportunity to reach a high degree of competence in a language and explore the culture(s) using the language. The courses provide an integrated study of grammar, literature and cultural aspects. At the end of these courses students will have developed an ability to communicate clearly and effectively in a range of situations. Students in the higher level courses will demonstrate the ability to communicate more complex ideas and the ability to analyze longer and more difficult texts. They will also engage in an in-depth study of literary texts.

Language Ab Initio: Mandarin


IB History (HL and SL)
This Modern World History course examines interwar international relations, WWI, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, WWII, Cold War, Mao, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, China and Japan, and communism in crisis. Higher order thinking skills are developed through engaging classroom activities. The course aims to promote an understanding of history through an understanding of the impact of historical developments at national, regional, and international levels, and to develop an awareness of one’s own historical identity through the study of the historical experiences of different cultures. IBDP assessment is made up of two exam papers for standard level students and three exam papers for higher level students, as well as an internal assessment. Externally set and marked exams require students to undertake source analysis as well as compose structured and extended responses based on various topics studied over the two-year course. The internal assessment takes the form of an historical investigation.

IB Psychology (HL and SL)
The IB Diploma Programme psychology course aims to develop an awareness of how research findings can be applied to better understand human behavior and how ethical practices are upheld in psychological inquiry. Students learn to understand the biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behavior and explore alternative explanations of behavior. They also understand and use diverse methods of psychological inquiry along with the systematic and critical study of human experience and behavior and environments. Students’ success in the psychology standard level course is measured by combining their grades on an external and internal assessment. On external assessments, students must be able to demonstrate an understanding of both basic facts and complex concepts related to the biological, cognitive and sociocultural levels of analysis. For their internal assessment, standard level psychology students plan, undertake and report on a replication of an experimental study.

IB Economics (HL and SL)
Economics is a dynamic social science, forming part of group 3—individuals and societies. The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.
The IB Diploma Programme economics course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.
The ethical dimensions involved in the application of economic theories and policies permeate throughout the economics course as students are required to consider and reflect on human end-goals and values.
The economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.
SL and HL students of economics are presented with a common syllabus, with an HL extension in some topics. The syllabus for both SL and HL students requires the development of certain skills and techniques, attributes and knowledge—as described in the assessment objectives of the program.
While the skills and activity of studying economics are common to both SL and HL students, the HL student is required to acquire a further body of knowledge—including the ability to analyse, synthesize and evaluate that knowledge—and to develop quantitative skills in order to explain and analyse economic relationships. These quantitative skills are specifically assessed at HL in paper 3.


IB Biology (HL and SL)
IB Biology will allow students to develop a natural curiosity of the interactions of organisms, build modes of communication within the scientific community, enhance critical thinking skills, and explore globally significant concepts impacting life on Earth. Students will develop an intrinsic motivation for studying living organisms ranging from the smallest known substance in Biochemistry to the broadest spectrum of the biosphere. Topics listed within the hierarchy of biology include organisms functioning at the cellular level, cellular distribution through genetics, and interactions of organisms throughout the biomes. Students will also research topics in human physiology, neurobiology, and behavior. In this course students will be expected to design and implement a range of experiments, complete data analysis, and record scientific evaluations in the lab that incorporate topics in microbiology, botany, and anatomy.  Emphasis will be placed on critical thinking and the understanding of scientific theories in preparation for internal assessments. Students successfully completing the course will qualify to take the IB Biology examination during the second year of study. Students seeking future medical careers or degrees within the realm of science are encouraged to partake in the IB Biology course.  

IB Physics (HL and SL)
Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of physics, observations remain essential to the very core of the subject. Models are developed to try to understand observations, and these themselves can become theories that attempt to explain the observations. Besides helping us better understand the natural world, physics gives us the ability to alter our environments. This raises the issue of the impact of physics on society, the moral and ethical dilemmas, and the social, economic and environmental implications of the work of physicists. By studying physics students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the subject. Students are provided with opportunities to develop manipulative skills, design investigations, collect data, analyze results and evaluate and communicate their findings.

IB Environmental Systems and Societies (HL and SL) 
The systems approach provides the core methodology of the ESS course. It is complemented by other influences, such as economic, historical, cultural, sociopolitical and scientific factors, to provide a holistic perspective on environmental issues. During the course, students will look at examples on a variety of scales, from local to global, and in an international context.
The aims of the ESS course are to enable students to:
  1. acquire the knowledge and understandings of environmental systems at a variety of scales
  2. apply the knowledge, methodologies and skills to analyse environmental systems and issues at a variety of scales
  3. appreciate the dynamic interconnectedness between environmental systems and societies
  4. value the combination of personal, local and global perspectives in making informed decisions and taking responsible actions on environmental issues
  5. be critically aware that resources are finite, and that these could be inequitably distributed and exploited, and that management of these inequities is the key to sustainability
  6. develop awareness of the diversity of environmental value systems
  7. develop critical awareness that environmental problems are caused and solved by decisions made by individuals and societies that are based on different areas of knowledge
  8. engage with the controversies that surround a variety of environmental issues
  9. create innovative solutions to environmental issues by engaging actively in local and global context

IB Chemistry (HL and SL)
The major topics covered in the Chemistry course include thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and organic chemistry, with option topics of food chemistry, medicines and drugs, and human biochemistry. Students will be encouraged to develop their knowledge of the concepts and the skills required for experimental work in the subject. Students are expected to design and carry out a wide range of experiments, data analysis exercises, and extended writing tasks. The internal assessment component consists of experimental work completed during the course. Formative and summative tasks will involve the design, analysis, and evaluation of experimental work. Students are also assessed using a range of subject related tasks and IBDP examination material throughout the course.


IB Mathematics (HL and SL)
IB Mathematics Lower Level is a two-year course that will prepare students for university level courses that may involve some mathematics (for example, social sciences). Students entering this course should have some well-developed skills in mathematics. The course covers a subset of the higher level content and includes algebra, trigonometry, functions, calculus, statistics and probability, and vectors. In addition, a written piece of work, known as an exploration, needs to be completed during the course, as this counts for 20 percent of the final IBDP grade. A graphic display calculator is a requirement in this course.
IB Mathematics Higher Level is a two-year course that will prepare students for courses at the university level that will have a high mathematical content (for example, engineering). Students who enroll in this course must have a high level of mathematical competency. The course includes algebra, trigonometry, functions, calculus, statistics and probability, vectors, and matrices. An optional topic must also be taken in grade 12, and this allows the students the opportunity to delve more deeply into the chosen area. In addition, a written piece of work, known as an exploration, must be completed during the course, as this counts for 20 percent of the final IBDP grade. A graphic display calculator is a requirement in this course.

IB Visual Arts (HL and SL)
This course aims to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of art from local and other cultural sources. Critical thinking skills are developed to an advanced level, suitable for college. This is achieved by equipping students to take responsibility for and play a proactive role in their own learning. Students research various artists and cultures in reference to their own ideas and explore how to synthesize these influences with their own ideas. They develop their own work with personal relevance in the investigation workbook. This course is student led, as students choose their own topics, research, and media, and engage in regular critical discourse. Students experiment and produce a variety of work in different media, continually attempting to improve and vary their approach and their technical level in media through experimentation and practice. All work is recorded in their own personal digital portfolio. The final examination is presented as an exhibition in an art gallery. Overall assessment is based on both written and studio work.

IB Film (HL and SL)Film is a powerful and stimulating art form and practice.
The DP film course aims to develop students as proficient interpreters and makers of film texts. Through the study and analysis of film texts, and through practical exercises in film production, the film course develops students’ critical abilities and their appreciation of artistic, cultural, historical and global perspectives in film. Students examine film concepts, theories, practices and ideas from multiple perspectives, challenging their own viewpoints and biases in order to understand and value those of others.
DP film students experiment with film and multimedia technology, acquiring the skills and creative competencies required to successfully communicate through the language of the medium. They develop an artistic voice and learn how to express personal perspectives through film.
The film course emphasizes the importance of working collaboratively. It focuses on the international and intercultural dynamic that triggers and sustains contemporary film, while fostering in students an appreciation of the development of film across time, space and culture. DP film students are challenged to understand alternative views, to respect and appreciate the diverse cultures that exist within film, and to have open and critical minds.
DP film students require courage, passion and curiosity.
  • Courage—to experiment and create, to explore ideas through action and to harness imagination.
  • Passion—to communicate and to act communally, and to research and formulate ideas, communicating discoveries in a variety of forms.
  • Curiosity—about themselves and others and the world around them, and about the limitless possibilities of human expression through film.
At the core of the DP film course lies the need for creative exploration and innovation. Students are challenged to acquire and develop critical thinking, reflective analysis and the imaginative synthesis that is achieved through practical engagement in the art, craft and study of film.

IB Music (HL and SL)
Music functions as a means of personal and communal identity and expression, and embodies the social and cultural values of individuals and communities. This scenario invites exciting exploration and sensitive study.
Music, and all of its associations, may vary considerably from one musical culture to another: yet music may share similarities. Such richness offers a variety of ways to encounter and engage with a constantly changing world. 
A vibrant musical education fosters curiosity and openness to both familiar and unfamiliar musical worlds. Through such a study of music we learn to hear relationships of pitch in sound, pattern in rhythm and unfolding sonic structures. Through participating in the study of music we are able to explore the similarities, differences and links in music from within our own culture and that of others across time. Informed and active musical engagement allows us to explore and discover relationships between lived human experience and specific sound combinations and technologies, thus informing us more fully of the world around us, and the nature of humanity.
The Diploma Programme music course provides an appropriate foundation for further study in music at university level or in music career pathways. It also provides an enriching and valuable course of study for students who may pursue other careers. This course also provides all students with the opportunity to engage in the world of music as lifelong participants.


Theory of Knowledge  (TOK)
TOK is a course comprised of 100 hours over three semesters. The course aims to examine critically the types, nature, and limitations of different ways of knowing and different areas of knowledge. In the process, students consider the role of language, reason, emotion, and perception in the pursuit of certainty and truth. In addition, students compare systems of knowledge and explore the assumptions and value judgments inherent within them.
Students are encouraged to explore TOK within the context of their own learning and lives and to consider the impact of cultural differences on knowledge issues. Texts and examples come from a wide range of cultural perspectives and knowledge areas, including the physical and social sciences, mathematics, the arts, politics, religion, and ethics.
Students are assessed by means of a written assignment and an oral presentation. Up to three bonus points can be awarded on the basis of this written work in combination with the extended essay.
Creativity, Action, Service  (CAS)
CAS is a framework for experiential learning, designed to involve students in new roles. The emphasis is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time. This process of doing and reflecting on the doing provides an excellent opportunity to extend what is learned in the classroom.
The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop the self-worth of both server and served. The CAS experience should reward and enrich all involved. When well carried out, CAS should build self-esteem, self-confidence, autonomy, and self-reliance.
Extended Essay
Instructor:  Individually selected teacher coordinators
The 4,000-word extended essay is an in-depth study of a topic chosen from one of the subjects offered in the IBDP program at QSI. Its purpose is to acquaint each student with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities. Emphasis is placed on the process of engaging in personal research, on the communication of ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner, and on the overall presentation of the extended essay in compliance with the guidelines.