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The IB Diploma

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a broad, balanced and academically challenging programme of education, which prepares students for success at university and in life beyond. Taught over two years in Years 12 and 13, the IB Diploma has gained a reputation for its rigorous external assessment and is recognised and respected by universities worldwide. The Diploma Programme emphasises critical thinking as well as inter-cultural understanding and respect for others in the global community.

Kristin was the first school in New Zealand to introduce the IB Diploma programme in 1989.

The IB Diploma consists of six subject areas including native and acquired languages, social sciences, experimental sciences and mathematics and the arts, and is designed to be academically challenging and holistically balanced. In addition to their six chosen courses, students are challenged to broaden their educational experience through community service, self-directed research (in the form of a 4000-word extended essay) and critical examination in the Theory of Knowledge. Currently there are close to 1 million IB students at 3,440 schools in 141 countries across the world.

At Kristin, all Senior School students undertake Level 1 NCEA in Year 11 before being offered the choice to either continue with Levels 2 and 3, or to begin the two-year International Baccalaureate Diploma programme in Year 12.

Subject requirements

IB subjects are categorised into six groups covering the major fields of knowledge:

  • Studies in Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • The Arts

In addition to their chosen subjects, IB students complete three core requirements that are integral to the programme's philosophy and develop important study and personal skills. These are:

  • The Theory of Knowledge, a course designed to encourage students to reflect on the nature of knowledge by examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical).
  • The Extended Essay, a 4000-word research project on a topic of the student's choosing, produced under the guidance of a supervisor.
  • CAS. Through involvement in creativity, action and service, students actively learn from participation in artistic activities, sports, expeditions and service projects outside of the formal curriculum. CAS is expected to occupy in the vicinity of 150 hours over the two years of the programme. A wide range of activities offered within the school community and beyond contributes to CAS hours.


The academic subjects are principally assessed by external examinations, which are sat in November of Year 13. All subjects also include a component of internally assessed coursework, typically comprising 20-30% of the overall grade. Samples of internally assessed work are subject to external moderation and marks may be adjusted as a result. In each subject a candidate is graded from 1 (very poor) to 7 (excellent). In addition to this, up to three points are awarded for performance in the Extended Essay and in the Theory of Knowledge. In order to qualify for the Diploma, a candidate must complete all core requirements and have an aggregate of at least 24 points out of the possible 45.

IB Mission

The International Baccalaureate® 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 organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The IB Learner Profile

The IB mission provides a long-term holistic vision of student-centred education that underpins all three IB programmes. It aims to develop learners who strive to be: Inquirers, thinkers, communicators and risk-takers who are balanced, caring, reflective, knowledgeable, principled and open-minded.

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