Orwall Baccalaureate bill is signed by governor
Thanks to a bill signed recently by Gov. Christine Gregoire, Washington students enrolled in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programmes (IB) will be able to graduate by earning the IB Diploma and two other high school state graduation requirements.
"Getting an IB Diploma is not easy, these programs are very rigorous and the students really have to work hard," said state Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), the bill's prime sponsor. "By streamlining their transition into higher education without requiring them to take redundant classes, this bill lifts a significant burden from the student's workload to makes sure they focus on the demands of their IB courses."
In order to graduate, under Orwall's measure, IB program students must:
- Successfully complete all their coursework to earn an IB Diploma
- Pass the state assessments
- Study the United States and Washington Constitutions
- But they do not need to comply with other graduation requirements such as:
- Occupational Education
- Culminating project
- High school and beyond plan
"Recognition of the IB Diploma Programme will reduce economic barriers for low income families and lessen the psychological burden on students who would otherwise have to take extra classes," said Chris Wilder, Mount Rainier High School IB coordinator. "And it puts Washington near the forefront of other states that are setting policies promoting rigorous and widely recognized educational standards."
IB is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepare students for success at university and life beyond. The programme is taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.
Students must complete courses in six subjects: primary language, secondary language, individuals and societies, science, mathematics, and either the arts or a second course in one of the other subjects. They must also complete a Theory of Knowledge course, produce an extended essay, design a program of activities in Creativity, Action and Service that continues over their two years in the program, and complete internally and externally-scored assessment tasks.
"As advances in technology continue making the world smaller and more interconnected, our kids face bigger challenges that require sophisticated critical-thinking skills; the IB Diploma Programme is an excellent avenue to prepare them for this rapidly changing world," Orwall added.
There are 16 Washington high schools, including Mt. Rainier in Des Moines, approved to offer the IB. According to the IB Organization, 339 Washington students earned the IB Diploma in 2008.