What is the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP)?
The IB Career-related Programme (IBCP) is an International Baccalaureate programme for 16-19-year-olds designed to increase “access to an IB education and to provide a flexible learning framework that can be tailored by the school to meet the needs of students.”
IB Students who did not want to take all 6 subjects previously had the option of taking ‘Certificates’; whereby students could select 3 or 4 subjects that matched their academic strengths. However, when these students wished to apply for university, this posed a serious problem. University offers are typically made based on a student’s overall diploma score, so taking fewer subjects left students unable to access university places. The IBCP solves this problem by including career-related development alongside academic learning, in the form of an IBCP core and career-related study. Universities have also understood the value of the IBCP, now offering different entry requirements to accommodate it.
How is the IBCP structured?
The IBCP has 3 parts:
- Students take at least two Diploma Programme courses as part of the IBCP. These are chosen from the range offered at schools and can often be taken at Standard or Higher Level. The syllabus and assessment are the same as a normal IB Diploma module.
- Students also undertake an IBCP core that includes approaches to learning, community and service, language development and a reflective project. We break down what each of these means below.
- Finally, students also complete an approved career-related study – normally an A-level applied A-level or BTEC qualification – which is often accompanied by work experience in relevant sectors.
The IBCP is known for its flexibility, and so is easier for schools to offer, and gives students the chance to follow a more personalised pathway, continuing into further study or employment depending on their desires. The IBO states that each school creates its own distinct version of the CP to meet the needs, backgrounds and contexts of its students, and we believe this applies equally to its students.
As an example of how the course can be broken down, the Western International School of Shanghai breaks down their Sports pathway.
What does each of the components offer?
1. Diploma courses
The Diploma courses offer the theoretical underpinning of the IBCP as they do with the IBDP. They give students a rigorous academic foundation that will support moving into further study. This will also give students the knowledge they then apply in their career-related study and CP core components.
2. CP core
The CP core is broken down into 4 components:
- Personal and professional skills – Students develop skills relevant for the workplace and personal growth
- Service-learning – students identify and meet a need in the community through undertaking projects that are linked to their academic disciplines
- Reflective project – Students identify, analyse, critically discuss and evaluate an ethical issue. They develop research, writing and communication skills, so this is good preparation for university research
- Language development – Students develop proficiency in another language apart from their own
The CP core components have an emphasis on experiential learning, whereby students learn through experiencing their subject matter in skills workshops, work experiences, language practice and volunteering in the local community. This means students develop a combination of academic and practical skills suitable for further study and the workplace.
3. Career-related study
Students study practical, real-world approaches to learning, through studying a career-oriented curriculum. The IB partners with a range of providers of career-related qualifications, including Pearson, the Council for Awards in Care, Health & Education (CACHE), and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) to offer these courses. Career-related qualifications are often BTEC or equivalent qualifications, such as the BTEC Level 3 National Award that is offered at ACS International School in Egham. The Halley Academy’s website also offers a good insight into their programme, so please see this for more information on career-related study.
Alternatively, as a useful summary of all 3 components, Dallam School suggests that students study 10 lessons per week of career-related study, 3 lessons per week of each standard level subject and 4 lessons per week of IBCP core; whilst also including blocks of work experience in their school calendar. At the Anglo European School in Essex, this translates into 2 Standard Level subjects, two A-levels and the CP core.
How is the IBCP assessed?
The IBCP components are assessed internally by your school or externally by the IB:
- Diploma courses are assessed externally by the IBO (except for coursework components), like IB Diploma Programme exams. For more information on Diploma assessments, please see the IBO’s assessments page
- Career-related study is marked externally by the relevant exam board
- CP core is marked internally by a student’s school (indeed, the language development module is non-examined at The Halley Academy and at Patrick Henry High School, rather, students develop a language portfolio, following the ab initio course syllabus)
Similarly, The Halley Academy offer various options for the reflective project assessment. Students can choose to complete a written essay (3,000 words) and reflection (1,000 words), or they can complete a written essay (1,500 – 2,000 words), an additional format (film, oral presentation, interview, play or display) and reflection (1,000 words). It is this freedom that gives the IBCP an edge over traditional qualifications such as A-levels.
If you would like support in your Diploma course revision, why not look at one of our courses? We host courses in 8 different locations worldwide, including London, Geneva, Berlin and Singapore, offering rigorous support from IB graduates, teachers and examiners. Alternatively, for a more bespoke experience, why not look at face-to-face or online tuition? Our tutor’s average score in the IB is 43 points, and we have a variety of IB examiners and teachers also offering to tutor. Please do get in touch!