Belief in Education
The guiding force at Leysin American School is to encourage all students to reach their full potential in every area, developing new skills and strengths in the process.
We are committed to the philosophies and principles behind the International Baccalaureate Organization because we believe that quality work and high standards are attainable by all young people, whether or not they choose to pursue the full International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
Advantage of the IB
The International Baccalaureate Organization, founded in Geneva, Switzerland, oversees this rigorous academic and prestigious academic programme, which is internationally recognized as one of the best university preparations available. The two-year programme usually begins in the eleventh grade and continues through the twelfth grade.
At Leysin American School, we offer a range of subjects for the IB in a supportive high school setting. This has resulted in strong university placements and offers for our students, including college credit in selected IB subjects based on each university’s policies.
Students at LAS want to do IB studies for two reasons:
- Because IB studies are the highest academic level available in the school (and arguably in the world), students wish to challenge themselves in preparation for university.
- Because the IB Diploma is recognized by universities around the world, students wish to use this credential to gain entry to university.
IB Learner Profile
The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.
IB Campus and Teaching at LAS
Our LAS Belle Époque Campus, the academic home for both the juniors and seniors, houses the IB Programme, with dedicated teachers who specialize in developing each student’s potential. Whether they are full IB Diploma Programme students, are working towards the US High School Diploma enhanced with IB certificates in selected course or are students in our ESL program working towards English language acquisition: all of our students are able to craft a personalized program that will maximize their success in their future educational careers. Combined with university preparation, on-site counseling and visits from university representatives, IB and U.S. Diploma students optimize their opportunities to enter their chosen universities.
Diploma Subjects and Content
Over the course of the two-year programme, students will study:
Six subjects chosen from the six subject groups
Five core subject areas—
- Second language
- Social studies
- Any core subject area or arts
- Complete an extended essay
- Follow a theory of knowledge course (TOK)
- Participate in creativity, action, service (CAS)
Three of the six subjects are studied at Higher Level (courses representing 240 teaching hours); the remaining three subjects are studied at Standard Level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).
Students whose native language is not English, and who are unable to study literature in English at the A1 level, have the option to pursue Language A1 Self-Taught. IB Diploma candidates must take at least three Higher Level courses and no more than three Standard Level courses.
How does the IB work at LAS?
LAS fundamentally supports the mission of the IB, and encourages every student to engage with IB studies in the most advisable form for him or her.
All LAS 11th and 12th grade students at LAS engage with IB studies in one of three ways:
- The full IB Diploma Programme, in which all of the student’s courses over two years are IB-based, and which culminate with major exams in May of the second year of the program.
- IB Certificates, in which a student may take any IB course(s) over two years for IB credit, earned through performance on major exams in May of the second year of the program.
- IB Courses, in which a student may take any IB course(s), but not attempting to earn credit from IB.
LAS students have many opportunities to take IB courses, even if they do not wish to pursue the full IB Diploma. Students who take IB-level classes will be expected to complete all IBO assessments relevant to each course.
Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
To graduate with the IB Diploma, students must complete the Theory of Knowledge course and an Extended Essay and also document the required number of CAS hours (150 hours). Successful candidates may earn the IB Diploma in addition to the LAS high school diploma. Students who demonstrate above-average work on Theory of Knowledge assessments and their Extended Essays may earn up to three bonus points toward the IB Diploma.
The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of studies, leading to examinations, that meets the needs of highly motivated secondary school students between the ages of 16 and 19 years. Designed as a comprehensive two-year curriculum that allows its graduates to fulfill requirements of various national education systems, the diploma model is based on the pattern of no single country but incorporates the best elements of many.
Although there is no formal admission process to the IB Diploma Programme, students will be expected to have earned good grades in all subjects and to have shown active engagement in the learning process that marks the successful IB Diploma candidate. Non-native English speakers will need to show sufficient mastery of the English language to be admitted to IB studies.
IB courses are given final, cumulative scores on a scale of 0-7. Diploma candidates must earn a minimum score of 24 points for six courses to earn the IB Diploma. IB Diploma candidates must take at least three Higher Level courses and no more than three Standard Level courses.
LAS & IB Grading
Leysin American School recognizes that scores provided by the IBO represent external standards that, although representative of the values we seek in students, do not always reflect a student’s work in the classroom. To that end, LAS provides its students with percentage grades rooted in IB standards but based on performance and effort in the classroom.
All LAS courses – including IB courses – are graded on a scale of A-F. These letter grades indicate a student’s progress in the course and level of achievement in exams, but also professionalism, effort, and attitude. Students wishing to earn IB Diploma or Certificate credit are graded by IB on a scale of 1-7 in each course. These scores indicate only the level of a student’s achievement on major assessments. Hence, LAS letter grades and IB number grades are related, but very different.
Major IB assessments include an internal component graded by LAS (about 20%) and final examinations in May of the second year of the program, graded directly by the IB (80%) IB Diploma students may earn up to 45 total IB points (maximum of 7 points in six courses, plus an opportunity to earn 3 bonus points via work in TOK, CAS, and the EE.) Students earning 24 points out of 45 who also meet other program requirements will earn the IB Diploma.