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  • What is IB?

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The IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
It encourages students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The Newman School is one of only three independent schools in Massachusetts to offer the International Baccalaureate Program and the only one that offers boarding.

A highly regarded, academically rich and rigorous program of study, the ultimate goal is to inspire students to view their subjects and their impact from an intercultural perspective and as a citizen of the world. With IB, The Newman School prepares its students for success in the next steps of their education and beyond in the global workplace.

IB Learners Strive to Be:

Why IB?

The IB Diploma program uniquely positions and prepares students for the global reality of their future, fostering an independence of mind and depth of critical thinking enhanced by a broad range of subjects of study.  
IB encourages a sense of social responsibility and our common humanity, and allows students the freedom to pursue their own needs and interests within a liberal arts style framework. It is both a structured program that offers a strong general education and a flexible program that acknowledges the particular interests of the students.

Distinguished Among Universities

In studies on the impact of an IB program, statistics note that the diploma program was the best predictor of college performance and, across income groups, IB students earned higher grade point averages and graduated at higher rates. Students with an IB education averaged far better acceptance rates to 20 of the nation's most elite universities than non-IB students.

As Marilyn McGrath Lewis, Assistant Dean of Admissions at Harvard University commented on the influence of IB on university acceptance. “Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Program on the transcript. GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA.”

IB Pathways

Students at The Newman School can be assured of a robust and engaging academic journey, taking advantage of the opportunity to choose to graduate with a traditional high school diploma or with an International Baccalaureate degree. 

Students may choose the IB Course Pathway or the IB Diploma Pathway.


Students choose from six subject areas:
  • Studies of Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals and Society
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts


Students choose from six subject areas AND 3 additional courses:
  • Studies of Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals and Society
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts
  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
  • Extended Essay (EE)
  • Community, Activity, Service (CAS)

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  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

    Theory of Knowledge
    Knowledge, we know, is not learned by rote, it is acquired. The Theory of Knowledge course at the center of Newman’s IB curriculum examines knowledge at its very core. Together, students and teachers examine the origins and validity of various forms of knowledge.

    Content for the course originates from the subject areas the students are learning as well as their own personal beliefs. Art, history, science, and math – we interweave knowledge from all its sources, contemplating moral, ethical, and scientific questions within the context of the world today.

    The process is critical reflection on what the student claims to know and what is professed as knowledge by others. Students of different cultural backgrounds are encouraged to compare and contrast their diverse attitudes and perceptions. With this focus on inquiry, there may not be right or wrong answers, but there are standards for judgement and defenses of knowledge claims.

    Course Aims and Objectives:

    • Students develop a critical capacity to consider and understand the importance of evaluating knowledge claims
    • Students learn to be aware of subjective and ideological biases
    • Students develop a concern for rigor in formulating knowledge claims and intellectual honesty
    • Students make connections between personal experience and Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge through linking questions
    • Students demonstrate an understanding of the influence that personal views, judgements, and beliefs have on their own knowledge
    • Students can use oral and written language to communicate ideas clearly and appropriately
    • Students demonstrate an understanding of knowledge at work in the world.


    A student who decides to participate in the IB Program, as a Diploma candidate or as an IB Courses candidate, can expect to:
    • Be challenged to work hard to improve themselves
    • Approach tasks with a sense of purpose
    • Demonstrate self-discipline and responsibility
    • Learn from fellow students as well as teachers
    • Seek assistance, and give it, without hesitation
    • Be open to constructive feedback
    • View adversity and challenge as an opportunity
    • Share with, and contribute to, the community
    IB students should expect to be educated, amused, excited, delighted, and at times, to be disappointed and frustrated. If the student has the motivation, an IB Diploma or Course Certificate is a realistic goal. Students learn to cope with adversity and understand the privilege of pressure.
  • Extended Essay (EE)

    It is an independent piece of research, culminating with a 4,000-word paper.

    What is the significance of the extended essay?

    The extended essay provides:
    • practical preparation for undergraduate research
    • an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to one of the student's six DP subjects, or takes the interdisciplinary approach of a World Studies extended essay

    Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:
    • formulating an appropriate research question
    • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
    • communicating ideas
    • developing an argument
    Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate knowledge.
    An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies, where students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, across two IB diploma disciplines.

    How is the study of the extended essay structured?
    Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor who is usually a teacher at the school.
    Students are required to have three mandatory reflection sessions with their supervisors. The final session, a concluding interview, is also known as viva voce.
    The extended essay and reflection sessions can be a valuable stimulus for discussion in countries where interviews are required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university.

    How is the extended essay assessed?
    All extended essays are externally assessed by examiners appointed by the IB. They are marked on a scale from 0 to 34.
    The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:
    • A – work of an excellent standard
    • B – work of a good standard
    • C – work of a satisfactory standard
    • D – work of a mediocre standard
    • E – work of an elementary standard
    Find out how points awarded for the extended essay contribute to a student's overall diploma score.
  • Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

    Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is at the heart of The Newman School’s IB Diploma Program.

    CREATIVITY: Experiences that encompass original thinking, including artistic activities and other learning and teaching experiences, arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.

     Experiences that contribute to a healthy lifestyle through participation in individual / team sports, as well as any other activity which focuses on physical activity. 

     Experiences that involve interactions with individuals or groups, which provide benefits to the community. These experiences should not only involve contributions to others, but also with others, while developing a deep commitment. An unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

    The course involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Program. The three strands of the course, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

    Development of Character, Mind, and Body

    Creativity, Action and Service enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of the Diploma Program. Both challenging and enjoyable, the program is a personal journey of student self discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life changing.
    For student development to occur, CAS Should Involve:
    • real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
    • a personal challenge—tasks must extend the student and be achievable in scope
    • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
    • reflection on outcomes and personal learning

    All proposed CAS activities must meet these four criteria.
Newman provides opportunity for students from broadly diverse backgrounds to pursue serious studies in a welcoming and supportive environment where self and community are paramount.
247 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA 02116   |   tel: 617.267.4530   |   fax: 617.267.7070