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The IB Diploma Program (IBDP) was established in 1968 in order to provide an international education that went beyond national, cultural and geographical boundaries. ACS Athens has been an IB World School offering the IBDP since 1976. It is the 66th school in the world to offer the IBDP and the first to introduce the program in Greece. The goal of the IBDP is to go beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills in order to include the education of the “whole” person. As Alec Peterson, the first director general of the IB, put it: “to develop to their fullest potential the powers of each individual to understand, to modify and to enjoy his or her environment, both inner and outer, in its physical, social, moral, aesthetic and spiritual aspects”.
In the IBDP students study six subjects that include two languages, one subject from Individuals and Societies (Economics, History, Business and Management and Psychology), one from Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science and Environmental Systems and Societies), one from Mathematics and one more chosen from either the above or the Arts (Visual Arts or Drama). As with any pre-university course it is essential that students acquire subject specific in depth knowledge and skills that will prove useful in university studies. This is achieved by the selection of three subjects at higher level. Breadth is achieved by the selection of an additional three subjects at standard level. In addition the IBDP demands from each student an Extended Essay (EE), a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay and participation in Creativity, Activity and Service, (CAS). The EE is a 4000 word research on any topic of interest to the student. This is a unique opportunity for students to spend time investigating a topic about which they have more than just a passing interest something they are passionate about (anything from analyzing a poem, to studying the thermodynamics of a black hole or the role of Brouwer’s fixed point theorem in Nash’s equilibrium condition). The TOK essay is the culmination of studies on ways of knowing: what is the nature of knowledge? How do we know what we claim we know? How does knowledge in Mathematics differ from that in Chemistry or History? Finally, in CAS, a musical performance, participation in sports and service in a hospital, an old people’s home or a refugee camp broaden a student’s education and perspectives and makes a student aware of real life situations and concerns.
All grade 10 ACS Athens students who are interested in following the IBDP are eligible provided they satisfy minimum grade conditions at the end of grade 10. Those students who do meet the minimum requirements may still be admitted conditionally which means that their progress will be evaluated at the end of the first semester of the first year of the IBDP.
The fundamental principles of our mission statement and the educational philosophy of ACS Athens are in direct alignment with the philosophy and mission statement of the IBO. Our student centered environment aims toward high academic achievement, as well as providing a broader education in order to produce graduates with what the Greeks called “paedia”, i.e. educated, cultured, compassionate and caring people.
Academic support programs such as our Writing and Math Studios serve not only to assist but to enhance the individual writing and mathematical skills of each student. Furthermore, a comprehensive program for college applications offered by our Student Affairs department assists in obtaining acceptances to the finest institutions around the world.
Full IBDP candidates at ACS Athens obtain a bilingual IB diploma, as well as an American High School Diploma when they successfully complete the required courses. Students who are not full IBDP candidates may still choose to take IB courses in order to design their own academic program and receive IB certificate recognition for their courses.