IB and NA: Intellectual Engagement and International Focus

The International Baccalaureate Program (IB) is a rigorous and highly respected pre-university program. Newark Academy was the first IB school in New Jersey, and is currently the only independent school in the region to offer the program.

The IB program aligns closely with NA’s educational philosophy, guiding students to become self-motivated learners. Both IB and NA encourage students to engage in diverse learning experiences like the arts, athletics, and service learning. IB Diploma students study a second language with a focus on communication proficiency rather than grammar—complementing NA’s Immersion Experience, which often includes a homestay in a foreign country.
  • More than one-third of each class chooses to pursue an IB diploma. Typically, about 96 percent of candidates earn their IB diplomas.
  • Each year, the state’s greatest number of diploma recipients graduate from NA.
  • Nearly all students who do not pursue the IB diploma take individual IB courses, for which they may earn IB Certificates.
The Course of Study and other IB Program Requirements
  • Diploma candidates must take courses in each of the following six subject groups: Language A1, Second Foreign Language, Individuals in Society, Experimental Science, Mathematics, Elective Subject
  • Theory of Knowledge (ToK) Seminar: ToK is a dialectic-style seminar on epistemology that meets throughout the two-year program.
  • The Extended Essay: In the summer following their junior year, diploma candidates do independent research in a subject of their choice, culminating in a 4,000-word paper.
  • Creativity, Action, Service (CAS): Over the course of the program, diploma candidates must perform 150 hours of CAS. This includes community service, arts, athletics, civic organizations and participation in clubs.

Theory of Knowledge

In this foundational course, students seek to answer the question “How do we know what we know?” A typical class could involve discussion of an op-ed piece from the New York Times, examining the validity of ideas and sources.

How Does IB Benefit students?

  • Studies by the IB show IB diploma graduates “complete college faster, feel more prepared for college-level coursework, and are better able to cope with demanding workloads and time-management challenges” than their peers.
  • Developing a global perspective builds empathic understanding and prepares students for civic engagement.
  • By learning to act as interpreters instead of consumers of culture, students think for themselves rather than accept the way information is presented to them.

Extended Essay Presentations

Though it may sound daunting, IB students are well-prepared—and excited—to take on this major research project. Choosing a topic of personal interest, they investigate, write, and present a 4,000-word “mini-thesis” to their peers, teachers, and families.

Titles of recent essays include:
  • The Role of Music Culture in Advancing Youth Involvement in Political and Social Change in the United States, 1960s and 1970s
  • To What Extent Do the Psychological Effects of Acupuncture Qualify It to Be a Legitimate Form of Treatment?
  • How Mirror Neurons Affect the Neurological Processes That Underlie the Experience of Empathy
  • Behind the Lines of Narrative Nonfiction: Tackling Fiction and Journalism in Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights”