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Better than Concorde?. The International Version of the French Baccalaureate (OIB). St Germain-en-Laye, France. Who are we? Where do we come from?. James Cathcart Coordinator of University Applications, History Teacher, OIB examiner. Nicholas Baker Deputy Head,

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better than concorde

Better than Concorde?

The International Version of the French Baccalaureate (OIB)

who are we where do we come from
St Germain-en-Laye, FranceWho are we? Where do we come from?

James Cathcart

Coordinator of University


History Teacher,

OIB examiner

Nicholas Baker

Deputy Head,

National Subject Leader

OIB English

the structure of today s talk
Defining the OIB

Background: the French Baccalaureate

The OIB: the Cambridge A level component

The OIB ‘student profile’

The future of the OIB

Making offers: recommendations

The structure of today’s talk:
the oib
French BaccalaureateThe OIB =


A-Level standard components in

  • English Language & Literature
  • History-Geography


the french bac a broad educational philosophy
Each stream of the Bac, despite its particular focus, includes:

French Literature (written & oral exams taken in Year 12)

An ‘Extended Project’ (independent research)



History-Geography (taught as one subject)

At least one Modern Language

Philosophy (introduced in Year 13)


Since entry to university is not selective, schools do not tend to be ‘results driven’

The French ‘Bac’: a broad educational philosophy
one bac three streams
S: Sciences


Life & Earth Sciences

Further Mathematics

One Bac, three streams

L: Languages & Literature

  • Advanced French Literature
  • Advanced Philosophy
  • Written exams in at least two Modern


ES: Social & Economic Sciences

  • Social & Economic Science
  • Extra Mathematics (Statistics & Probability)
examination results
The overall Baccalaureate result is an aggregate of all marks awarded in all examinations taken

The overall result is calculated according to the subject coefficients (weightings) for each stream

The ‘relevé de notes’ lists the marks awarded for each subject and the overall mark

All results are published as a mark out of 20 (‘x/20’)

A hierarchy of ‘honours classes’ exists for overall results:

10-11.99/20 Passable

12-13.99/20 Mention Assez Bien

14-15.99/20 Mention Bien

16-20/20 Mention Très Bien

Examination Results
the oib an anglo french partnership
French Ministry of Education

University of Cambridge International Examinations, part of the Cambridge Assessment Group (UCLES)

The OIB: an Anglo-French Partnership
the cambridge a level component
A-level-standard exams in:

English Language & Literature

History & Geography

Written and Oral exams taken in English

Taken by students in all three Baccalaureate streams

The Cambridge ‘A-level’ component
origins purpose
Launched at Lycée International de St Germain-en-Laye in 1985

To give bilingual students an integrated matriculation qualification to allow them equal access to French & British higher education

To respect and nurture bi-culturalism

Origins & Purpose
Bilingualism (English language): allows ease in anglophone environment (academic or professional)

Biculturalism (English Literature & History-Geography): inside & in-depth knowledge of two cultures (& educational cultures)

standards quality control
Cambridge Subject Inspectors ensure that A-Level standards are maintained in terms of both

Examinable content


French Bac + A-level: matriculation standard in UK and France assured by national authorities

Negates need for ESL/EFL qualification

Standards & Quality Control
oib student profile
OIB students are

Prepared for UK university education: educated to think, discuss, write & research in A-level style

Equally prepared for French university

They also tend to be:

Academically strong

Highly motivated & ambitious

Effective in managing heavy work load

Intellectually flexible


Independent (Extended Project)

Culturally mobile, international in outlook

Busy: they have little time for extra-curricular activities

Some have IGCSEs (but only English, History

& possibly Maths)

100% go on to higher education

OIB ‘student profile’
typical oib university destinations
UK (often Russell group, but increasing variety)

France: classes préparatoires, grandes écoles

Canada (McGill)

USA (Ivy league)

Typical OIB university destinations
the oib schools
23 schools in France & Belgium (21 entering students for examination in 2009)

Predominantly French state international schools

The OIB schools
success growth
2001 12 schools: 285 candidates

2009 21 schools: 686 candidates

The future

French policy of continued growth for OIB

Effective Anglo-French partnership

Well-organised & dynamic community of schools

Heavy demand for bilingual education in France

Success & growth
making offers recommendations
OIB offers should be lower than those for the standard French Baccalaureate to reflect

Recognition of the demands of the OIB compared with the standard French Baccalaureate

The particular suitability of OIB graduates for higher education in the UK

A Mention Bien (14/20) is the rough equivalent of 3 As at A Level (OIB Handbook, Cambridge Assessment)

English Language Proficiency tests are not required

Making Offers: recommendations
making offers possible approaches
Overall offer only

Overall offer & conditions in key subjects

Overall offer

Conditions in relevant subjects

NB - Philosophy is an unreliable indicator

Making Offers: possible approaches
making offers equivalences
Making offers: equivalences

source: Bristol University web site