Grading Scale

Each of the IB subjects is graded on a 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) scale. A mark of 4 is considered a passing grade. To determine diploma eligibility the marks in each of the six subjects are totalled. To graduate with an IB Diploma, a student must receive a combined total score of 24 points in his/her six courses (three HL, three SL). A student cannot receive a mark of less than 3 in any Higher Level course and must receive a minimum of 12 points from HL courses. It is important to note that a mark is not a mark out of 7. Each value on the scale represents a range of marks.

In order to produce marks on a 1-7 scale, teachers are provided with several resources from both the Department of Education and from the IB Organization (IBO) to help them convert classroom grades into predicted grades (1 – 7 marks on the report card). It is important to note that these grades represent a range and are liable to change as your child gets further into the program.


Each student must complete the CAS program, Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. The Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge are marked based on letter grades and are crossed on a matrix to provide a combined point score of up to 3 additional bonus points. Incomplete CAS or inadequate work on the Extended Essay or in Theory of Knowledge will result in the failure of the IB Diploma. A student must earn a minimum of a ‘D’ for each of the Extended Essay and TOK otherwise they will not earn their IB diploma.

Final IB Results

The highest mark a student can earn is 45 points….IB score of 7 x 6 subjects = 42 + 3 possible bonus points from EE & TOK. It should be noted that this rarely happens in the world; in each respective subject, fewer than 3% of the students receive a 7. The global average Diploma Score is 27 points.

Additionally, if your son or daughter is completing a seventh course in IB, they will receive an additional certificate in that subject. However, those points will not be added to the Diploma.


Most local universities accept transcripts with IB Predicted Grades. Because of the onslaught of IB schools in recent years, they are well aware of the IB marking system and are very generous in accepting IB grads. In the event that a student applies to a school that would like percentage grades, Horton will produce a transcript with grades using a Department of Education conversion scale. This scale converts grades from the 1-7 system to a percentage, accounting for the level of difficulty associated with the IB program.

Nova Scotia Requirements

The Nova Scotia Department of Education has determined that students who complete the IB Diploma requirements will also receive the NS High School Diploma, without meeting certain additional requirements that other non-IB students must complete. However, if a student chooses to leave the IB Diploma program after grade 11, he or she must complete all NS graduation requirements.