Option of the French Baccalaureate (OIB)

What is the OIB?

The International Option of the French Baccalaureate, or option internationale du baccalauréat (OIB), combines the breadth and rigor of the French Baccalaureate with extra subjects taught and examined in another language, resulting in a bilingual, bicultural diploma. France is the only country in the world to have officially incorporated an optional international component into its established secondary school curriculum: the OIB. The option internationale du baccalauréat isn’t a separate diploma but rather a specialization within the framework of the French Baccalaureate.

What is an American International Section?

The American International Section is a bilingual and bicultural program. International Sections (IS) have been introduced by the French Ministry of Education in cooperation with partner countries. In the United States, the French Ministry of Education has partnered with College Board.

International Sections are programs of bilateral cooperation between the educational authorities of the countries who are involved in implementation, pedagogical oversight, and promotion of the IS route in their respective countries. What sets the IS apart is that it combines the breadth and rigor of the French curriculum with extra subjects taught and tested in English, resulting in a bilingual, bicultural program.

International Sections are taken by French, American, and foreign students who, throughout their studies, move naturally from one language and culture to another, shifting between two educational systems on a daily basis.

Who is enrolled in an American International Section?

The American International Section has high standards. Students may be enrolled from 1st grade (CP) to 12th grade (terminale). Students enrolled in this IS are taught the core syllabus, which enables them to follow advanced classes taught in the language of the partner country.

From middle school (collège), students have the opportunity to take English language and literature and history-geography courses taught from an American perspective by certified American and French teachers.

  • English Language and Literature: Much more than a foreign language class, this course incorporates teaching of literature in English at a high proficiency level.
  • History-Geography: The French syllabus is adapted to include a stronger emphasis on the history and geography of North America.

The IS-specific provision is a significant proportion of the schedule at middle schools (collèges) (32%–39%, depending on the grade) and high schools (lycées) (20%–26%, depending on the grade and course). It represents 8–10 teaching hours a week in English, 4 of which are on top of the normal schedule. In addition, there are usually extracurricular activities related to the culture of the country. These activities are instrumental in creating a multicultural learning experience.

Who are the teachers in an American International Section?

Teachers in the American International Section are usually native speakers of the language they teach and hold a teaching certificate from the partner country. Teachers who are French have experience teaching in the school system of the section's partner country. In all cases, teacher appointments must be approved by the French education minister. The educational authorities of the partner country sometimes loan teachers to the International Sections. In any case, the French Ministry of Education oversees all teaching selections.

Exams and Diplomas

Students enrolled in the International Section take specific exams toward the end of school diploma (diplôme national du brevet (DNB)) and the baccalauréa to be awarded the international option of the DNB and the international option of the baccalauréat (OIB). This certificate is widely recognized by foreign universities.

The international option of the DNB is made up of:

  • All standard exams.
  • An oral exam in language and literature, and in history-geography, each with a weight of 1. The paper for each course is in English.

The international option of the baccalauréat (OIB) is made up of:

  • The required standard exams for each course, with the exception of written and oral exams in English language (LV1) and the history-geography exam.
  • A specific language and literature exam in English in the place of the required LV1 exam; this exam includes a written and oral component.
  • A specific history-geography exam in the place of the standard history-geography exam; this exam includes a written and oral component.
  • Each of the specific exam above has a weight of 15% (30% of the baccalauréat result).

OIB = French Baccalaureate + English Language and Literature + History-Geography

French American Baccalaureate Shows English and French Language Proficiency

Students with the OIB have demonstrated the ability to complete rigorous coursework in English and in French. Universities can rest assured of both the English and French proficiency of OIB candidates.