Do IB and CfE students have different attributes?

The IB curriculum has 10 learner profile attributes these are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. The CfE curriculum has the 4 capacities which are successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Difference: The first difference is strikingly obvious, the IB attributes are much more obvious of what is required from each learner. Where CfE requires extra questioning, what does it mean to be a successful learner? How do I show that I am a confident individual?


Inquirers, as IB believes are students who ask powerful questions (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this links to being a responsible citizen because these are students who participate in political, economic and cultural life and to be able to do so you have to be able to question what goes on in the world. Open-minded, as IB believes are students who are appreciative of their own and other peoples cultures (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this links to being a confident individual because these children have secure values and beliefs and are also self-aware. Responsible citizens relates as well because these students are respectful of others and are able to understand different beliefs and cultures. Knowledgeable, as believed by IB are students who explore locally and globally significant ideas (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this relates to responsible citizens as these are students who are able to develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it. Caring, these are students who are committed to helping our community (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe being a caring person links to all 4 capacities as learners are encouraged to think about themselves, others and the world around us. Thinkers, are critical, creative, decision makers (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this relates to successful learners as these are students who are able to think creatively and independently. Risk-takers, are students who are courageous, resourceful and resilient (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this links to confident individual as these learners are able to be self-aware and can assess risks and make informed decisions. Communicators, are confident in more than one language (Cambridge High School, 2015). Communication is a key part of being an effective contributor however, there is a difference between IB and CfE. This is because IB is linked more to being a worldwide communicator and a CfE effective contributor is a learner who can work well as part of a team. Balanced, these students are focused on caring of well being of ourselves and those around us (Cambridge High School, 2015). This relates to confident individual where students have a sense of physical, mental and emotional well being. Principled, learners who are honest, fair and responsible (Cambridge High School, 2015). This is another attribute which I feel is shared evenly between all 4 capacities as students are taught to be respectful and to work well alone and together. Reflective, learners are thoughtful and hopeful for the future (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this relates to confident individual as these learners have ambition.

Difference: Looking closely at both curriculum’s I believe there is a difference between the world the curriculum’s are setting their students up to be able to live in. IB is based on bringing people all over the world together whereas CfE is based on creating learners who are resilient to the change in an ever developing society.

Difference: A final difference between the two curriculum’s is that CfE is based mainly on Scotland with the rest of the world being global learning. Whereas IB does not have a specific location and is adaptable to being taught all over the world.

In my recent professional practice I witnessed the attribute of knowledgeable. During a maths topic children were shown three different types of learning in maths (concrete, pictorial and abstract). This allowed each child to learn in a way that suited them but also allowed them to see different approaches to gaining knowledge. I also noticed the attribute of being reflective, each child had their own targets booklet where they recorded learning which they wanted to improve on with a timescale in which they would try to complete the target. As a school I noticed the attribute of caring by providing a breakfast club for the children who needed a soft start to the morning.


Cambridge High School. (2015) What is an IB education? Available At: (Accessed: 23/08/19)


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