India ranks #6 in the world in teaching of International Baccalaureate – Curriculum, with 132 schools in the country offering the curriculum. This number is rapidly increasing, as both students and parents are understanding the importance of academic excellence and all-round development, which lie at the foundation of the IB curriculum.
At present, there are 65 schools that offer the Primary Years Program (PYP), 21 schools that offer the Middle Years Program (MYP), and 110 schools that offer the Diploma Program (DP), but do we understand what the curriculum really is? There is a vast difference between the education we’re used to, and the education that the IB propagates.
In this two-part series, I will attempt to aware you about the IB education, assessments, grading and education ideology.
Let us now take a closer look at each of the program IB offers:
The IB – Primary Years Program (PYP)
The IB-PYP is a curriculum specially curated for children aged 3 – 12 years old. It puts special focus on inquiry based learning and experiential learning. Schools teaching the IB-PYP have to adhere to three different curricula.
- Written Curriculum: The written curriculum is a manual to detail the knowledge imparted, concepts taught, skills honed, attitudes developed, and actions taken during the course of the program. It explicitly, and in-detail, answers two questions – What is the coursework? Why is it included in the curriculum?
- Taught Curriculum: The taught curriculum is more for teachers & instructors, than for students. It goes into the core depths of learning, and identifies which lessons, if taught a particular way, can be deeply ingrained, in a child’s mind. It describes the particulars of the environment, tone, and pedagogy, specific to a lesson.
- Assessment Curriculum: The assessment curriculum talks about assessing what one has learnt, in the most stress-free, efficient model, where an actual measure of learning is attained.
IB does not set examinations or moderate grades for students in the PYP. Students take responsibility of self-learning, and decide what, how much and to what level they wish to study. Doing so instills in them a sense of responsibility towards their learning, and students and teachers together, craft individual study plans for each child.
The only major assessment that a student has to go through is the PYP Exhibition, which happens in the final year of the PYP. It essentially is an enquiry based, real-life project that a student has to accomplish on their own right from start until the end. This maybe anything – a problem that they face, something they observed, a solution that they yearn for, or an initiative that can better the society.
Once a student completes the IB – PYP, they move on to the next stage. The IB – Middle Years Program.
The IB – Middle Years Program (MYP)
The IB – MYP is a framework that encourages students to draw analogies between the real world & textbook knowledge. The MYP is a 5-year program in schools that encourages a student to study all disciplines in education, before they go on to streamline their majors and specialty areas. Any student in the age bracket of 11 – 16 years, can enroll in the program, and study the IB – MYP Curriculum.
- The curriculum requires each student to select a course they want to study, from 8 different subject groups. It is mandatory that a student selects one subject from each group.
- Subject groups are: Language & Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals & Societies, Sciences, Maths, Arts, Physical & Health Education, and Design.
- The MYP requires that each subject be taught for at least 50 hours, each year.
- In their senior years (Year 4 & 5), students have the option to take courses from 6 of the 8 subject groups, and drop two subjects. This is done with the dual objective of providing greater flexibility, and focusing more on individual student needs.
- MYP students are required to undertake a long-term project, where they decide upon their learning requisites, learning outcomes, learning pedagogy and impact assessment. It is carried out with the objective of focusing more on developing personal understanding, sense of self, and responsibility towards the community. The MYP Project is extremely crucial, and accounts for external evaluation. Students who complete the MYP in Year 3 or 4 undertake the community project, while students who complete it in year 5, undertake the personal project.
SUBJECTS AT A GLANCE
Though, the IB lists down the following subjects that can be taught under the MYP, the subjects available vary from school to school.
- Arts: In the first three years of the MYP, students are required to study a visual-arts discipline, and a performing-arts discipline. Choices can be made from:
- Visual Arts
Also Read: All About A Career In Theatre
- Mathematics: MYP Math can be tailored to the needs of the students, and there are two ways they can study Math.
- Standard Mathematics
- Extended Mathematics
- Individuals & Societies: Students, under the MYP, are required to select at least one subject from:
- World/ Local/ National History
- Global Politics/ International Relations
- Business Management
- Language & Literature: The language program focuses on developing skills across listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing & presenting in one’s first It usually offers a study of a wide range of literary and non-literary text types.
- Language Acquisition: Language Acquisition focuses on grasping concepts and developing skills in a foreign language. The teaching and learning is organized in six phases. The student can start with any phase in this subject, depending on his/ her prior experience in the language they’re learning.
- Physical and Health Education: For this subject, teachers have the flexibility of planning a balanced curriculum that includes different modules of content. The subject focuses on imparting physical and health related knowledge – nutrition, fitness and training, lifestyle, exercise physiology, sports, first aid, etc. but may also include alternative recreational sports/ adventure sports.
- Science: The MYP Science courses usually include Physics, Chemistry & Biology, but schools may develop and offer other science courses like:
- Environmental Science
- Life Science
- Physical Science
- Sport Science
- Health Science
- Earth Science
The method of operation varies from school to school, however the IB allows transfer of information as per the following models:
- Discrete Discipline Learning: In this model, each discipline under a subject is studied separately – say, Physics, Chemistry & Biology will be taught, assessed and graded separately.
- Integrated Discipline Learning: In this model, different disciplines of a subject are studies in unity – say, Physics, Chemistry & Biology will be taught, assessed and graded as one, under the subject of Science.
- Modular Learning: Different disciplines are studied in rotation, as modules – say, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology will be studied in rotation, as modules, but will be assessed and graded as one.
It is at the school’s and the student body’s discretion, which model to adopt for teaching which subject.
All MYP students are subjected to the MYP e-assessments, post which they are given a certificate of success.
The e-assessment assesses the student’s work in two ways:
- E-portfolio: It is a portfolio of the coursework done in a particular course, up for grading by the examiner.
- On-screen examinations: The students are required to give their examinations online. Each test lasts for two hours. One has to undergo a test for each subject they’re studying.
- It should be noted here, that external moderation of the MYP Project is mandatory.
Once a student graduates the MYP successfully, there lies the next big decision. Whether to choose the IB Diploma Program or the IB Career Program.
Got an insight into the exhaustive IB Curriculum? Wait till you see part 2! It’s the two biggies at IB Senior level, the Diploma Program and the Career Program, head to head with one another.