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The IB Advantage

Published
11/05/2017 by

Back in our parent’s time, they considered completing secondary school a major achievement and when it came to our generation, Diplomas and Degrees were the minimum requirement. Education was a pretty straightforward decision as most of us went to public or government schools and for the rest of those who could afford it, they went to private schools.

 

There are government schools, there are private schools, and then there are the international schools which have been gaining popularity as parents are looking to provide their children with an education that is recognized internationally. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is one of the more popular courses offered by international schools. Let’s explore more about this programme.

 

 

What Exactly is IB?

 

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is an international education foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It offers four highly respected international education programmes that develop intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills that are needed by our younger generation to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

 

The four programmes are:

 

  • Primary Years Programme

 

This programme focuses on the overall development of the child. It aims to nurture independent learning skills and encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning.

 

  • Middle Years Programme

 

This programme is beneficial for students of all academic abilities as it offers a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world.

 

  • Career-related Programme

 

This programme aims to address the needs of students in career-related education through promoting development of skills and also through encouraging high levels of self-esteem via meaningful achievements.

 

  • Diploma Programme

 

The programme aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.

  

 

 

 

What is the IB Diploma Programme?

 

A programme designed for students aged between 16 to 19, the Diploma programme requires students to study six courses at a standard or higher level. From five groups of subjects, students will have to choose one subject within each group to ensure they get to experience a range of fields from language and social studies to experimental sciences as well as mathematics. There is also a sixth subject where students can choose an art subject or if they prefer, they may select another subject from the first five groups.

 

The programme also has three core requirements which come together as the Diploma Programme Core:

 

  • Theory of knowledge (TOK)

 

In this component, students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know. While there is no final exam, students will have to complete an essay which contributes towards the final programme’s score.

 

  • The extended essay

 

Students are required to come up with an independent and self-directed piece of research and compile all the findings into a 4,000-word paper, much like

a thesis.

 

  • Creativity, action, service (CAS)

 

For CAS, students are required to complete projects related to the three components of creativity, action and service. All three components can

be combined or done separately.The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

 

 

 Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.

 

 Action – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP.


Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

 

 

At the end of the programme, students have to take written examinations and also complete assessment tasks to accumulate points. IB is not entirely exam-based, as coursework done during class counts for the final grade. A minimum of 24 points is required to obtain the diploma but students also need to achieve certain levels of performance across the whole programme.

 

As for recognition, the IB is not only recognized by universities in Malaysia, it is also highly recognized by private universities all around the world, ensuring your child will have no problem in enrolment.

 

 

 

How Does the IB Diploma Programme Benefit Students?

 

The IB programmes in general are a unique form of education and these are just some of the advantages that students can benefit from:

 

  • Independence

 

Students are encouraged be more independent and drive their own learning. They can choose their topics and projects and teachers will assist them rather than feed them with just facts. The IB classes push students to take initiative, organize and complete projects, conduct their own science experiments and even speak in front of their classmates.

 

  • More opportunities

 

With IB, students get to be a part of education programmes that could pave the way to some of the highest ranking universities around the world. After all, the IB is one of the most recognized programmes in the world.

 

  • Cultural awakening

 

Your child will become more culturally aware through the socialization with other students from different parts of the world.

 

  • Social skills

 

IB programmes will help improve your child’s social skills as he will learn how to engage with people in an increasingly globalized, rapidly changing world through their interaction with other students.

 

  • Language

 

With English as the medium of instruction, your child will benefit from mastering the “language of the world”.

 

  • Global perspective

 

The IB programme takes on a more global approach, encouraging students to look at the bigger picture. For example, compared to the Advanced Placement (AP) program which focuses on the U.S. history, the IB programme focuses on world history. Regardless of any subject, students will dig deep and ask questions and find their own answers.

  

  • Cultivating curiosity

 

IB’s curricula nurture inquisitive minds through asking question and searching for answers. IB programme teachers will challenge students to ask questions and search for their answers.

 

 

 

Benefits of the IB Teaching Style

 

The IB teaching style is quite different from traditional teaching styles and your child can benefit in many ways, for example in these areas:

 

  • Coursework spotlight

 

While exams are part of the grading system, it is not the focus as other things such as coursework contributes towards the student’s final grade as well. For example, a subject could carry 50% for coursework and 50% for exams. This will result in less stress on your child as compared to having everything based on one solitary final exam.

 

  • Learner focused

 

Putting your little ones’ interest first, IB programmes have always been very student-centred. Through their lessons, they aim to promote healthy relationships, ethical responsibility and personal challenge.

 

  • Writing focused

 

There is a focus on writing as students in the IB Diploma programme are required to write an extended essay. Students have to conduct a research and write a paper which is similar to a thesis to report their findings. Good writing skills can be beneficial regardless of which field your child decides to pursue.

 

  • Effective approaches to teaching and learning

 

Through their lessons, the IB programme teachers aim to help students develop the right attitudes as well as skills which they need for academic and personal success in life.

 

 

How Does IB Compare to Other Qualifications?

 

Research has shown that students taking IB programmes perform better. One study found that IB students taking the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) outperformed their peers who were not in the IB programme in Mathematics, reading, narrative writing and expository writing. There was also a separate study where qualitative data on the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in the USA suggested that students who participated in the DP during high school are more academically adjusted to the rigour and expectations of college.

 

Additionally, research is constantly being carried out by the IB, both independently and in collaboration with universities and external research organizations. These studies can be on matters such as student performance, programme implementation, the learner profile, and standards alignment.

 

The IB is also different from other curricula because, first of all, it encourages students to think critically and challenge what they are told instead of just accepting things as they are. This helps students develop critical thinking skills which can be a valuable life skill. With its own curricula, the IB programme is not tied to any governments and national systems so your child gets a well-rounded and independent education from a range of international frameworks.

 

 

 

What are the requirements of the IB programme?

 

In order to enrol in the IB programme, your child will have to meet the following minimum prerequisites and these can change from institution to institution.

 

Some of the prerequisites can include:

 

  • A minimum of 5 credits

 

  • A strong credit in English

 

  • 6 distinctions, including English and Mathematics.

 

All interested applicants are required to sit for an entrance exam which will cover Science, Mathematics, vocabulary and comprehension questions. There will also be an interview followed by the entrance exam.

 

 

 

 


References:

www.ibo.org

research.acer.edu.au

 

This article is taken from Smart Kids World issue Vol.05.