International Baccalaureate

SISD is a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and pursuing authorization as an IB World School.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) has its roots in the presence of international organisations in the Swiss city of Geneva. Ecolint, the International School of Geneva, was founded shortly after the formation in the city of the International Labour Office and the League of Nations in the early 1920s. Over time, it became apparent to teachers at Ecolint that it would make sense to form an International Schools Examinations Syndicate. Early principles agreed to be of importance were intercultural understanding, respect for all peoples, global interdependence, the ability to communicate with others and cooperation across borders. In 1968, ISES evolved to become the IB Organisation and these values continue to underpin the IB Learner Profile. Today, schools, teachers, and students are expected to make a sincere and visible effort to align their own respective philosophies with the values of this profile.

The IB as a suite of academic programmes (and now vocational, with the addition of the IB Careers-related Programme) continues to grow at an impressive rate. More and more students, parents and schools appreciate the opportunities to look beyond one’s own borders that are afforded by an international education: in October 2015, there were 4357 IB World Schools compared to 4267 in August of the same year. In only five years, the number of IB programmes offered has grown by nearly 50%.

The academic programmes cover the ages from 3-18, with the Primary Years Programme introducing an inquiry-based approach to learning as a foundation. The Middle Years Programme builds on this platform while introducing the study of more discrete disciplines. The Diploma Programme prepares students for tertiary education but also equips them to flourish in institutions that are often in a country other than that in which they sit their Diploma examinations.


Much energy is invested in ensuring that assessment is valid and useful throughout the programmes.  Standards are recognized as being high but also consistent: in 1993, the IBDP and ‘A’ Level pass rates were level at just over 80%. In 2014, IBDP results remained roughly unchanged at 79% whereas ‘A’ levels had hit 98%. This consistency stems in part from the fact that final IB exams are moderated, corrected and graded centrally by the IBO in the DP and, from 2016, in the MYP.

Primary Years Programme (PYP)

The PYP is tailored for children from the age of three to eleven. Its purpose is to foster the development of inquirers who are curious about the world within and outwith their classrooms. It affords teachers the opportunity to cater to the pedagogical and emotional needs of young people and impels the latter to begin to take responsibility for their own learning. Key to this is the formation of positive personal values and an openness to international perspectives.

Children study Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Arts and Physical, Social and Personal Education. Across these domains, interdisciplinary themes are investigated to allow the study of issues that are relevant on both a local and a global level. 

Middle Years Programme (MYP)

The MYP is targeted at adolescents from the age of 11 to 16. The focus here is on enhancing critical, creative and reflective thinking. The programme prioritises intellectual challenge and requires that students begin to make credible and more profound links between their academic learning and real world application of knowledge. Being able to communicate with and understand others allows for true engagement in the spirit of the Learner Profile.

The MYP links seamlessly with the PYP in order to consolidate shared core values and prepare students for the academic demands of the IBDP, where the stakes are high and students will need to be ready to showcase their learning in a relatively short space of time come exam season.

Eight subject groups form the disciplinary basis of the programme. These are integrated through five global contexts for learning. At SISD, learners will be required to study a minimum of three languages (English, French and/or German, Arabic) as well as Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Arts, Design and Physical and Health Education. 

IB Diploma Programme (IB DP)

The IBDP is a balanced yet academically challenging programme of study that prepares school-leavers to the age of 18 for success in higher education and beyond. It has been conceived with the intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs of learners in mind. The programme is globally recognised by top universities – for example in the US, gaining 30 points out of a possible 45 in the IBDP would exempt students from units or years of study in 89% of colleges.

Students are required to study six subjects, of which three must be at higher level and three at standard level. The first five must include two languages, Individuals and Societies, Sciences and Maths. Students will also need to opt for either an arts subject or an elective from groups 1 to 5. Moreover, they must demonstrate an understanding of Theory of Knowledge, submit an Extended Essay of up to 4000 words and undertake significant Service Learning in the context of Creativity, Action and Service. 
 

IB News for parents

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) organization has created a dedicated web page to help parents understand the different IB programmes in partnership with IB World Schools. Visit the webpage here.