The Gold Standard for International Education
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two-year course offered to our Year 12 and 13 students prior to graduation. The IB diploma course is renowned worldwide for its breadth, depth, and rigorous assessment. It equips students with all they need to gain entry into world-class universities and prepares them thoroughly for future challenges.
According to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), “The IBDP aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” The IBO mission closely aligns with YCIS Shanghai’s mission to “raise globally competent and compassionate young people who aspire to, and act for, a better world.”
YCIS Shanghai has chosen the IBDP because it is the gold-standard of international education, it is held in high esteem by employers and universities, and it opens doors worldwide. “IB students are often studying at a level equal to or exceeding their first year of university study. In many cases, they qualify for university credit or scholarships,” says Mr Matthew Grady, IB Diploma Coordinator at YCIS Shanghai, Pudong. “IB graduates are highly sought after by most universities. Successful IB students are committed, well-rounded, and able to work well with others,” Mr Grady adds.
Compared to its alternatives, the IBDP stretches and challenges students of all abilities to become extraordinarily well-rounded learners and thinkers. “The IBDP prepares young people to become the leaders of tomorrow by placing intercultural understanding and moral development at the very heart of their academic learning,” says Mr David Potter, IB Diploma Coordinator at YCIS Shanghai, Puxi. “Full Diploma students are required to complete subjects in the Sciences, Mathematics, Languages, and Social Sciences. Whereas with the AP and A-Level programmes, this may not be mandatory,” adds Mr Grady.
Here is a summary of the advantages of the IB
- IB Students do not need to overspecialise too soon, which means they have more choice and control over their futures and can apply to a wide range of universities and courses. This is ideal for students who have not settled on a particular major and for high-flyers who want to pursue cutting-edge interdisciplinary careers of the future.
- The IB places a large emphasis on collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and research skills, to a much greater extent than a traditional SAT/AP or A-Level route would allow. By continually making links between their learning in different subjects with unique IBDP course components, such as the Extended Essay (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), IB students stretch their thinking and kick-start their academic careers, making their transition to higher education easier.
- Above all, the IB diploma taps into the deep wonder and curiosity inherent in young people, inspiring them to pursue a lifetime of personal inquiry and achievement.
Now, a closer look at three unique components of the IBDP:
What is the Extended Essay (EE)?
The EE is a critical component of the IBDP. The overall learning outcomes further develop students’ knowledge, skills, abilities, and other academic aspects that prepare them for the rigours of university studies. In educational research studies, students who undertook the EE indicated higher ratings of aspects of inquiry learning that represent self-regulation in the inquiry process. On average, IB students were less likely to view learning as memorisation of information. Students felt more prepared for college-level coursework involving research, intended to conduct future research, and found their research skills to be important to future success.
What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
TOK is one of the three core elements undertaken by all IB students. Students are encouraged to explore and reflect on the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing. TOK encourages students to be more aware of their assumptions and perspectives, to consider the diversity and richness of different perspectives, and to think deeply and carefully about complicated issues. It prepares them to be critical thinkers: about themselves, their cultures of thinking, and how they position themselves and others in the globalised world.
What is Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)?
IBO has made CAS a fundamental part of its curriculum. During CAS, students continue to develop individual and shared responsibility, and effective teamwork and collaboration. Through CAS, students develop skills, attitudes, and dispositions that provide them with opportunities to explore their interests and express their passions, personalities, and perspectives. CAS prepares students to participate in, and contribute to, the international community by fostering the development of values and attitudes that transcend issues of politics, religion, class, race and gender. In short, CAS is designed to aid students in becoming better people, more active and committed citizens, and future leaders working to create a better world.
At YCIS Shanghai, over 50% of our students achieve the bilingual IB diploma each year, which is more than twice the world average across all IB schools. A bilingual diploma means that students are completing both the English and Chinese courses as a first language, which is an extraordinary achievement. “This is very well recognised by universities, especially if a student is interested in a degree programme that involves some aspect of global engagement. It also indicates that the student is a strong communicator, culturally sensitive, and aware,” says Mr Grady. “This is a tremendous achievement and a result of YCIS Shanghai’s ‘commitment to equipping our graduates with a deep respect for and understanding of world cultures, mastery of Chinese and English, plus proficiency in other modern languages’, as stated in our Mission, Principles and Practices,” adds Mr Potter.
YCIS Shanghai nurtures students as individuals. We believe that anyone can become a better learner and far exceed expectations if given the right environment and support. That is why in our school the IBDP is non-selective, and all students follow this programme, which allows them to benefit from the numerous advantages of graduating from YCIS. After extensive consultation with our coordinators, teachers and University Guidance Office counsellors, all of our Upper Secondary students choose their courses, ensuring their programme is just right for them and aligned with their future goals. At YCIS Shanghai, success is not only linked to academics, but also to commitment, the pursuit of passions, character development, and giving back to others.
Watch the videos below to hear from YCIS Shanghai Class of 2020 students Shu Min and Seonaid, who both received perfect scores of 45 out of 45 in last year’s IBDP.