Here’s our guide to the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, what it means and where to find IB Schools in Singapore in 2020!
Heard about ‘IB’ but no idea what it stands for, or what it really means? International Baccalaureate (IB) is an educational programme that fosters creativity and imagination. We discuss what sets IB apart, its unique benefits, and whether it’s a good fit for your child. Let’s break it down! And for comparison’s sake, you can always check out our Ultimate Guide to Montessori in Singapore and our comprehensive Guide to the Best Preschools in Singapore!
What is IB?
Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) offers high quality, challenging educational programmes at three different levels in Singapore: the IB Diploma Programme (DP), for students aged 16 to 19; the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students aged 11 to 16; and the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students aged 3 to 12.
IB is renowned for its high academic standards and helping to develop truly global, 21st century citizens. The curriculum places great emphasis on creativity and imagination. Students are encouraged to take a truly global view in every sense: learning is about considering the nature of human thought and developing the skills not just to remember facts, but to analyse one’s own thinking and effort.
So what sets IB apart?
At the heart of the curriculum are the principles of inquiry, action and reflection. All the while, students develop core skills for thinking, working with others, communicating, self-management and research. So basically, the skills you need not just to succeed in school, but in life!
To that end, the culminating IB Diploma Programme (DP) is academically challenging and balanced, with final exams that prepare students for success at university and beyond. Many schools in Singapore pride themselves on their outstanding IB results. Of course, it all starts with the PYP, which focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, not just in the classroom, but in the outside world a well. We all know kiddos ask lots of questions; the IB PYP plays to that strength with its powerful emphasis on inquiry.
Meanwhile, it’s in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) that the IB framework encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers, with a real emphasis on intellectual challenge. Kids at this stage start making really powerful connections between their studies and real-world subjects, all the while boosting their communication skills, intercultural understanding, and global engagement.
In short, IB is a perfect fit for students in a globalist, multi-cultural environment like Singapore! It’s also very transferable if you make an international move, given its truly global reach.
What are IB’s unique benefits?
- IB encourages both personal and academic achievement
- In IB programmes, students learn how to learn (hint: it’s not with lots of memorisation!)
- IB programmes encourage students of all ages to consider both local and global contexts
- IB programmes develop multilingual students
- IB programmes are developed independently of government and national systems, instead incorporating best practices from research across a global community of schools
Finally, IB schools are particularly known for producing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people. That’s not to say kids in other curricula can’t fit that bill, but there’s a real care and emphasis placed on this outcome, to which we say, Bravo!
Understanding IB Results
The IB progamme involves taking six subjects (three at higher level and three at standard level) over two years. Assessment is based on a combination of final examinations and course work. Each subject is scored from 1-7, and up to 3 additional points may be awarded for TOK (Theory of Knowledge) essays and for the Extended Essay. A minimum of 24 points is required to obtain the IB diploma while 45 points is the maximum. The world average IB pass rate is approximately 82% and the world average points as of 2020 is 29.92.
IB Schools in Singapore
We round up the various international IB schools in Singapore at the early years, primary and secondary levels across Singapore. On the local school front, Anglo Chinese School (ACS) International Singapore, Hwa Chong International and SJI International all offer the IB Diploma at the secondary level.
Overseas Family School’s highly-acclaimed International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programs (IB MYP and IB DP) immerse students in a wide range of stimulating course offerings designed to help them make practical connections between their learning and the outside world.
IB Results: With a 96% pass rate and average score of 35 points, OFS has produced students scoring a perfect 45 points for 6 years running and its results well surpass world averages (29.90 this year!). 25% of the diplomas awarded this year were also prestigious IB Bilingual Diplomas, reflecting the exceptional language resources and support available at OFS. OFS’ IB results are even more remarkable in light of its inclusive, open-entry admissions and exams policies. OFS students are not preselected into the Diploma program because they believe that every student can succeed. Any student who wishes to pursue the IB Diploma program is allowed and encouraged to do so.
Tanglin is unique amongst schools in Singapore in offering students the choice of both A Levels and the IB Diploma at Sixth Form (Years 12 and 13). Offering both pathways means they can cater for both kinds of students: the ones who know exactly what they want to study at university and is thus able to specialise by taking A Levels, as well as the more typical student who is not sure of a career path at the age of 16 and is encouraged therefore to maintain the breadth and variety of the IB Diploma. All of Tanglin’s Sixth Formers thereby study a programme that is tailored both to the subjects they are passionate about and to the style of learning that most suits them, ensuring they thrive and flourish. Tanglin provides a series of pathways talks where students and parents are supported as they make the decision about whether to follow the IB or A level programme.
IB Results: In 2020, Tanglin students’ averaged an amazing 39.1 for the IB Diploma, with 98% scoring 32 points or higher and a 100% pass rate. Tanglin’s average IB Diploma score of 38.2 over the past six years has contributed to the school’s excellent academic reputation.
“Tanglin has given me the best foundation and motivation for my next chapter whilst giving me incredible friends, and unimaginable sports and academic experiences.”
– Grace, Head Team and IB Diploma student, 2020 cohort
As an IB World School since 2004, Chatsworth International School offers the three IB core programs – PYP, MYP and DP in which students gain a balanced and individualised education whilst developing international-mindedness. From academics to arts to sports to service learning, Chatsworth offers a challenging academic and well-rounded experience and inspires students to bring out their best selves. Their Middle School students (Year 11) are awarded the IB MYP certificate on successful completion of the eAssessment (Chatsworth is one of few schools in Singapore where students sit for the full MYP eAssessment, an IB assessment model that helps achieve greater student outcomes).
IB Results: Chatsworth graduates have achieved exceptional IB Diploma results – 100% pass rate and an average of 36 points in both 2020 and 2019! The school consistently scores well above the world average year-on-year.
Chatsworth International School, 72 Bukit Tinggi Road, Singapore 289760, Tel: (+65) 6463 3201, www.chatsworth.com.sg
Established in 1972, DCIS is an inclusive school with a British background that caters to approximately 1,750 students aged 3 to 18. DCIS is an IB World School that teaches the English National Curriculum, International Primary Curriculum, IGCSE, IB, ASDAN and vocational BTEC. There’s also a wide range of IB courses available, with small class sizes and a high student-teacher ratio for personalised learning. Students will be exposed to leadership opportunities and the chance to be a part of Nord Anglia Education collaborations with UNICEF, Juilliard and MIT! Applications will be open in November for the 2021-2023 cohort, and two-year scholarships are available for Year 12 2021 cohort. Applications close on 1 February 2021.
IB Results: The 2020 cohort has an average score of 37 and high score of 44.
Dulwich College (Singapore) has a substantial student agency focus with regards to independent learning and reflection, and student action and initiatives through the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. The core focus of this CAS programme is to nurture and develop responsible global citizens who place international-mindedness at the forefront of the decisions they make. At the core of their approach to the IBDP is personalised pathways for each and every individual student. Every student in the Dulwich 2020 student cohort achieved a place in their first choice of university! Students are very well supported in university and careers counselling and programming throughout the Senior School and support is very specifically focused and personalised in Years 12 and 13. There is also an integrated pastoral approach to support wellbeing through individual coaching, counsellor support and focused age-appropriate wellbeing workshops.
IB Results: The school boasts a 100% IB pass rate and average score of 37 (compared to global average of 29.9).
Dulwich College (Singapore), 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, Singapore, 658966, Tel: (+65) 6890 1000, singapore.dulwich.org
GIIS, a nextgen school with outstanding facilities and powerful pedagogy, offers complete international curricula to its students from Kindergarten till Grade 12. The primary grades from 1 to 5 enjoy the IB PYP curriculum in a versatile learning environment under the guidance of IB Certified teachers. Students are offered a global outlook to education and encouraged to enhance their spirit of inquiry through state-of-the-art skill-based studios and a multitude of activities aimed at their holistic development. The PYP curriculum is offered at both its campuses in Singapore – SMART Campus Punggol and East Coast Campus at Cheviot Hill. GIIS SMART Campus students for Grades 11 and 12 students are offered IB Diploma Programme.
IB Results: In the past ten years, the school has produced an impressive 17 world toppers (who’ve scored a perfect 45/45), 28 Near Perfect Scorers to date and a school average of 37.35 in 2020 which is well above the Singapore average DP score of 34.52. GIIS is one of the few schools in Singapore that offers remarkable IB education at a very moderate fee which is 40% lower than any other international school in Singapore.
GIIS SMART Campus, 27 Punggol Field Walk, Singapore 828649, singapore.globalindianschool.org
As an IB World School and Singapore’s longest established International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum School, ISS International School Singapore offers an IB-based academic curriculum incorporating its bespoke education philosophy. Teachers adapt their curriculum delivery based on what they observe is the way students learn best. From the IB PYP to the five-year MYP which ends with IB-validated eAssessment grades based on final examinations and coursework, students will be fully equipped with the skills and experience necessary to succeed in the IB Diploma, university and beyond. This readiness is best achieved within the IB Continuum, without deviating in and out of other curricula that are not affiliated with the IB. They’ve also started the ISS Learning Accelerator initiative – an inclusive and holistic system designed by ISS teachers to enhance learning for all students K-12 by creating personalised approaches that address individual student needs. It supports students in using research methodology to identify learning needs and to design detailed interventions to support students in enhancing their academic, social and emotional learning.
IB Results: In 2020, ISS celebrated a top score of 42 points, an average score of 32.4 (worldwide average: 29.9) and a pass rate of 96.4% (global average: 79.1%). The international and language diversity of the ISS student body is highlighted in 72.5% of their Diploma students achieving a Bilingual Diploma – nearly three times the global average!
One World International School (OWIS) offers a unique, personalised approach to IB PYP to students from ages 3 to 18. Their individualised teaching methods and continuous assessment opportunities help to mold young minds into inquisitive thinkers, passionate learners, and confident citizens. The IB Diploma Programme that they offer aligns with their vision and mission of nurturing all aspects of students’ development — intellectual, physical, emotional and social — so they are prepared to become well-rounded leaders. The PYP encourages an integrated, trans-disciplinary approach to learning, allowing students to make connections across a variety of subjects and develop an internationally-minded approach. OWIS offers an internationally recognised curriculum such as the IB for students at an equitable fee with an emphasis on values, collaboration, creativity and service to others. With a student body represented by over 70 nationalities, students have ample opportunities to experience diversity in an authentic context and become true global citizens!
SJI International offers the IB Diploma Programme for Grades 11 to 12. The attributes of the IB Learner profile underpin much of the teaching and learning throughout SJI International with a desire to develop curious, independent and confident learners. The most important principle within the school’s educational philosophy is that of active learning. This involves a wide range of activities within the programme which will vary according to the subject: research, role plays, simulations, thinking exercises, decision-making exercises, debates, presentations and more. These provide a stimulating educational environment that’s intellectually challenging for students. Values, education and character-building are achieved through a range of challenging activities in sports, adventure and creativity, with a special emphasis on service, featuring weekly service activities and overseas projects that help students connect with and serve the local and global community. Many of SJI International’s graduates have continued their studies at top universities around the world. They also have a scholarship programme that draws outstanding IB students, enabling them to benefit from the school’s holistic education regardless of their financial means, and at the same time enriching the school community.
IB Results: the 2019 cohort achieved an average score of 37.7 points with a 96.8% pass rate. 38.1 % of our students achieved 40 points or more, a result only achieved by around 9.8% of students worldwide (May 2019). 19% of the Class of 2019 achieved 42 points or more.
SJI International, 490 Thomson Road, Singapore 298191, 6353 9383, [email protected], www.sji-international.com.sg/academics/examination-results
Other schools in Singapore that offer the IB curriculum at the Primary or Secondary level include:
Australian International School
Canadian International School
EtonHouse International School
GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
German European School Singapore
Hillside World Academy
International School Singapore
Nexus International School (Singapore)
Stamford American International School
For more info, you can also visit the International Baccalaureate Office in Singapore; check out their website for lots of handy resources!
Lead image, image #1 and image #2 sourced via Getty; all other images courtesy of the respective schools