IB Diploma Programme update
By Lindy Braithwaite, Senior Studies Coordinator
Preparations are now in full swing as we move closer to our IBDP authorization assessment in 2018 by an International Baccalaureate compliance team. These preparations are not unlike a registration process, where every facet of the College will be reviewed to ensure that we are equipped and ready to deliver the IB Diploma – a rigorous process
Understandably, the IB wishes to ensure that the reputation it enjoys is maintained. Some examples of the areas that will be assessed include:
• facilities – dimensions and adequacy of learning spaces, access to learning resources and even our ability to have exam tables a required minimum distance apart;
• policies and procedures – academic, special needs, behaviour, safety, wellbeing, amongst others;
• teacher training and collaboration- to ensure curriculum is not delivered in isolation;
• an international mindset – local, national and international engagement.
To date, 13 teachers have attended specialized subject training in the IB DP, with more training to come. In the most part, these teachers have completed this training on their weekends or in their holidays, and they are optimistic about its delivery. The training has allowed them to familiarise themselves with the curriculum, map it compared to the ACT curriculum, and begin planning documents for possible delivery in 2019 or 2020. In addition to this, they have had the opportunity to form invaluable networks with other teachers of this curriculum in the ACT, Australia and the Asia region, which will allow them to benchmark and share resources to best prepare our students to achieve excellence.
In addition, there are a number of strategies being developed to allow all students in the senior school to gain from the IB DP option. A theme that has come through feedback from all stakeholders is the desire to maintain the cohesiveness of our student community. We want IB DP to be another option alongside our two current options of a Year 12 ACT Certificate and the ATAR, not an option that divides. As communicated previously, each student will be counselled, as they are now, as to which option would suit them best to provide a meaningful, rich pathway beyond school. We do not value one option over another, and hope the IB DP will have benefits to the whole student population, as it has, reported anecdotally, in other schools both public and independent.
We are strengthening our post-secondary education ties. Our Head of Student Pathways will gain additional training to enhance the information available for international university applications, and our ‘local’ Universities have all communicated the high value they place on the IB DP, several with early entry schemes. The ANU supported this with an excerpt of an internal report (reproduced with permission):
“For 2016/2017, ANU ran a pilot International Baccalaureate (IB) Early Entry Scheme (IBEES)”…”The IBEES aligns with the ANU by 2020 (strategic plan) which envisioned a high-quality education which attracts a student community of inspired students from diverse backgrounds. The IBEES looks to assist in achieving the goals of attracting a high-achieving and inspired student population; supporting student access to the ANU; supporting and meeting the needs of a diverse student population.” and forwarded two recent research papers titled ‘Perceptions of the IB in Ontario Universities’ by Saira Fitzgerald (Carleton University) published in the Canadian Journal of Education 2015 and ‘College Readiness and the International Baccalaureate Program’ by Krysta Larson and Faith Kurtyka (Creighton University) published in English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English, USA) 2017. Both reported the IBDP favourably.
In other areas, we hope to appoint a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Coordinator soon, who will begin work towards augmenting the link between service and academic pursuits. And, in January, we will be hosting an IB workshop focused on teaching Theory of Knowledge in subject disciplines and fostering collaboration of stakeholders across all areas of a student’s education.
Making sure you become more familiar with the IB DP is high on our agenda. Planned towards the end of 2017 is a student workshop session for Years 8 and 9, so that they better understand the IBDP as an option and have the opportunity to ask questions. For parents (and students), on 21 February 2018 we will hold a more in-depth information session and small group Q & A which will include graduate student ambassadors. We will ask students to self-nominate interest soon (without strings attached) and then have preparatory sessions over 2018. Information booklets on the various facets of the Core and DP are currently being developed and will be available mid-2018. As part of this, I hope to include a comparison table of the three package options that are anticipated to be available in the senior school, which will hopefully be more helpful than the Iphone X v Iphone 8, to use as a tool for family discussions.
In the meantime, the PowerPoint (with audio) is still available on the ROL dashboard, under Academic tab – in the Secondary School Academic Documents (Information for parents of students currently in Year 8 and 9 2017) to give a basic overview, and you are very welcome to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are parent of a Year 8 or 9 student and are interested in the IB DP for your child, I will shortly be seeking your assistance in the authorization process, look out for an email in the near future.