Entering the ‘Next Chapter’: All IB Schools face drastic transformation

By: Julia Lee and Hanna Nam, News Writers

Students attending IBO world schools will face complete transformation as they enter into the “Next Chapter” in IB education at the start of the 14-15 school year in order to fix the missing link between subjects and grade levels.

Many of the improvements are focused on the MYP and DP curriculum. From these changes, GSIS strives to make a positive difference in the education of their students. 

MYP Changes

The MYP program will undergo major changes. Mr. Harding, the MYP Coordinator explained, “One of the biggest changes students are going to notice is that every subject will have four criteria. Every course is changing this way. Different names and different strands, but everything will be out of eight.” Currently, Design Technology has six criteria, English has three, science has six and math has four. 

Another notable change is the combining of existing criteria and their names. Mr. Harding described, “Some things are completely going away. In math, instead of ‘Reflection,’ it will be ‘Applying Mathematics to the Real World.’ A completely different name will be given to it.” 

These adjustments will affect each subject differently. Ms. Glau, the Language B Spanish teacher, clarified, “Language Acquisition was already assessing four different criteria and we will continue to assess four different criteria. However, they have slightly changed. Criterion A will be about comprehending spoken and visual text, and Criterion B will cover comprehending written and visual text. Criterion C is about communicating in response to spoken, written and visual text, and finally Criterion D is about using language in spoken and written form.” 

English teacher, Mrs. Pitkin stated, “Next year, there will be a fourth criteria added, and the current three will actually look a little bit different. Now we’ll be grading on Analyzing, Organizing, Producing text and Using language.”

There will also be a change that will impact each subject in the same way. According to Mr. Harding, “The AOI’s will no longer be a part of the MYP program. They are being replaced by something called the “Global Context. What has changed now is that in prior years, the IB said that every subject needs to make sure they hit all the AOI’s and ATL’s throughout the years. Now they are saying the school needs to have all Global context covered. So its not up to one subject to meet them all.”

There are many reasons why these changes are beneficial, and necessary. Humanities teacher, Ms. Muus reasoned, “The areas of interaction have been changed because they are realizing that global context is a little easier to connect with. It’s also easier for different subject areas to create units together. They’re not as vague, and they’re more defined than the the old areas of interaction.” 

Mrs. Pitkin expressed, “I can see how at first, there might be some things that are a little bit confusing. I think that looking at four criteria helps. I noticed that when I was grading a student’s work, they might have done really well on one strand of one criteria, but really poorly 

on another strand of the same criteria. It was hard to know how to score that piece but I think that by breaking it down a little further, students will have a chance to show excellence in finer parts of their writing.”

In preparation for this new change, the teachers have undergone a lot of training. Ms. Muus elaborated, “There was one teacher from every subject area that got sent to training, and I was selected to go for Individuals and Societies (the new course name for Humanities). We spent the whole weekend going over the new changes, and talking about that with other teachers.”

DP Changes

Unlike MYP, the DP program does not undergo many significant changes. 

Future DP coordinator Mr. Thomas explained “The core is staying the same. Extended essay, TOK as a class, CAS hours, and the six subject areas are all staying the same. The combinations of which you can take in order to fulfill the DP requirements will stay the same as well.”

Significant changes will include “updated subject guides, content topics, and the procedure for the Internal Assessment.” 

DP Chemistry and DP Physics teacher, Mr. Montgomery, explained the undergoing change in Science subjects. 

The two required IA’s, or Internal Assessments are changing. One IA will be assessed by a provided topic from the teacher. The second IA will require student’s creativity to create an original lab.

Previously, students received topics from teachers, unable to create original labs based on their personal interest. As a result, IBO changed their IA requirements to students creating and conducting original labs, something that does not “come out from a Google search.” 

There will be more content to cover in DP Science courses, which will allow the teachers to focus more on delivering in depth subject specific content.

MYP and DP Visual Arts teacher, Mrs. Risa Kim, explained the changes in DP Visual Art.

“There will be one IA and one EA. Internal assessment used to be the workbook for most cases, and external has been studio work.” In previous year students could have chosen to have option A (studio) or option B (workbook) externally assessed. 

Mrs. Kim commented, “This is changing for the upcoming 14-15 year Juniors.” 

“Internal assessment will be the studio work. External assessment will be workbook and art analysis. It is the opposite of what we have been doing from previous years. Students will have no choice making the switch.” 

Mrs. Kim further explained these changes are the results from the “advancement of technology.” 

“In previous years when we had our first exhibition, the IB examiner actually came in person to asses student work. They are not doing this anymore. We are sending artwork in photos that are 2D.” 

She further emphasized the increased number of art pieces required for students. “In previous years, there was no maximum or minimum number of art pieces students had to make. Now there is a maximum and minimum.” 

Mrs. Kim stated she will continue to assist students “in the best way I do.”

The upcoming Juniors expressed their positive outlook for DP changes.

Justine Hong responded, “I think all of the changes are really good. I know IB focuses on creativity and individuality. It should be the students that take action to do things not the teachers.” 

Suzy Lee also commented, “I am not amused that the IA’s seem more harder now because it requires originality,but I guess it’s a natural development because it exercises our creativity skills.”

“I don’t have any negative opinions about this,” commented Heather Yang. “The changes they [IBO] are implying are creative. Instead of students just being restricted in a box, the changes in IA’s are helping students to expand their thinking skills.”

These DP changes are to be implied from the beginning of 14-15 school year.  

The school has actively prepared teachers to transition students into the IBO’s Next Chapter. To date, one or more teachers from each department has gone through DP and MYP Next Chapter Training. These teachers, have in turn trained their department members, and a series of teachers are enrolled to have Next Chapter training in September.