What is the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program?

Instructor: Shelby Golden
If you're interested in learning about a unique interdisciplinary program of study for your middle school student, check out this article to explore the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. You'll find out who can take part in this program and what it teaches.

About the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an educational organization offering specialized curricula that focus on developing students' academic and personal skills. Its Middle Years Program (MYP) is for students who are 11-16 years old. It can be completed over the course of 5 years, or students can take part in shortened programs that last from 2-4 years.

There are various IB-approved public and private schools in the United States that offer the MYP to students who are interested in pursuing this educational track. It is not necessary for students to complete the Primary Years Program before they enroll in the MYP. A directory of schools offering this curriculum is available on the IB website (www.ibo.org).

Middle Years Program Curriculum

Students in the program focus on studying 8 different subject groups. They spend at least 50 hours per year on each of the following areas:

  • Language acquisition instruction is designed to help students improve their communication skills in two or more languages.
  • Language and literature instruction develops students' writing, listening and speaking skills as well as their ability to think critically about what they read.
  • Science instruction gives students the opportunity to learn about the processes involved in scientific experimentation through the study of environmental, life, physical, sport, health and Earth sciences.
  • Art and design instruction addresses student creativity by offering training in a variety of visual and performing arts, such as digital design, media, drama and dance.
  • Physical and health education instruction pays special attention to team and individual sports as well as other physical activities in an effort to teach students the importance of physical health and wellness.
  • Individuals and societies instruction helps students draw connections between topics of study in the humanities and social studies disciplines, such as history, philosophy and civics.
  • Math instruction is all about developing students' ability to apply problem-solving skills used in the areas of algebra, trigonometry and geometry, among others.

Students also complete one interdisciplinary unit, giving them the chance to synthesize what they are learning by studying two different subject groups at the same time. There are also several long-term personal and community-based projects that students work on over the course of the program.

Middle Years Program Assessments

IB is changing the way teachers assess student progress in 2016. Going forward, they will apply continuous assessments to ensure students are getting the most out of the program. This will involve the administration of various tasks that can include exams, debates, experiments and activities that focus on problem solving.

The IB will also moderate the completion of students' personal projects. Additionally, school administrators can choose to have students complete optional external assessments to better measure their progress and help them earn them an MYP certificate.

Extra Help for the Middle Years Program

Study.com offers online courses that can help kids review what they're learning in the MYP program on their own time. They can complete fun quizzes that give them extra practice with classroom skills. They'll also get access to instructors who can provide help if they have trouble understanding a particular concept. Students can get the help they need with:

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