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Middle Years Programme Curriculum Overview (Grade 6 – 10)

Curriculum Outline

The Middle Years Programme spans grades six to ten, (MYP1-5) which includes grades 6-8 in Middle School and Grades 9 and 10 in High School. In the MYP we build on the inquiry-based learning that takes place in the Primary Years Program and prepare students for the challenges, which lie ahead in the IB Diploma. The International Baccalaureate’s MYP is a curriculum framework that allows schools to adapt their content to best meet the needs of their learners in the local context. You can also find out more about the MYP and other IB Programmes by clicking here and visiting the IBO Official Website.

The program is designed to:

  • be age appropriate
  • be rigorous, skills-driven and academically demanding, for example, in the graduating year, students complete a sustained personal investigation
  • promote the mastery of approaches to learning, a skill set to guide independent inquiry
  • develop self-awareness through opportunities for continuous reflection
  • encourage involvement in meaningful community and service
  • promote global citizenship and a sense of international mindedness
  • help students take informed decisions and exercise sound judgment in many contexts
  • help students lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle
  • give students the opportunity to develop their creativity, power of expression and individuality

Our teachers offer a variety of teaching and learning methodologies and we actively promote the sharing of ‘good practice’ through whole school initiatives and via formal and informal channels. We encourage the students to become intellectual risk takers and believe that they should be supported when they do so. The learning experience at BCIS aims to produce a climate where students can discover how they learn best in different contexts.


BCIS offers the following subjects:

  • Arts
  1. 1.Performing Arts: Drama and Music
  2. 2.Visual Art
  • Humanities
  1. 1.Which branches into History and Geography in grades 9 and 10
  • Language A
  1. 1.English
  2. 2.Chinese
  3. 3.Korean
  • Language B at foundation, standard and advanced levels
  1. 1.English
  2. 2.Chinese
  3. 3.Spanish
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Technology

Assessment & Reporting

  • Providing feedback on the learning process
  • Using the findings from ongoing and final assessed work to inform, enhance and improve the teaching process
  • Promoting positive student attitudes towards learning
  • Promoting a deep understanding of subject content by supporting students in their inquiries set in real-world contexts using the areas of interaction
  • Promoting the development of higher-order, cognitive skills by providing rigorous objectives that value these skills
  • Reflecting the international-mindedness of the program and allowing for assessments to be set in a variety of cultural and linguistic contexts

MYP Assessment Characteristics

  • The assessments in grades 6-10 are best described as being internal as opposed to external because the tasks, strategies and tools are designed, developed and applied by our teachers here at BCIS
  • There is no external assessment or examination of any kind
  • The IB (International Baccalaureate) believes that teachers are best placed to assess the
  • Work of their students and the assessment model supports the professional judgment
  • of the teacher in deciding the levels of achievement of individual students
  • The MYP assessment model is criterion-related as it is based upon pre-determined
  • Written criteria that the students and their parents have access to. (Please see the BCIS
  • Assessment Guide attached to this page)  The work and progress of each student is
  • Measured against the written criteria descriptors for each subject.
  • Students are never judged directly against the work of their classmates

Reporting to Students and Parents

The reporting system G6-10 is designed to give accurate and frequent feedback to the students and parents. The sequence is as follows:

Semester 1

  • A Parent Teacher Conference is held midway through the semester which gives parents and caregivers the opportunity to see how far each student is making academic progress by accessing formative (ongoing) and summative (larger culminating) assessment tasks. The tasks and student grades are posted on ManageBac.
  • At the end of the semester each student recevies a full subject report, which includes the major assessment tasks, the student's achievement levels, the accompanying grades and detailed teacher comments. This report is designed to inform each individual student about their next steps to effective learning. Every MYP student must also complete a self-reflection where they analyze their study habits, approaches to learning and set personal goals for achievement in the second semester.
  • Students in Grade 10 co-write their Personal Project reflection with their Supervisor.

Semester 2

  •                                   A Student-led Conference is held midway through semester two which gives the student the opportunity to reflect on their progress with regard to the subject-based knowledge, deepening conceptual understanding, skills development and attitudes to learning in each discipline.
  •                                     The end of semester report includes a full subject report complete with reference to major assessment tasks, achievement levels and grades as well as detailed teacher comments. Included in this reporting packet is a student reflection of their achievements and the improvements they have made with their study skills and work habits during the second semester.


Since the start of the 2011-2012 academic year we have been using ManageBac, which provides ongoing access to student grades, as well as key information about the teaching and learning focus of each unit of study across the eight MYP subject groups.


Areas of Interaction

The Areas of Interaction are central in helping students connect classroom based learning to the outside world,

  • They provide settings or contexts to guide teaching and learning
  • They help students see the interrelated nature of knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes across the subject disciplines and they can be used as an aid to transdisciplinary teaching and learning
  • They help students and teachers connect the local with the global, engaging the learner in environmental, health and community issues
  • They provide a framework for student inquiry where increased awareness can lead to a deepening of understanding providing further opportunities to reflect and take action
  • They give a unit focus and provide a lens to view the learning in a purposeful way. When a student asks the question why are we studying x or what’s the point in doing y, the Area of Interaction can help the teacher explain the rationale underpinning the topic or theme in question
  • They can lead students from academic knowledge to thoughtful action helping students to develop positive attitudes and a sense of personal and social responsibility

The areas of interaction are found in the classroom, during pastoral, on field trips like Experience China Week and in transdisciplinary teaching and learning opportunities such as the Murmurs of the Earth Project in June 2012.

How do the areas of Interaction promote student-led inquiry?

Community and Service: A student’s inquiry may be guided by a desire to explore anything from the reasons why communities exist, the values underpinning them, personal roles and responsibilities through membership and how groups or individuals can make a positive difference through service-based action. Whether the student is raising awareness, deepening understanding, reflecting or taking positive action will depend on the nature of the work that’s undertaken.

Community and Service


Environments: Students may address how natural, built and virtual environments operate, their interdependence, why environments face challenges and why they might need improving. Students will also explore their responsibilities towards environments and consider difficult questions such as, what sacrifices am I prepared to make to protect them?



Health and Social: This emphasizes health issues in society, why people live as they do in terms of their choices and relationships, and how students can make sensible choices leading to healthy development of the individual and constructive interaction with others. Whether raising awareness to understand health and social issues, building an understanding of how to look after yourself and others, or reflecting to make informed choices will entirely depend on the individual inquiry.

Health and Social


Human Ingenuity: Student-led inquiry may focus on the importance of understanding systems, processes, solutions and products and how the creative genius can solve problems and help improve the human condition. Students may wish to explore the responsibilities they have when they make changes.

Human Ingenuity


Approaches to Learning: Here the focus is on how people learn and the variety of ways that people learn differently. Students may concentrate on teaching themselves and others, and encouraging their or other’s skill development in a particular inquiry.

Approaches to Learning

The Learning Environment

Our teachers offer a variety of teaching and learning methodologies and we actively promote the sharing of ‘good practice’ through whole school initiatives and via formal and informal channels. We encourage the students to become intellectual risk takers and believe that they should be supported when they do so. The learning experience at BCIS aims to produce a climate where students can discover how they learn best in different contexts.

The Learner Profile

This is a set of values that defines the attributes of an internationally minded individual. It permeates the very heart of all IBO World Schools such as BCIS and the values of the Learner Profile are embedded in our mission, and built into the very fabric of our policies.

The Learner Profile acts as an ethical and civic benchmark for the school community, it encourages us to lead by example and feeds intrinsic motivation.

The IB learner profile encourages us to be Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective

The Learner Profile can be explicitly taught or experienced in a more implicit way through our opportunities to engage with one another.

The MYP emphasizes the development of the whole learner, (affective, cognitive, creative and physical). At BCIS we believe that learning is not just about what occurs in the classroom, and the inherent value and spirit of the program is also very strongly reflected in the range of activities complimenting our academic studies. This combination is what gives the learner a fuller more rounded experience at Beijing City International School.

The Fundamental Concepts

The Fundamental Concepts are most obviously, but not exclusively, found in the classroom, they are built into our subject objectives; they guide unit design, drive lesson plans and are delivered through the taught curriculum. They are also firmly embedded in our homeroom program, extra-curricular activities, theme days, community celebrations and during field trips.

Students actively apply the skills, values and attitudes inherent in the Fundamental Concepts when they are communicating, collaborating, problem solving, creating and reflecting.

There are three Fundamental Concepts - Intellectual Awareness, Holistic Learning, and Communication.

Intercultural Awareness

This concept is concerned with developing students’ attitudes, knowledge and skills as they learn about their own and others’ social and national cultures. Developing a spirit of cultural awareness not only fosters tolerance and respect but leads to greater empathy and understanding.

Our aim is to encourage an outlook characterized by openness and engagement with the world. Internationally minded individuals are curious and knowledgeable about their community, culture and world and have an understanding about not only makes us different but also what we have in common. While they have a rich sense of identity, they show understanding and empathy for those different from themselves and a genuine interest in learning from them.

We want our students to develop the intercultural skills to engage in meaningful dialogue with people from different cultures and work effectively with them in order to achieve their common goals. We want our students to be sensitive to our common humanity, and believe that they can make a difference and have the courage to take principled action to improve the world.

Ideas, courtesy of Richard van de Lagemaat, (In-thinking Workshop), Barcelona, September 2009.

Holistic Education

Holistic education is about the whole person and at BCIS our prime concern is to promote a safe and secure learning environment that supports each individual’s personal well-being. Through personal attention and a caring atmosphere our students will be better equipped to overcome their fears and limitations; they will find it easier to identify with others and more compassionate about the world around them. The MYP requires an approach to teaching and learning which includes and extends traditional school subjects. The program emphasizes the disciplined study of traditional subject groups, for example, the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, physical education, mathematics and technology. However, the areas of interaction provide the MYP’s main focus for developing links between and within the disciplines, so that students will learn to see knowledge as an interrelated whole. As well as transferring knowledge across the subject domains we also encourage students to apply their skills in a similar fashion. We live in a fast-paced, constantly changing society and students need to be able to see the connections, deal with complex problems and find new solutions to the challenges that lay ahead.


The MYP stresses the central importance of communication, verbal and non-verbal, as a vehicle to realize the aims of the program. A good command of expression in all its forms is fundamental to learning. In most MYP subject groups, communication is a key objective and assessment criterion, as it supports understanding and allows student reflection and expression.

The IBO places particular emphasis on language acquisition, which does more than promote cognitive growth, it is crucial for maintaining cultural identity, personal development and intercultural understanding.

Our Commitment to Community and Service

As a starting point we encourage the students to deepen their understanding of and assume responsibility towards their own communities. Communities are built on the communication of their members and BCIS aims to promote an open atmosphere forged through dialogue and conversation.

We value and strive to create an inclusive community that not only helps us to understand and respect our differences but also reinforces what we have in common.

MYP Community and Service Handbook

What does it involve?

Community and Service can involve activities that:

  • nourish the school spirit and our sense of collective identity
  • involve representing the school
  • directly support the needs of others in our immediate community
  • help us connect with the wider community and bridge cultural, generational and social gaps

What’s encouraged?

Students are encouraged reflect on questions such as the following:

  • What are my responsibilities?
  • How can I get involved?
  • When should I respond to the needs of others?
  • How can I come up with solutions to resolve issues within communities?

What are the expectations?

  • To participate and on occasion lead individual or group based community and service activities
  • To keep a journal to reflect on personal involvement in and leadership of community and service initiatives
  • In Grades 9 and 10 to complete an exit interview where the student demonstrates their engagement with the activities and how they have personally developed throughout the duration of the service activity
The Personal Project

Students are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity in all the stages of the investigation from the moment they choose their topic through to the culminating public exhibition of their finished product. The process of investigation is considered to be just as important as the product itself and the Personal Project presents an opportunity to find novel solutions, to be creative and to discover new things through reflection. The project must include a personal appreciation of the areas of interaction and the application of skills acquired through the approaches to learning.

It builds upon the exhibition from the Primary Years Programme and is excellent preparation for the extended essay on the IB Diploma giving the students grounding in research methodology.

For further information please see the attachments entitled First Steps and the Student Guide to the Personal Project.


Personal Project Guide 2013-2014

Academic Honesty

The IBO promotes academic honesty throughout all its three programmes. This is a set of values that promotes personal integrity and good practices in learning and assessment, and in the MYP is part of approaches to learning. As a school community, BCIS fully expects all teachers, students and families to encourage good practices. Please refer to the BCIS Student/Parent Handbook.

Academic Honesty Introduction


Homework is an area addressed in ATL by all subjects. The students are taught how to develop strategies to become better organized and more efficient in their use of time in general, but this is also extended to Homework. A homework schedule has been created, allowing all subjects to issue homework assignments when appropriate. Homework assignments will be issued to support class work, but not to supplement class work.



BCIS is accredited by the CIS (Council of International Schools) and WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), which demonstrates that the school meets demanding international standards in all the areas of philosophy and objectives, curriculum, governance and management, staff, student support services, resources, and student and community life.Visit www.cois.org and www.acswasc.org for more information.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. The three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, IBO currently works with 2,771 schools in 138 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 763,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.Visit www.ibo.org for more information.

We live by a spirit of inspiring others, achieving ones goals and creating a better world.

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