The IB at NIS
The NIS curricular program represents our contract with parents; and we are passionate about our mission and what we do. The IB program nurtures students to be passionate about their learning and to be committed to supporting their communities, regardless of their chosen profession or path. Ultimately it is our goal that students at NIS learn to question their world and to have an opportunity to connect to others – and to empower them to be able to envision the impact they can have on not only their own futures but also on the communities they will serve. We feel the IB programs best supports students to nurture the attributes and skills to embark on this life-long journey.
What is the IB, and why is it important?
As the first International Baccalaureate school in Nagoya, NIS’s track record for delivering a full, three-program IB education for our students puts us at the forefront of IB international schools in the region. But just what is an IB curriculum, and why is it important?
NIS chose the IB curriculum because it aligns closely with our school mission and our vision of how students should be learning. Students who are IB learners are critical thinkers and can solve complex problems. Their curiosity and interests foster a global perspective, and drive their learning in such a way that they are encouraged to not just answer the questions but question the answers. And when they do that, they learn not just what to know but how to learn.
The Benefit of the IB for Students
The IB Programme helps students prepare for a rapidly changing world that they will eventually have to navigate. After all, some of the future career paths our current students take may not even exist yet! Additionally, because an IB education is widely recognized as the standard for international curriculum across the globe, and because the DP in particular is known for being a rigorous preparatory path for colleges, many of our students matriculate into some of the world’s top universities with confidence and passion for continued learning.
So why is an IB education important? Because the world needs students who are problem solvers and who can impact their communities in their own unique ways for the betterment of everyone!
The PYP, MYP and DP
NIS has chosen to frame our curriculum through the three programs of the International Baccalaureate (IB). These three programs (the Primary Years Program, the Middle Years Program and the Diploma Program) represent the world standard for international education. The IB develops critical, creative and reflective thinking, fosters the disposition of international mindedness and nurtures student confidence, self-belief and self-discovery. At its core, the IB curriculum enables students to understand themselves as learners - and as global citizens.
Primary Years Programme (Preschool-Grade 5)
Designed for students aged 3 to 12, the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) offers a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. In the PYP a balance is sought between the acquisition of essential knowledge and skills, the development of conceptual understanding, the demonstration of positive attitudes, and the importance of taking responsible action. In this way, the focus of the primary years at NIS is on the growth of the whole child, encompassing not only the academic needs of the students, but also their social, emotional, physical and cultural development.
Middle Years Programme (Grades 6-10)
Designed for students aged 11 to 16 (grades 6 to 10), the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. It builds upon the knowledge, skills and attitudes developed in the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and prepares students to meet the academic challenges of the IB Diploma Programme (DP). The MYP’s focus on independent learning makes it the ideal preparation for further study. Learning in the MYP fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement—essential qualities for young people who are becoming global leaders.
Diploma Programme (Grades 11-12)
The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) is an academically challenging and balanced program of education that prepares students for success at university and life beyond. The DP curriculum is a comprehensive, demanding academic experience that provides a thorough education in a broad range of subjects based on six subject groups surrounding three core requirements: TOK (Theory of Knowledge), EE (Extended Essay) and CAS (Community, Action & Service). Typically taught over two years, the DP has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.
What are the requirements for the IB program?
Since our curricular program at NIS is based on the IB, admission requirements for students to enter the program are the same as entering the school. First and foremost, families interested in NIS must appreciate and understand our mission. Through the admissions process, the school hopes to determine whether or not NIS is the “best-fit” for the student and the family. English level requirements are the same for all admissions candidates, and if needed, students are required to test for proficiency levels. Students who gain admission and enter NIS needing support in EAL (English as an Additional Language) are able to receive that support through differentiated learning in the classroom or with additional support from specialists.
The IB and Inclusion
NIS is an IB World School. What it means to be an IB World School is articulated in the Programme standards and practices. The following practices require schools to demonstrate their support for learning diversity.
- A9. The school supports access for students to the IB programme(s) and philosophy.
- B1:5. The school develops and implements policies and procedures that support the programmes.
- B2:8. The school provides support for its students with learning and/or special educational needs and support for their teachers.
- C1:6. Collaborative planning and reflection incorporates differentiation for students’ learning needs and styles.
- C3:10. Teaching and learning differentiates instruction to meet students’ learning needs and styles.
Inclusion supports the democratic process by teaching through the learner profile so that all students, including those with learning support requirements, are equipped to exercise their rights and accept their responsibilities as citizens in mainstream social life. As detailed in What is an IB education? (2013), IB programs aim to increase access to the curriculum and engagement in learning for all students, and therefore the terms “inclusion” and “inclusive education” refer to a broad understanding that embraces the diversity of all learners and all minority groups.
Inclusion is achieved through a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support and problem solving. “Dynamic learning communities” refers to the whole school community, and any work on developing inclusion should not forget the voices of all learners, their parents and caregivers, support staff and non-teaching staff.
Students are at the center of international education in the IB, with their own learning styles, strengths and challenges. Students aged 3–19 come to school with unique and shared patterns of values, knowledge and experience of the world and their place in it (IBO 2013: 3).
It is the responsibility of the school and the leadership team to put in place processes to remove barriers to learning for every member of the school community. Barriers to learning may be found in the way schools are organized and resourced, their cultures and policies, the approaches to teaching and learning, the physical aspects of buildings and the ways in which individuals within the school community interact with each other.
The four principles of good practice identified by the IB as promoting equal access to the curriculum for all learners are: affirming identity and building self-esteem, valuing prior knowledge, scaffolding and extending learning. Student learning is enhanced when these four principles of good practice are considered in conjunction with the IB approaches to teaching and learning, which are those deliberate strategies, skills and attitudes that permeate the teaching and learning environment. The IB definition of differentiation (IBO 2010: 4) is stated as a way of thinking about teaching and learning; it is a process of identifying with each learner the most effective strategies for achieving agreed goals.
How to get into the IB program at NIS
NIS accepts students throughout the school year, and as an IB school in Nagoya, Japan, it has become a vital institution for families either coming from overseas, or for local families who have an international outlook and desire for their children to study in English within a global perspective.
As the PYP and MYP curriculum are the standard for NIS, students who are enrolled are automatically studying at an international IB school. The IBDP, however, is different in that it requires four full semesters to complete and students must be able to be successful in the curriculum without additional EAL support. Students who wish to enter into the DP must enroll in time to start the Gr. 11 at the beginning of the school year in August.
Regardless of whether the student chooses the IBDP track or the high school diploma track, all students will study the same subjects and have the same CAS (Community, Action, Service) requirements to graduate. Students pursuing the IB diploma will take examinations for all of the subjects they selected, partake in the TOK Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class and submit an Extended Essay (EE).
NIS Student Exam Scores for the IB Diploma Programme
NIS students have done extremely well over 12 years of history with the IB Diploma Programme. Since 2010, over 85% of students at NIS have elected to follow the full IB Diploma Programme, and over 90% of those students have earned the full IB Diploma. Our results have surpassed world averages and we have been proud of exceptional achievements by learners who have achieved at or close to the maximum possible grade of 45 - an incredible and rare achievement. Below are the final scores of the cohorts for the last five years: