What do students learn at OIS?
Six broad transdisciplinary themes provide the framework around which our curriculum is organized to ensure structured inquiry and the construction of knowledge. The six themes are part of the common ground that unifies the curriculums in all PYP schools across the world. These themes are:
- Who We Are
- Where We Are in Place and Time
- How We Express Ourselves
- How the World Works
- How We Organize Ourselves
- Sharing the Planet
All six themes are covered in each grade level from KB to grade 5. In KA, four themes are covered including Who We Are and How We Express Ourselves. Teachers collaboratively design units of inquiry for each theme. Through this process, students develop an understanding of important concepts, acquire essential skills and knowledge, develop particular attitudes and learn to take socially responsible action. ‘Transdisciplinary’ refers to each theme’s application across subject areas. In this way learning is realistic and authentic.
Teachers use IB curriculum documents called ‘Scope and Sequences’ which outline expectations for students at different stages of development in each of the following subjects taught at OIS: maths, language, science, social studies, PSPE (personal, social and physical education), and the arts (music and art).
In the spirit of internationalism, students are required to learn a second language in addition to the language of instruction of the school.
How are students at OIS assessed?
Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including tests, projects and oral presentations. Assessment is integral to the learning process, and students are made aware of expectations from the initial stages of each unit of inquiry.
In grades 3 and 5, the students take the International Schools Assessment (ISA) in Literacy and Numeracy. In grades 3, 4 and 5 they also take Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments twice a year. These externally marked tests assess their skills in comparison with those of other international school students. The results provide useful feedback for curriculum development.
The IB believes assessment should be authentic, essential, rich and engaging—it should incorporate students in the process of evaluating their learning. Formative assessment is part of daily learning, an ongoing process of ‘checking in’ between teachers and students, helping each find out what is already known in order to plan for the next stage of learning. Summative assessment takes place at the end of the teaching and learning process—this is when students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and apply what has been learned.
Formal reports are written about student progress three times a year in November, March and June. These are a combination of narrative comments and a measurement of each student’s progress against a set of indicators defining expected outcomes for each grade level.
Why do we have student-led conferences?
Student-led conferences allow each child to share their progress with their family. They can explain their understanding of new knowledge, concepts and skills. It is a powerful assessment strategy that uses self-reflection as the tool to measure development.
What is the exhibition?
It is a requirement of the PYP that students in their final year of elementary school engage in an exhibition where all their skills, knowledge, understanding of concepts and ability to take ‘action’ are used in a unit of inquiry. It is the culmination and public celebration of their development through the programme.
Elementary students can choose to participate in a range of activities run by teachers in the hour after class learning ends from 3:30 to 4:30pm. This programme runs as four sessions of six weeks over the year and enables students to extend their skills or learn new ones with a wider range of peers. Activities are diverse and complement the PYP curriculum. They include physical clubs such as futsal and basketball, arts such as drama, sewing and seasonal crafts, as well as collaborative challenges such as Lego and constructors club.