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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is an educational program intended for students aged approximately 11 to 16 (grades 6–10 in International Schools, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia). Thus, in the United States the program is often taught throughout the middle school years and the first two years of high school. Typically, middle schools and high schools work in coordination with each other when the program can not be entirely hosted within one combined school. The full program lasts 5 years although shorter programs can be adopted with permission from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB). Official MYP documentation is available from the IB in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.
The subjects taught in the MYP are divided into nine subject groups:
Schools can choose the subjects they teach within each subject group. However, each subject group must receive a minimum of 50 hours of curriculum time each academic year. A student could take two or more "Language A" courses if they have sufficient proficiency in both. Schools are given much flexibility to allow them to introduce subjects which they consider important, and to organize their own student assessment and reporting procedures. However, the MYP gives clear exit criteria for each subject group for MYP 5 (grade 10).
The program is based around five 'areas of interaction': approaches to learning (related to study skills), community and service, human ingenuity, environments, and health and social education. The areas of interaction are considered a key feature of the MYP. They are not generally taught as separate courses, but rather as themes that are reflected in all subjects through unit questions. The community and service area requires students to study and perform community studies and service throughout the program.
In addition, in MYP 5, students complete a personal project on a topic of their choice, with teacher supervision.
Schools can opt for external moderation so that students may receive an IB MYP Certificate.
In order to get an MYP Certificate in MYP 5, the student must score at least a 2 in each subject and a 3 in Personal Project. Moreover, the student must score at least a total score of 36 out of 63 in 7 subjects (average of 4).
In MYP, there are different criteria in different subject groups. At the end of the year, the subject teacher will have to give a final score (not average) based on the performance throughout the whole year and decide a score out of 7. From that, it is inferred that the final year exam does not take up a portion larger than the rest of the tasks and tests and will not affect greatly on the decision of the final grade.
For example, the criteria of Science is
In Science, all the criteria are scored out of 6.
In the science group, only criterion C is used to assess the exam. Hence, criteria A and B are applied for assessing One World Essay. Criteria D and E are assessed by the report done after the experiment and criterion F the performance during the experiment.
As can be seen above, unlike other international programmes such as iGCSE, MYP puts greater emphasis on different types of assessments comparatively.
At the centre of the MYP is the "learner profile", which defines the type of students all the IB programmes (PYP, MYP, and DP) are intended to develop.
There are five "areas of interaction" (AOIs) which are applied to every course the student takes. They are designed to help students recognize the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them, to tie the various subject areas together, and eventually to help students "see knowledge as an interrelated, coherent whole."
The AOIs should be linked to every topic they learned in class and every assessment they do.
The areas of interaction are as follows:
The "personal project" is seen as a culmination of student learning and a focus of the areas of interaction. Just as with the extended essay in the IB Diploma Programme, students are required to choose an academic or non-academic topic or subject for their project, which they are expected to complete over the course of the school year. Students are required to keep a personal journal while working on the process, and schedule regular meetings with an MYP teacher who will serve as their advisor throughout the year; in addition, a final reflection must be written upon the completion of the project which explains how it ties in with at least one of the Areas of Interaction. To get the MYP certificate, the candidate must get at least 3 out of 7 in the final score.
In order to participate in the IB Middle Years Program, students must attend an authorised IB World School.
The application process, taking 1.5 to 3+ years, to become an IB World School with the MYP can total as much as US$23,000, with additional costs for teacher training, annual fees, and test fees.
The IB publishes candidate fees of US$9500 per year, and US$8920 per year once authorized. Schools are also required to involve their teachers in IB-sponsored professional development, which can cost as much as US$729 per course.
Within the United States, the IB curriculum has been criticized as "non-American" and "non-Judeo-Christian", and for promoting international declarations not endorsed by the U.S. government, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Earth Charter. In an interview published in IB World magazine, IB was praised for converting students from "national citizens" to "global citizens". The Ambrose School, a Christian academy in Idaho, stated: "classical education bases itself in the traditional Western Christian ideal of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. The IB pursues a postmodern view of tolerance and relativism." In 2012, the New Hampshire Republican Party stated in its platform that it would "oppose laws and programs contrary to our founding principles such as Sharia Law, the International Baccalaureate Program, UN Agenda 21 or other 'sustainable development' programs."
A prospectus published in 2007 by Denver Public Schools (DPS) stated:
There is no available evidence that the IB will increase student achievement in DPS schools or that the IB has had a positive effect on student achievement in similar districts or schools. A thorough search of the literature has netted no empirical studies on the effects of IB on student achievement. The IB, itself, publishes no such results.
On the other hand, the Chicago Tribune reported that in 1998 in that city's Beverly neighborhood, only 67 students in the 8th grade chose to attend the local public high school, which offered an IB program. After a cluster of Beverly schools began the IB Middle Years Program in the 1999-2000 school year, the number of neighborhood 8th graders who chose to attend the local high school increased to about 150. One student was quoted, "I had really good teachers in the IB program."[needs update]