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IB Diploma Programme News

22 October 2015

Over the last week or so, we have been talking to our students in Year 13 about how to use their tracker grades to improve their learning. 

  • RAG Week 2015

Teachers assign effort grades according to criteria which are displayed in the classrooms and we encourage students to have individual conversations with each teacher to look at why they were awarded particular grades and what they can do to reach the next grade.

We encourage our students to adopt a ‘growth mindset’ – a belief that your talents and abilities can be developed through hard work and persistence. Part of that process involves using teacher feedback (such as tracker grades) to reflect upon and improve upon performance. We also recognise the achievements of students who achieve consistently high effort grades in their trackers through Certificates of Endeavour which are presented in our Wednesday assemblies.

There are four events that I referred to in last week’s newsletter which I shall remind you of

1)      Year 12 Student Parent Teacher Conference on November 4. I would like to reiterate how beneficial it is when students as well as parents are in attendance.

2)      Final Extended Essay submission is on 9 November which will be marked by a special assembly and ‘costume day’ (with costumes or props representing the theme of the essay)

3)      Mock examinations start on 23 November

4)      Presentation by Andrea Lee from Juilliard for all Year 12 students and for any Year 13 students who would like to attend. This will be from 3:30pm to 4:30pm on Thursday 29 October and will take place in Stage One.

For Year 13 students in particular, though also for Year 12 students, one of the temptations at this time of year is to work late into the night to get coursework completed. I strongly urge students to avoid this and to make sure they get a full night’s sleep – ultimately, the extra work done by working late is counterbalanced by the effect it has on the student the following day when they are less mentally alert for the day’s learning. With a full night’s sleep every night, the chances of being happy and healthy are much greater and therefore so is the effectiveness of the student.

Regular attendance is also important in both IB years – when a student misses a day, they miss out on six hours of important learning which can never be fully caught up. So I would urge everyone to do everything possible to make medical or appointments outside school time so learning isn’t affected. With this in mind, it is also important that students and parents follow absence procedure accurately to help us to support students who can’t be at school – if a student is absent then either an email to their form tutor or a phone call to secondary reception should be made.

Andrew Joy Head of IB

Creativity, Activity, Service

An important element of the CAS programme is the reflections that students do after each of their CAS experiences. Occasionally, we shall be sharing some of those reflections with you to give readers a sense of the kind of experiences that students have. This week, Jacqueline Shen reflects on her CAS experience with RAG week:

‘’The strengths that I have identified and developed are that raising awareness for the HuaXin Rehabilitation Centre has improved my communication skills as I’ve learned how to bond and interact with the primary kids. It has also boosted my confidence skills as my song was played in the slideshow, and it’s encouraged me to be more of a risk taker due to the fact that I never used to want to share my song covers with anyone. However, there were also some weaknesses that need to be improved. Lack of communication was a problem in the beginning of the week, but it was further developed later in the week. Doing this makes me feel satisfied as I’ve contributed to the community and understood how less fortunate some people are. Although the amount of awareness raised was only within our school, it was hopefully enough to galvanize and inspire people to make a difference and turn those words into actions.

It was quite challenging to convince the little kids to come sign our posters and play our games, as they weren’t aware of the purpose of the activity, therefore it was time-consuming to persuade them to listen to us explain the whole situation. Time was also a problem, as each session was only 20 minutes. We had to rush to the primary campus straight after class which constantly kept us busy and occupied. If I were to do this activity again, I would manage my time better and learn how to interact with the little kids as it takes time for them to understand what’s going on. We also took pictures with the little kids holding the poster, to be more engaged. Another challenge would be the difficulty to attract the secondary students to come and listen to our description of the charity and the reason for the posters.

Our group worked collaboratively as a team which effectively showed teamwork, cooperation and strong participation in the activity. None of us have ever done anything similar before, so it was a learning process for all of us.

It’s important to undertake new challenges as this is how we learn from things, not just our mistakes, but our actions as well. It helps us become a better person in life through experiences that we haven’t encountered before. We learn how to deal with situations under different circumstances in order to be a risk-taking person.

I would say I’m usually an organized person. In fact, everyone in my group was. This was an advantage as we didn’t waste time on organization, therefore it’s helped us save a lot of time and get more things done, such as more time for poster signing and more rounds for the hopping game we played with the primary kids. It’s important to know how to plan and initiate as it showcases our capability to bring out ideas and actively carry them out within our working environment, which in this case, is school. Planning helps to achieve our objectives of this project as well as decision-making. We thought initiating was harder, due to the fact that raising awareness was new to us as well as the part where we had to interact with the kids. However, planning also took us some time as we wanted to be creative and think of ideas that were not the same as the other groups, which led to our decision of using one of my song covers as the theme song for the slideshow’’

Jacqueline Shen IB Student

Higher Education

In the week beginning 19 October, students at the IB Academy were visited by Liam McHale from Imperial College London (on Thursday) and by Jacqueline Leung from the Savannah College of Art & Design (on Friday).

Next week (w/b 26 October) the following events are taking place for students in Years 12 and 13:

Monday 26 October – A representative from the City University of Hong Kong will be giving a presentation to students at 1pm in Room 350.

Tuesday 27 October - Seven institutions forming part of the University of London will be visiting BISS Puxi. A general presentation in the Drama Studio will give students information about studying in London, and how to make an effective university application, and this will be followed by a mini university fair in the Learning Resources Centre where students can ask individual questions. Institutions represented will be: King’s College, St George’s, Goldsmiths, the UCL Institute of Education, Birkbeck, the School of Oriental & African Studies and The Royal Veterinary College.

Friday 30 October – BISS Puxi will be welcoming Leiden University (the Netherlands) and Hochschule Rhein-Wall University of Applied Sciences (Germany) at 1pm in Room 350.

Sat 31 October & Sunday 1 November– China Education Expo at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center – Universities from all over the world will be visiting Shanghai. You will be able to talk to University representatives and attend seminars. Interested Students should register online here in advance of the event: 

Important Dates for Year 13 Students

31 October – all UK applicants to have completed all sections of their application, including personal statement and choices.

1 November – Deadline for some EA/ED Applications to USA.

14 -15 November – Deadline for ‘Fast Track’ applicants to HKU and HKUST.

30 November – University of California Application Deadline.

7 December – deadline for completion of all Regular Decision applications to USA and HKUST/HKU regular applications.

Mark Weston Higher Education Adviser

Coursework and examinations

Year 13 students are doing well with keeping to deadlines and being proactive in their discussions with teachers. We are looking for students to maintain a positive attitude and growth mind-set towards their internal assessments; to find motivation from within and to recognise that this is all leading to their ambitions for the future. The deadlines for the week just gone and week coming up are below. All deadlines can be found on students’ Managebac accounts.


Due Date


Exploration Draft ready for peer marking


Mathematics HL and SL

Business draft to be submitted


Business and Management

German A final IOC practice


German A

German A final IOC


German A

Korean A final IOC practice


Korean A

Chinese A IA feedback


Chinese A

Chinese B HL oral


Chinese B HL

November Mock Exams

November Mock Exams will begin on the 23 November and run for that whole week. Students will be off timetable and if they don’t have an exam during a time slot, they will have time to revise and prepare for their upcoming exams. This will provide students with an examination experience that is as close as possible to the final examinations in May. These will take place in the primary school sports hall. The outline of the timetable for the week is again available to students on Managebac.

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today”

Thomas Housham IB Diploma Programme Coordinator

Explaining the Diploma Programme

Each week, we shall be focusing on one particular aspect of the Diploma Programme. This week I shall write about the process of obtaining final results and how those results get to universities.

After sitting the May exams in Year 13, students can access their final IB results on July 6 using an online system. They will be given usernames and PIN numbers by the school. At some point in August (the date will vary from year to year), the official documentation will be sent from the IBO to the school and students will be informed when they have arrived. Diploma students will receive an actual IB Diploma as well as a certificate detailing the individual courses. Courses students will receive the latter. The school offers a choice about how students can receive these documents: they can either be picked up directly from the school or sent by courier to another destination.

During the third term of Year 13, students will be given the option of setting up a ‘Request for Results’. This means that their final IB scores will be automatically sent by the IBO to the university or universities of their choice. I strongly recommend that students take advantage of this service as it is the best way to ensure that higher education institutions have those official results which will allow them to confirm places on their courses.

After receiving results, some students choose to request re-marks in some of their subjects. This may be advisable when the student’s overall mark in a subject is close to the grade boundary for the next level up. These can be arranged by contacting myself after the results have been issued.

Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s IB Diploma Programme News.

 Andrew Joy Head of IB


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