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High School: Meeting all the needs of the individual learner

What does it mean to meet “all the needs of the individual learner”? Three stories of individual learners from last year’s Year 13, and their journeys through the IB Diploma Programme.

mission

In last week’s newsletter I built on my reflections on our Mission Statement in the recent Parents’ Information Evenings, focusing on some of the “responsible global citizens” at St Andrews.

This week I will focus on the more academic aspects of our Mission Statement.

As you will all know, we are very proud that St Andrews International School Bangkok is an inclusive school, and that we are committed to meeting “all the needs of the individual learner”, with our new Embracing Differences programme being an example of how we continually develop our programmes to be able to better meet the needs of a wider range of students - it was great to meet the parents of the Embracing Differences students at the Coffee Morning on Friday.

meeting all needs

As I said at the Parents’ Information Evenings, and is included in our new What makes Great St Andrews Teaching and Learning? document, this meeting “all the needs of the individual learner” means that “teachers are responsible for creating the conditions that enable every student to succeed”, inspiring students “to be the best they can be.”

This inclusivity continues all the way to Graduation at St Andrews. While many schools restrict some students from studying the IB Diploma Programme or limit their choice of courses, we are very proud both that every year the vast majority of our Year 12 students begin by studying the full IB Diploma Programme and that we do not tell students that they cannot continue with the IB Diploma Programme if they have difficulties during what is a very challenging two years for all students. As it says in our Effort Grade Criteria, we believe that it is our job to help students to develop their Growth Mindsets, “showing great resilience and perseverance with all challenges, even when they are very difficult”.

Our average IB Diploma Points score for the last few years is 32 points, consistently above the World average. We are very proud of this figure, as every year it contains a number of students who have worked very hard to achieve their IB Diploma who would not have been allowed to complete, or even begin, their study of the IB Diploma Programme at other, less inclusive, schools. Not allowing these students to take the full IB Diploma Programme would easily allow us to increase our average IB Diploma Points score, but that is not the school that we are, or want to be.

Each year our highest attaining students score 40 points or more, ranking them amongst the top students in the world. While the number of students attaining this very high standard varies from year to year, we know that these students, and the higher number achieving excellent scores in the high 30s - this year we had seven students who achieved 37 points or more - have achieved scores that enable them to access some of the best universities in the world.

What do these averages mean for some real students - “individual learners” - from last year’s Year 13?

Student 1 found the IB Diploma Programme a real challenge throughout, with a points score of 20 points in her Year 12 Term 3 Grade Report and scores of 19 points in both her End of Year 12 Exams and her Mock Exams in January of Year 13. As I have written above, in many schools any one of these could have very easily resulted in the student being taken off the full IB Diploma Programme, but this is not how we work at St Andrews, and all of her teachers continued to work with Student 1, “creating the conditions that enable every student to succeed” until the final exams. When we received the results in July, we were very pleased to see that Student 1 had achieved 25 points and an IB Diploma.

Student 2 also found the IB Diploma Programme to be very challenging, with a points score of 19 points in both her End of Year 12 Exams and her Year 12 Term 3 Grade Report. As above, all of Student 2’s teachers continued to work with her, “creating the conditions that enable every student to succeed” and this was reflected in the Mock Exams in January of Year 13 when Student 2 achieved 23 points - very close to the 24 points required to receive a full IB Diploma. Student 2 continued to show “great resilience and perseverance with all challenges, even when they are very difficult” throughout Term 2 and, when we received the results in July, we were delighted to see that Student 2 had achieved 31 points - not just an IB Diploma, but a score that will enable Student 2 to access a huge range of university courses around the world. This score was also significantly above the score that Student 2 was predicted from their IGCSE results be CEM (The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, based at Durham University).

Student 3 had a very different experience of the IB Diploma Programme achieving very good grades throughout the programme - 33 points in her End of Year 12 Exams and 35 points in both her Year 12 Term 3 Grade Report and her Mock Exams in January of Year 13. All these scores were close to the score of 34 points that Student 3 was predicted from IGCSE results, but Student 3 knew that this was not “the best they can be” and she continued to work towards achieving even better results in the final exams. When we received the results in July, we were really happy to see that Student 3 had achieved 40 points - a fantastic score, that will enable Student 3 to access the best universities in the world, and significantly above the score that Student 3 was predicted from their IGCSE results.

These three students, with an average IB Diploma Points score of 32 points, each had a very different journey through the very challenging IB Diploma Programme, but we are very proud of all of them, and of so many other of last Year’s Year 13 students, who are now beginning their lives at universities around the world, continuing their journeys towards their life as “responsible global citizens”.

Roo Stenning (roo.st@standrews.ac.th)
Head of High School

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Remember that all the school's Google Calendars can be seen via Moodle - http://calendar.standrews.ac.th/