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Additional information about changes to MYP Certification

Posted: March 26, 2015

Thank you to those who have sent in feedback regarding the introduction of the eAssessment of the MYP in 2016.  We have prepared an FAQ below, which addresses the questions and comments received.

What is the rationale for this decision?

Our rationale is based on two key considerations:

1. Our commitment to a holistic curriculum:
With the advent of eAssessement, the MYP Certificate will be based on student performance in six subjects. Of these, English, Chinese/Spanish, Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Mathematics and Sciences ‘count’, with the sixth subject coming from the best score from the Arts Group, Design, and Physical and Health Education. This effectively ‘discards’ the results of two of the eight subject areas. It is our view that all eight MYP subject areas are of equal value and we do not believe this model aligns with our commitment to a holistic, well-rounded education, which places every subject on an equal footing.

2. Single exam to determine a student’s final MYP grade:
From 2016, a student’s final MYP grade in English Language and Literature, Chinese Language and Literature (Chinese A), Individuals and Societies (Humanities), Mathematics, and Sciences will all be determined by a single, ‘high-stakes’ exam. There is no course work component. We believe this score will not provide an accurate profile of the level of student ability or attainment. Some students perform well in exam conditions, however many capable students find these conditions difficult and stressful.

At DC, we believe exams are only one method of evaluating student understanding. We remain committed to serving our students’ wide variety of learning styles by offering a range of assessment tasks, such as presentations, research essays, performances, journal reflections, and blogs, as well as exams.

DC will continue to seek regular feedback from the IB on our assessment and curriculum, and this will be a vital part ensuring the rigour of our MYP.

We will also be collaborating with other MYP schools across Hong Kong to cross-moderate the assessment of students’ work. We believe that by leveraging the collective expertise of other established MYP schools, we will be well placed to accurately assess your children’s work.

External moderation of the MYP Personal Project will become a mandatory requirement of the IB.

Will this change impact on my child’s ability to move between schools? 

No. In our experience, the prospective schools of students leaving Discovery College require school transcripts, confidential referee reports, and frequently administer their own admissions tests. Reputable schools should have a good understanding of the MYP. Where needed, we are well placed to explain our grading system and course structures to another school.

We have had many students enroll in Year 11 (the last year of the MYP) who were ineligible for the MYP Certificate. These students have all moved on to the IB Diploma and have either graduated to university or been offered places at university without the need of an IB-issued MYP Certificate.

As an ESF School, Discovery College students are guaranteed a place in other ESF schools’ Applied Learning and/or BTEC programmes.

Are other Hong Kong schools discontinuing seeking the MYP Certificate in 2016?

Yes. Every other MYP school in Hong Kong except one will be discontinuing registering students for the MYP Certificate. These schools, including Renaissance College, all share our rationale for discontinuation of the certificate.

Will this decision jeopardise my child’s admission to UK universities? 

No. The advice we’ve received from Higher Education Counselors and from ESF Centre is that universities across the world look at a student’s school-based academic transcripts when considering applications. Final offers are based on predicted and final DP grades, personal statements, letters of recommendation and the university’s own pre-admissions testing.

Our Higher Education Counselor (HEC) has an extensive network of contacts in UK universities and having spoken with a number of experienced admissions representatives from top-tier institutions such as Kings College London, UCL, Warwick and Oxford University, is confident that students from DC will continue to be treated in exactly the same way as they have been in previous years, regardless of whether their MYP has been externally validated by the IB or not. Our Higher Education Counselor has contacts in other Hong Kong international schools that have provided the same advice.

Will this have any impact on my child’s learning experiences? 

No. One of the primary reasons for discontinuing registering for the MYP Certificate is to ensure that your child’s learning experiences continue to be holistic, inquiry-based and focused on learning how to learn.

Assessment of your child’s progress will continue to be based on a range of assessment tasks, including performances, presentations, research essays, quizzes, exams and portfolios of work, rather than a single high-stakes exam.

We continue to be committed to the IB MYP. We believe the MYP offers the best framework for your child to experience a holistic education, which nurtures life-long learning skills and altruism.

What documentation will my child receive at the end of Year 11? 

Discovery College will be issuing it’s own MYP graduation certificate, which will be endorsed by ESF and CIS-WASC (Council for International Schools/Western Association of Schools and Colleges). Students will also be issued with formal academic transcripts, which will include a student’s final MYP grades. This will be supplemented with formal documentation from the IB, which will show the student’s IB-validated MYP Personal Project grade. The exact form this document will take has not yet been finalised by the IB.

Has Discovery College communicated its position on eAssessment with the IB?

Yes. Discovery College’s MYP Coordinator has spoken several times with the IB’s Regional MYP Schools Services Manager to express our views on eAssessment.

Discovery College is also an active contributor to the South China MYP Schools Network group’s communication with the IB. This network group has met with the IB, including March 2015, expressing concern over the direction the MYP is taking.

As mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong MYP schools share our position on eAssessment and are committed to supporting member schools in ensuring that Hong Kong MYP grades continue to lead the world.

Why did Discovery College first communicate with Year 9 and 10 parents a week before writing to Year 7 and 8 parents?

We decided to communicate with Year 9 and 10 parents families first as these year groups are the ones that will be affected by these changes over the next two years. After this initial group was directly informed, the announcement was communicated to all families.

Will Discovery College revisit this decision in future?

Yes. Along with other Hong Kong MYP schools, we will be closely observing the May 2015 eAssessment pilot and any subsequent changes to the eAssessment structure. We will continue our individual and collective dialogue with the IB. Future developments will be reviewed in light of our current decision.

Will Discovery College be running an information session?

Yes. The date for this will be confirmed shortly.