Secondary School

//Middle Years Programme
Middle Years Programme 2018-10-23T14:16:21+00:00
ISB logo, International School of Bologna

International School of Bologna

Middle Years Programme

ISB logo, International School of Bologna

What is the MYP and how does it work?

In 2014, ISB became an Authorised IB MYP School.  The MYP is a programme of international education designed to help students develop the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and skills necessary to participate actively and responsibly in a changing world.

An emphasis on intercultural awareness and holistic learning is reflected through the fluidity of the curricular framework and the interrelatedness of the subjects taught in our school. Our aim is to make the links between subjects explicit, so students understand the connection between the information they learn in class and the world in which they live.

The MYP is concept driven and framed within 6 global contexts.  This ensures that students are engaged in relevant and motivating units, which go beyond memorising simple facts to exploring issues within real-life contexts.  The six global contexts are:

  • Orientation in Space and Time
  • Fairness and Development
  • Personal and Cultural Expression
  • Scientific and Technical Innovation
  • Identities and Relationships
  • Globalization and Sustainability

In each unit of the MYP teachers select a global context, key concept and related concepts which drive the inquiry.  These are explored through a statement of inquiry.

Why we chose the MYP

The school chose to adopt the MYP because it supports our goals of educating our students within a framework that ensures academic rigour, whilst at the same time, promoting qualities of internationalism. Our school is already an authorised PYP school and using the MYP allows for the school to work along the IB Continuum towards the IB Diploma.

A MYP school is one which, regardless of location, size or constitution, strives to develop internationally-minded people through promoting the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. By implementing the MYP we believe we are educating our children to recognize their common humanity, their shared guardianship of the planet and their ability to help create a better and more peaceful world.

For further information about the IB Middle Years Programme, visit

Assessment in the MYP

Assessment in the Secondary School is both formative and summative and is fully aligned with the IB MYP requirements.

While formative assessment tasks that take place in class throughout the year help teachers ascertain students’ level of understanding and what needs to be done in order to help them progress, summative assessment is used to show students where they are at a particular point in the programme.

As a result, a Task Specific Clarification, a rubric (or similar) is given to students prior to an assessment task so that students and their parents are familiar with the expectations for an assessment.  It is recommended that students and parents use this guidance to proof read and check over an assessment before handing it in. It is important to note that the level achieved in these assessments alone do not comprise the overall grade students achieve in each subject. Instead, the student’s achievement in both summative and formative assessments are considered when determining a level of achievement which appears on their summer report.  A detailed guide to reporting in the MYP is given to each family prior to the reports.

We believe that:

  • Learning requires the active participation of the student.
  • People learn at different rates.
  • Students gain knowledge from individual and group work.

Assessments are made clear so that students know:

  • WHAT is expected of them.
  • WHAT criterion is being assessed.
  • WHAT they need to do in order to succeed.

External Assessments

Beginning in Grade 7, every two years students will sit both the English, Mathematics and Science ISA (International Schools Assessment) which is an externally written and assessed exam for International Schools.  This data will track progress and informs MYP planning.

Language Placement

Language in the MYP is divided into two different subject groups – Language and Literature in which students will analyze, organize and produce written work, and Language Acquisition – a course for students to acquire a language through reading, writing, oral and visual texts.

At ISB we offer Language and Literature courses in English and Italian and Language Acquisition courses in English, French, Italian and Spanish (French offered with a minimum class size of four students as of the 2014/15 academic year).

Placement in Language Subject Groups

The Language and Literature curriculum is a demanding one which follows students through IB set objectives and assessment criteria.  Therefore, only students fully ready for this programme will enter into this course.

The Language Acquisition curriculum aims to develop students’ reading, writing, oral and visual communication – building on students’ existing skills and filling any ‘gaps’ students may have in their reading, oral or written work.

How are students placed in the Language Subject Groups?

In May of Grade 5, the language team, alongside the MYP Coordinator, analyzes each student individually considering their MAC Test results, PYP assessments, PM Bench Mark Assessments (where applicable), ISA results and First Steps Writing Assessments.  Taking all this into account students will be placed into a suitable class.

Students meeting all criteria for Phase 4 level of the Language Acquisition Continuum for English will automatically be placed in the Language and Literature Class.  Students working at Phase 6 of the Language Acquisition Continuum for Italian will automatically be placed in the Language and Literature Class.  This is explained further below.

Students placed in Language Acquisition may move into a Language and Literature course throughout the year depending on their development across all areas of language.  There may be cases when students from Language and Literature move into Language Acquisition.

New students to ISB are assessed using the MAC test and Testo D’Ingresso for Italian, alongside information from previous school reports, to ensure a fair and accurate placement of the student into the correct subject group.

Following the Language Meeting in May, all grade 5 parents will be informed of the placement of their child with an explanation for the school’s decision where appropriate.  There may be special cases within language placement where external factors are taken into consideration.  However all decisions on language placement are made by ISB teachers and not parental preference.

MYP Criteria in the Language Subject Groups

The Language and Literature Course is designed for students who have an excellent grasp of the language and therefore all objectives and assessment criteria are the same for each student.  However in Language Acquisition, students acquire language at different rates.  Therefore to enable teachers to monitor progress accurately, the IB has categorized language learning into 6 phases.  Each phase has its own objectives and assessment criteria and teachers plan for each of the phases within their class.

Transition from Language Acquisition to Language and Literature – Grade 6-Grade 8

At ISB Spanish and French are offered at Language Acquisition level only and therefore students may progress to Phase 6 of the continuum and teachers plan for this accordingly through differentiated instruction.

Students placed in Language Acquisition for English may exit the programme only when they have achieved Phase 4 in all four areas of the curriculum and ensuring this best meets the student’s language needs.  This means that whilst a student may be strong in speaking, if their written work does not match a phase 4 level, the student will remain in Language Acquisition to develop the necessary skills.  It is the responsibility of the teacher, alongside the MYP Coordinator, to ensure planning encourages development through the phases and that appropriate assessments gauge the student’s accurate level.

Students placed in Language Acquisition Italian may exit the programme at the end of Phase 6 and enter Language and Literature Italian ensuring that they meet all criteria.  This difference in phase exit is due to the demands of the Italian Literature Programme and the History of Literature curriculum which requires a level of language acquisition that matches that of a confident phase 6 student.  Once a student is working at phase 6 level, all transition procedures followed are the same as for a phase 4 student in the Language Acquisition English programme (see above).

Language Placement in Grade 11 and Grade 12

The pathway for Languages in the Diploma Programme is a complex one and therefore placing students in the correct class is essential.  Taking this into account, in Grade 11 students will be able to exit the English Language Acquisition class once all Phase 5 criteria has been met.  Students in Grade 12 will be able to exit the English Language Acquisition class when they have met all criteria for Phase 6.  Exit from the Italian Programme will remain at Phase 6.

English Support (ESL Support)

The school’s working language is English and therefore a good command of the English language is essential in order to access the MYP curriculum as a whole.  Therefore all students placed in Language Acquisition at Phase 1 or 2 for English will take extra ESL sessions during Spanish or French classes.  This is to provide extra support for students to ensure they move accordingly through the phases.  For students in Phase 3 and 4 of Language Acquisition, learning a new language at this point can be helpful in terms of understanding grammatical structures and considering ways in which language is developed.  Therefore students in Phase 3 and 4 of Language Acquisition English will select from the Spanish or French class. No student studying in Language and Literature will be eligible for ESL support.  This requirement will be enforced from the 2015/16 academic year.

The role of technology in the MYP

Technology is integrated into all MYP subject groups and each room is equipped with an IPad and AppleTV.  Students are encouraged to bring their own devices and students are using the ManageBac System to share their learning with the class and their teachers.  They also have an assigned Gmail account and are beginning to use Google Classroom within subjects.  One of the MYP Global Contexts is:  Scientific and Technological Innovation and we recognize that the use of Technology is an integral tool for students’ and teachers’ life-long learning.  Students also visit the Start Lab in Bologna to make use of sophisticated Technology.

At ISB, MS1, 2 and grade 8 students take a Digital Design Course.  We selected this course to make use of our ICT Lab and to encourage students to think beyond traditional uses of technology.  The Digital Design Course intends to:

  • challenge all students to apply practical and creative-thinking skills to solve problems in technology
  • encourage students to explore the role of technology in both historical and contemporary contexts
  • raise students’ awareness of their responsibilities as world citizens when making decisions and taking action on technology issues.

At the beginning of the academic year, parents and students are asked to sign an Internet Safety Policy which details the correct use of Technology within school.  Any breach of this Policy is taken extremely seriously.