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IICS Academic FAQS

IICS Academics frequently asked questions.

What curriculum does IICS use?

IICS employs the International Baccalaureate curriculum in all grades from Preschool through Grade 12. IICS is the ONLY international school in Istanbul fully authorized to provide all three International Baccalaureate's (IB) programs.

IICS was authorized by the IB in 1996 to offer the Diploma Program for Grades 11 & 12. In the same year, IICS was authorized by the IB to offer the Primary Years Program for Preschool- Grade 6. The following year in 1997 IICS was authorized by the IB to offer the Middle Years Program for Grades 7-10. This made IICS one of the first schools in the world authorized for all three of the IB programs. IICS was reauthorized by the IB in 2007 and had a successful 5 year review in 2011/12. In their evaluation report, the IB says:
“It is evident that the programmes are well established in the school and that reflective, collaborative practice is integral to the culture of the school. There is a strong professional culture in the school, an excellent understanding of the IB programmes among staff and a commitment to the programme both from teachers and from the educational leadership.” –IB Evaluation Visit Report, 2007


For more information about IICS' international auhtorizations and accreditation, click here. 

Why does IICS use the IB curriculum?

The availability of the IB’s international curriculum in so many countries makes the IB an excellent option for families who must change countries often; easily finding an IB school in your new country makes it easier for parents to provide continuity and consistency in your child’s education.

The IB program is known for its academic rigor. Students earning an IB Diploma can enroll in (and are often sought out by) universities worldwide. Many IB Diploma students from IICS report having received university credit for their IICS Diploma Program classes, particularly in US universities. IICS students earning IB Diplomas continually gain entrance into top UK universities, and other colleges throughout the world. For IICS university acceptances, click here. 

What makes the IB unique:

  • It offers a continuum of education, consisting of three programs for students aged 3 to 19.
  • It has a reputation for high-quality education sustained for over 35 years.
  • It encourages international-mindedness in IB students. To do this, students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity.
  • It encourages a positive attitude to learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, to critically reflect, to develop research skills, to learn how to learn and to participate in community service.
  • It ensures that its programmes are accessible to students in a wide variety of schools—national, international, public and private.

In which countries besides Turkey is the IB curriculum also used?

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) offers high quality programs of international education.The IB curriculum is not just for international schools. A growing number of national schools are gravitating towards the IB. As of January 2017, there were 5,964 IB programs being offered worldwide, across 4,583 schools. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of IB programs offered worldwide has grown by 45.8%. For additional information, visit the IB website. The top 10 countries with the highest number of IB programs are (in descending order): United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, India, Argentina, Spain, China and Sweden. For a complete list of countries, click here

Can my child get into university in our home country with an IB diploma?

IICS offers a comprehensive university counseling program to assist students in their application to universities worldwide. For a list of countries who recognize the IB Diploma, click here.


“The IB diploma is recognized worldwide. The IB diploma is widely accepted in the US, the UK, Canada, Europe, etc. University admissions officers all know the IB and see it as the most rigorous course a high school student can partake in. The IB diploma really opens the door for university. I've had no problem with a student because they have an IB diploma rather than another type of diploma. Our graduates have gone on to a wide variety of schools. For the US we've had students that have been accepted at Ivy league schools, in England at some of the top selective schools, and throughout Europe and Asia.” –Dr. Cherie Mobasheri, IICS University Counselor

How can I find out more about the IB curriculum?

Please visit the IB’s website: www.ibo.org

How can you cater to my child's needs?

“We look very closely at the philosophy of the teachers we recruit to make sure their teaching style is in line with the philosophy of the IB program. Teachers should be able to focus on the indiviual child, to differentiate in their program, so that when they have a group of children in front of them from different programs and different cultures, they can focus individually on each student to see what their learning needs are and take it forward from there.” Angela Steinmann, IICS Primary Principal

 “IICS teachers are constantly reminded of the need to --and are constantly sharing with each other methodologies of how to-- differentiate in the classroom. And that focus on differentiating allows our teachers to treat every student as an individual, allowing them to maximize their individual learning.”Joe Lumsden, IICS Secondary Principal

How does IICS assess my child in the IB?

Assessment is integral to all teaching and learning. The purposes of assessment are to promote student learning, to provide information about students learning and to contribute to the evaluation of the effectiveness of the program. Assessment is conducted on a formative and summative basis. For details, please click here.


How does the grading system work in MYP?

MYP assessment is explained in the IICS MYP CURRICULUM GUIDE relating to the criterion levels that will appear on their work. In addition, your child will have had the system explained to them. 


What are the advantages to the IB style of MYP assessment?

There are significant advantages to this system over more traditional assessment, namely:

  • Averages are not used, ensuring that students who work hard to improve their performance are not hindered by previous poor grades.
  • We are looking at assessing what a child can and will do.The use of specific criteria and rubrics allows the students to understand exactly what the have to do and allows the teachers to help the student master what they find difficult.
  • Assessments are varied allowing for students to show their strengths in ways other than through examination.
  • Assessment is ongoing and progressive allowing for students to build on their successes and diminish their weaknesses, so they don’t lose everything through a bad day at exam time.
  • This sensitive approach to assessment is sometimes difficult to relate to for parents and students who are used to other systems.


For more information please contact the MYP Coordinator 

What’s the difference between IGCSE and the IB MYP?

The IGCSE is a UK-designed course with a set curriculum in each subject. IGCSEs come from national GCSEs which are designed for all grades 10s whether going on to university or not in the UK. The course usually covers grades 9 and 10 ending in externally set examinations in grade 10.

The IB’s MYP is a framework which allows schools to design their own program and encourages the use of cutting edge research from around the world both specifically international and that coming out of various national systems. This flexibility allows schools such as IICS to tailor courses the fit the vision of the school, developing students who will be independent, life-long learners.

The MYP focuses on values and the learner as a whole. At IICS the MYP contains several features which help prepare students for the IB Diploma courses and examinations such as a rigorous identification and development of learning strategies, end of year examinations and other varied assessments that ensure the best is brought out in children.

Interestingly, of all the countries offering IB programs, UK has the third largest number of IB programs. IICS students continue to gain entrance to top UK universities with their IB diplomas.  

What is the MYP Personal Project?

The Personal Project (PP) is a piece of extended research that students do in grade 10 of the MYP. At the end of Grade 9 students participate in an afternoon of workshops where they are introduced to the PP are able to ask questions, see previous projects, come up with and share their own ideas about what they would like to do as a project and work out how to put their ideas into set contexts. Throughout the MYP students have been studying their subjects in relation to five contexts called Areas of Interaction. These are:

  • Approaches to Learning
  • Community and Service
  • Environments
  • Health and Social Education
  • Human Ingenuity

Whilst students are able to choose any suitable topic they find interesting, they must analyse their work through the contexts of Approaches to Learning and at least one of the other Areas of Interaction. Students have to ensure there is a product, a process journal and an essay analysing both product and process in context.

At the start of grade 10, students make their final choice of topics and are assigned supervisors from amongst the school teachers. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure they meet with supervisors regularly. Supervisors help ensure that the student’s project will help them meet the criteria. Students are also given guidance in the form of a PP Guidebook. In the guidebook, a timeline is given detailing when various parts of the PP are due.

There is no curriculum time given to the PP apart from administrative grade level meetings. In the spring of grade 10 students submit their projects and teachers assess the projects. They also standardise their grades by assessing each other’s projects. Students then celebrate and share their projects either through a school exhibition or other means.

Examples from Projects have included:

  • Recognising the Early Warning Signs of Antisocial & Criminal Behaviour in Children
  • Creating a Book about Orphans Around the World
  • How Music may Manipulate our Moods
  • Speak your Mind through Skateboarding
  • Creating a Guidebook to Gothenburg
  • Launching an anti-drugs Campaign

How do IB scores correspond to traditional A, B, C, D letter grades used in other curriculae?

Although IB scores (1-7) do not correspond exactly to letter grades, a full explanation for universities and parents is provided on each student's academic transcript. A mathematical formula is also used to allow us to calculate each student's Grade Point Average, which is necessary for University applications.

How are IB Diploma Points awarded?

Students take 6 subjects, and for each subject, the highest score available is 7. Therefore, a total of 42 points are possible from a student's chosen subjects. Additionally, 3 extra points are awarded for the student's performance in the Theory of Knowledge course and their Extended Essay, bringing the total available points to 45. In order to be awarded the IB Diploma, the student must score a minimum of 24 total points, including a total of at least 12 in the 3 courses studied at Higher Level. 

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