Cambridge or IB MYP: Which Curriculum is Right for Your Child

Srivalli Singh
Jan 21, 2022
Secondary education

Your child is ready to enter those all-important middle school years, where they'll become more independent, more focused, and they can gradually take more responsibility for their learning. This is a crucial time for you and them, as this is when many children develop either a lifetime love or dislike of learning. An engaging curriculum, supportive school environment and a flexible routine can make all the difference.

If you're considering an international school in Singapore for your child, you'll have a choice of several curricula, among them: the Cambridge CLSP (Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme) for Grades 6 to 8 followed by the IGCSE (International General Secondary Certificate of Education) for Grades 9 and 10 and the IB MYP (International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme) for Grades 6 to 10. 

Both are excellent academic programmes that prepare students to excel in life, but each has its own unique features. In this article, we list some significant aspects of both curricula, which we believe will help you make a decision for your child.

Curriculum:

Cambridge CLSP 

With 10 subjects to choose from, CLSP offers instruction for students aged 11 to 14 years in grades 6 through 8, and these include:

● Computing

● Art and Design

● English

● Digital Literacy

● English as a Second Language - For learners who speak a language other than English at home.

● Global Perspectives

● Mathematics

● Music

● Science

● Physical Education

The CLSP offers flexibility as schools are free to choose the subjects they wish to explore and where they have specialist teachers. The programme is fully adaptable to be used alone or in conjunction with a bilingual curriculum and is ideal for multicultural schools that would like to incorporate a global outlook and inclusiveness with regard to language study and culture.

The IGCSE lays a strong foundation for future studies, including pre-university courses like IBDP


Cambridge IGCSE

The IGCSE is aimed at students in grades 9 and 10, usually between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. The most recognised secondary school curriculum in the world, the IGCSE offers more than 70 subjects and 30 languages from which schools can build their own curricula. It embraces students from every background and ability and is one of the most popular curricula currently available for secondary students.

IB MYP 

Under the IB MYP, students aged 11 to 16 years have eight different subjects groups:

● Language and Literature

● Language Acquisition

● Science

● Mathematics

● Art

● Individuals and Societies

● Physical Education

● Design

The IB MYP is a five-year programme, and students receive a minimum of 50 hours of instruction in each subject each year, as well as completing one interdisciplinary unit. The last two years of the programme offer flexibility, as students may choose coursework from six of the eight subjects. As a final requirement, students must complete their long-term project, which draws on the knowledge they've acquired throughout their academic careers.

Also read: Benefits of merit scholarships offered in schools for your child

Assessments:

Cambridge CLSP

The CLSP uses computer-based, optional tests, called the Cambridge Lower Secondary Assessments, to measure and record student progress and report back to parents on how their child is doing academically. These tests are used to identify areas of academic strengths and opportunities and diagnose a student's learning needs and academic potential.

Cambridge IGCSE

At the end of the 2 year IGCSE programme, students undertake thorough external assessments in each subject and are graded using letter grades 'A' through 'G'. This assessment offers students an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency as it includes written, oral, practical and coursework components. It’s especially beneficial for students whose primary language may not be English.

IB MYP

The IB MYP offers both internal and external assessments to measure student progress. Schools may also register for external assessments that let children earn formal internationally recognised certificates. Students may participate either by sitting for online assessments or by completing e-portfolios of their work.

Resources For Educators: 

Each curriculum draws from unique educational resources, and each offers different options to teachers who follow its programme.

Cambridge  CLSP

The CLSP uses a collection of endorsed resources for educators. As long as a resource has been officially endorsed by the CLSP, it's considered appropriate supplementary material. This includes textbooks, ebooks, teacher's guides, workbooks, starter packs, and more.

Cambridge IGCSE

Resources for the IGCSE include lesson plans, textbooks, websites, exam prep materials, science competitions, online support hubs, questionnaires and online assessments.

IB MYP

The IB MYP offers web pages for research, digital toolkits, a social network, an IB store and opportunities to MYP teachers for professional development.

Future Options For Students

The ultimate goal of each academic curriculum is to prepare students for an easy transition to the next grade or university level. The IGCSE is internationally recognised as a premium certification, accepted by institutes of higher learning around the globe. Being a rigorous curriculum with multi-faceted learning opportunities, IGCSE lays a strong foundation for future studies, including pre-university courses like A-levels and IBDP and university education. Similarly, the IB MYP prepares students for the IB DP and future studies. 

Cambridge Programme at GIIS

At GIIS, we offer the following academic career path for our secondary students:

CLSP

The CLSP for children aged 11 to 14 includes instruction in mathematics, science, English, global perspectives, and information and communication technology. It is also based on our 9 Gems framework, which are objectives for students who progress through the programme:

1. Creativity, Innovation, Problem-Solving

2. Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development

3. Digital and Visual Arts

4. Life Skills, Vocational and Career Competencies

5. Academic Excellence, Collaborative and Project-Based Learning

6. Personality Development Through Speech and Drama

7. Community Connection

8. Sports, Health and Fitness Excellence

9. Universal Values, Ethics, Discipline

The assessment cycle is divided into two terms. The first term includes two cyclic tests, two internal assessments and a semester exam. Term two includes one cyclic test, two internal assessments and a semester exam.

Additionally, GIIS offers computer labs, a science lab, a language room and a library among a host of specialised skills-based labs available for the students. There is also a comprehensive offering of student activities available at GIIS, including, but not limited to:

● Self-Development Workshops

● Hackathons

● Bootcamps for Entrepreneurship skill development

● STEAM Week

● Literary Week

● GIIS MUN (Model United Nations)

● RWCC (Real World Challenges Convention)

● Jhankaar (Interschool Dance Competition)

IGCSE

At GIIS, the IGCSE offers instruction in Languages, Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences, Mathematics, and other Creative and Technical Vocational subjects, divided into five different groups. Students undertaking the IGCSE at GIIS strive for the same 9 Gems of excellence as the CLSP. 

Assessment cycles include written and oral exams, listening and coursework. Here too, the assessment cycle is divided into two terms. The first term includes two cyclic tests and a semester exam. Term two includes one cyclic test and a semester exam for Grade 9 and one cyclic test, and two pre-board examinations for Grade 10. 

The IGCSE at GIIS utilises textbooks and other printed classroom materials, webinars, Google Classroom, Zoom conferencing, goal-setting sessions, remedial and enrichment work. Students are supported by counsellors and have access to behavioural and career counselling as needed.

All the extracurricular events offered as part of the CLSP are open to students in the IGCSE programme as well.

Lastly, the IGCSE programme at GIIS prepares students to excel in the IB DP by promoting intelligent, curious leaders of tomorrow who are compassionate and attuned to their responsibilities as global citizens.

GIIS has carefully curated an academic career path that not only engages students at every level but also prepares them for life after graduation, as well. Our IGCSE qualifications are accepted at universities around the world as grading is standardised across all Cambridge schools, and students graduate with an excellent foundation for post-secondary studies.

We understand how the right curriculum that can build on your child’s strengths; can lay the right foundation for the future. Opting for one over another is a personal choice, and only you and your child can decide on what’s right for them, as long as it is an informed decision.

If you would like more information on all GIIS has to offer your child, schedule a tour today.

Srivalli Singh

With over 11 years of teaching experience at GIIS, Ms. Srivalli Singh is the Academic Co-ordinator, IGCSE and Head of the Department (Biology) at GIIS SMART Campus, Singapore. A PhD in Life Science, Ms. Singh has been teaching Cambridge IGCSE Biology for over 10 years and is well-versed in curriculum revisions. Over the last 10 years, she has worked towards broadening her views to grow as an educator and provide the best resources and learning experience to her students. As a teacher, her goal is to go beyond the syllabus and instil in her students a passion for biology, the same passion that she carries for the subject.

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