Secondary School at CIS is a challenging and supportive environment, resulting in students who are confident, passionate and driven to succeed. Reflecting our international context, our academically challenging Grades 7 to 10 curriculum draws from the best secondary curricula globally and is delivered within the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) framework, while students in Grades 11 to 12 study the internationally recognised IB Diploma Programme (IBDP). As a result, our students develop the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to remain relevant and competitive in a changing world.
Underpinned by the MYP framework, our stimulating and rigourous curriculum supports each child in reaching their personal potential, and best prepares them for the rigours of the DP programme. Our students think deeply about issues, work collaboratively, solve problems creatively, and communicate across a variety of media.
In the MYP, students are encouraged to make practical connections between their learning and the real world. They develop understanding in traditional subject areas and see the relationships between them. We help our students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for success in the DP.
Spanning Grades 7 to 10, the MYP consists of eight core subjects:
- Language and Literature in English or Chinese
- Mathematics (offered in English in all grades and Chinese-English bilingual in grades 7-9)
- Individuals and Societies (offered in English in all grades and Chinese-English bilingual in grade 7)
- Language Acquisition in French, Chinese, Spanish or English
- Design, Arts - Music, Theatre (formerly Drama), Visual Arts or Film (grades 9-10)
- Health & Physical Education
Students are also required to participate in a range of Service as Action activities.
During their final two years of secondary school, our students study the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), a comprehensive and challenging two-year curriculum that includes coursework and leads to final examinations. The Diploma Programme incorporates the best elements of national systems, without being based on any one. Globally regarded as one of the premier High School Diploma programmes, the DP is designed for highly motivated secondary school students aged 16 to 19.
Research reveals that universities in the UK and USA have a high regard for IB graduates, and the skills and attitudes developed. Our students have consistently scored above the IBDP world average and in the last five years have been accepted to well over 400 leading universities around the world.
Students select one subject from each of the six subject groups, and complete the core three requirements: the extended essay, theory of knowledge (TOK) and creativity, action and service (CAS).
IB DP courses in 2022/2023 are outlined on page 12 of this guide.
Occasionally, there are a small number of students for whom the full IBDP is not the best option. These students study a reduced number of IBDP subjects and are awarded IB certificates and a CIS High School Diploma instead. The CIS Diploma is recognised by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and widely accepted by universities and other higher education institutions.
Our house system builds a sense of belonging and pride, and our SMART (Students Maximising Achievement Responsibility on Time) programme provides opportunities for students to excel and develop new-found passions, whether intellectual, sporting, entrepreneurial, creative or service related. Excursion Week and field-based investigations see our students exercising leadership and learning first-hand about the world’s people, cultures and humanitarian and environmental concerns. Leadership is encouraged across all areas of the school.
Each day for 40 minutes, students are engaged in SMART (Students Maximising Achievement Responsibility on Time). SMART sees students participating in a variety of student initiated activities that seek to encourage independence and self directed learning. Activities range from academic enrichment and support (eg meeting with subject teachers for additional help) to student led clubs and initiatives such as student council and Model United Nations.
Our house system is designed to build a strong sense of community and pride within our Grades 1 to 12 student body, and helps students develop leadership and teamwork skills. Students regularly participate in house events, and our house captains are charged with helping to foster team spirit and a sense of belonging.
Learning at CIS is not just confined to the classroom. Students participate in a range of relevant and engaging hands-on outdoor learning opportunities including field trips and field investigations which allow them to apply their learning in a real world context. Excursion Week sees students in Grades 7 to 11 travelling to countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Nepal or Singapore to learn about the world’s people, cultures and humanitarian and environmental concerns first hand.
In Secondary, students are presented with a wide range of leadership opportunities. From the traditional student council model with an active and engaged student executive committee, to sporting captains, theatrical leads and peer tutors, student leadership creates value for both the leaders themselves and our student cohort. As they develop leadership skills that are underpinned by our core values, our students are ready to embrace the challenges that lie ahead of them and act as leaders both locally and internationally.