Get To Know The Different International School Curriculums


In the article below, we’ll highlight what some of the best curriculums amongst international schools in Singapore so you can make an informed decision.

American Curriculum

Several international schools in Singapore such as the Singapore American School follow the Advanced Placement Program. The Advanced Placement program is a curriculum offered to students by the College Board in the US and Canada. Its curriculum and examinations are offered to high school students, and if they excel in it, American colleges and universities may grant placements and course credit to them. The AP curriculum applies to a wide array of subjects, and each subjects’ curriculum is determined by a panel of experts and college educators in that particular academic field.

The AP program’s examinations are scored on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being ‘no recommendation’ and 5 being ‘extremely qualified’. A number of US and Canadian colleges use the exam scores to exempt students from introductory coursework or to place students in higher designated courses, or even both. The program provides a platform for students to secure a position in a tertiary institution of their choice, should they reach the standards set by the programme.

There are a few benefits for students taking the classes in the program. One is that they can challenge themselves academically and constantly work on areas of a topic that they are weak at. Additionally, it’s a favourable method to show colleges that they are dedicated and serious about their education. Another benefit of the classes is that scoring a 5 on a test shows that they are ahead of the curve, being more advanced than 80-90% of other advanced students. The tests also teach you skills that can be beneficial in colleges, as according to the College Board, students who take the AP exams get higher grades in college.

Overall, the Advanced Placement program has extensive benefits for students, allowing them to look very impressive and desirable to colleges, giving them a head start in applications and placements.

 Australian Curriculum

The Australian International School follows, the NAPLAN curriculum is the educational framework they operate on. It is a series of standardised tests by the Australian Curriculum that is administered to students on an annual basis. The tests are designed to assess students’ competency in reading, writing, numeracy and language. Introduced in 2008, the program is administered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and is designed to determine if Australian students are achieving educational outcomes.

NAPLAN aims to measure the literacy, numeracy skills of students, and also their knowledge which is an essential foundation for other forms of learning and to be rewarded for their participation in the community. In this educational curriculum, students develop learning skills in a goal-oriented direction and environment.

It has multiple benefits for both the school and students. It’s an effective tool to improve the teaching methods as it can identify problems in a school system over time, allowing for the evaluation of potential solutions on all levels, so that students can learn better.

Another added benefit is its transparency. The literacy and numeracy results of students are accessible on a national, state, school level, enabling parents to monitor the academic progress of their children against an objective national benchmark.

Overall, the NAPLAN provides a good educational framework as it allows parents to play an active part in their children’s academic development, while also keeping track of the national academic benchmarks. For students, they are able to have a vision of where their academic developments should progress towards, giving them a direction for where their studies should head.

British Curriculum  (IGCSE)

Several international schools such as Tanglin Trust and UWC educate students aged 14 to 16 following the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. Developed by the University of Cambridge International Examinations, the IGCSEis an international alternative to national educational curriculums, and its qualifications are based on individual subjects of study. This entails that an “IGCSE” qualification is awarded to a student depending on the number of subjects they take.

The typical ‘core’ curriculum involves learning a first language, second language, Maths, and also one or more subjects in the Sciences. Eligible IGCSE candidates can also choose additional courses ranging from the Arts to Social Sciences. As this system is heavily exam-bound and is usually characterised by end-of-year academic assessments, it’s similar to SATs and Advanced Placement exams, accommodating home-schooling.

Students who are in this system benefits from having many academic and career options, as its qualifications are widely recognised by many major institutions and companies.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a holistic international education curriculum that has been implemented in international schools’ classrooms in Singapore since 1977. It comprises the IB Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme, and focuses on developing students to prepare them on a global stage. Depending on the programmes taken, be it in whole or in selective parts, the IB curriculum can be for students aged three all the way to 19.

The IB curriculum benefits students in that they develop them to have life skills such as inquisitiveness, well-rounded knowledge, critical thinkers, fluent communicators, principled for the betterment of society, and also compassionate human beings in general. In this way, IB education enables students to express themselves freely and define their sense of self, while also finding their place in the world.

The prestigious IB curriculum is recognised in 75 countries and in over 2,000 universities globally.

Parents who choose an international school in Singapore can expect that the holistic framework of the IB curriculum is encompassing and diverse, driven and transdisciplinary. It provides students with life skills that extend beyond the classroom and can be useful in every aspect of their lives.

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