Please describe what the Middle Years Programme entails. Do students take better or different classes? What do they do as students that is different than what they did when they were not part of the Middle Years Programme? How does a student in the Middle Years Programme without a high school 9-10 component look different than a middle schools Middle Years Programme with a 9-10 component?

Question#: 49


The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a whole school approach for Grades 6–10 framework of academic challenge that encourages all student to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. While the MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people to thrive in today’s world, students also are encouraged to continue with an IB education through the rigorous IB Diploma Programme, IB Career Program, or IB courses in Grades 11–12.  The MYP empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally, and globally.  MYP is comprised of eight subject groups:

The MYP requires at least 50 hours of teaching time for each subject group in each year of the programme.  Students must take each of the eight subject groups.  Each year of the programme, students engage in at least one collaboratively planned interdisciplinary unit that involves at least
two subject groups.  Schools determine which two subjects will become an interdisciplinary unit. Students are assessed with MYP criteria for each of these eight subject groups.  MYP schools send a Progress Report twice a year to allow students to see how they are doing based on these criteria.

MYP students also complete a MYP Personal Project in Grade 10, where they decide what they want to learn about, identify what they already know, discover what they will need to know to complete the project, and create a proposal or criteria for completing it.   It is the hope of the IB framework that schools build the project into the expectations of the completion of the programme. Richard Montgomery and Bethesda Chevy Chase high schools have the most experience with the programme and currently have more than 70% of Grade 10 students completing the requirements. Springbrook and Watkins Mill high schools are using the best practices from these two schools to create this experience.  Currently, both schools have an approximate 20% completion rate.  For schools that do not directly feed into a MYP high school (Newport Mill, Silver Spring International, Roberto W. Clemente, and Martin Luther King Jr. middle schools), the IB Community Project is completed in Grade 8. These schools have 100% completion as it is designed within a subject group as outlined by the IB. 

MYP teachers plan and deliver instruction using the MYP Unit Planner, MYP Subject Guides, and Rubrics.  The MYP Unit Planner is designed to think through our MCPS curriculum and Common Core State Standards using a conceptual framework.  Teachers collaborate to plan these units and create an MYP Subject Group Overview to support articulation of the content both horizontally and vertically. 

Teaching in a MYP school requires planning and reflection around three aims:  Context, Concepts, and Approaches to Learning.  

Teaching and learning in context:  Students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives and their experiences of the world of which they have experienced.

Using global contexts, MYP students develop an understanding of their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet through developmentally appropriate explorations of:

  • Identities and relationships
  • Personal and cultural identity
  • Orientations in space and time
  • Scientific and technical innovation
  • Fairness and development
  • Globalization and sustainability

Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local, and global significance and examines knowledge holistically. The MYP prescribes 16 key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each discipline.

A unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, approaches to learning, provides the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self-management skills helps students learn how to learn. 

Finally, all students are required to complete action and service.  Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond.  Students reflect on the action they have completed in terms of the skills they applied to complete the action and how the service helped the common good.  Through this framework, the bottom line is the commitment to the development of students according to the mission of IB, which is demonstrated in the IB learner profile.  The profile aims to develop learners who are:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective