Building Quality Curriculum

As I mentioned in a previous blog, completing an IB evaluation involves a mountain of paperwork. One important aspect of that paperwork is a program called Building Quality Curriculum.  If you have ever wondered how the IB guarantees that MYP schools are producing the best IB education possible, this is part of the answer. 

Prior to an evaluation visit, an MYP school is required to hand in 18 unit plans: two each for each of the eight subject areas, plus two Interdisciplinary Units (IDUs). They should cover all five years of the MYP and be somehow representative of the curriculum as a whole.  Teachers are also asked to do a self-evaluation on any unit they submit, which includes questions about collaborative planning and changes to the unit over time.

But what do the units themselves look like? That’s a big question.  MYP units are made up of more than just story titles or page numbers from a workbook.  They include all the MYP vocabulary: global contexts, related concepts, ATLs, the Learner Profile, etc. Then there is the basic structure of the unit: topics, activities, and possible assessments.  On top of that, teachers often include information on differentiation, opportunities for Service as Action, or connections to other subject areas.  This is where Managebac is helpful; unit plan templates are already laid out in the system, so teachers just need to add the right information.

Interdisciplinary units, which are units that involve two or more subjects, are even more complex.  The IB has very specific requirements for creating IDUs, and teachers who plan them have to work closely together to be sure all the subjects are represented and assessed appropriately.

Whatever they look like in the end, all 18 units are sent to the IB for critique and feedback.  Schools use that feedback to inform their unit planning going forward.  As I write this, we are waiting for those results; once they arrive, we will sit down together to edit or redesign our units.   In a few years, we’ll do it again.  It’s all part of the process.

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