IB Middle Years Programme

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP), is an educational program for students between the ages of 11 to 16 around the world as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum. MYP is intended to prepare students for the two-year IB Diploma Programme (IBDP).[1]

In the MYP, students are required to receive instruction in all 8 subject groups; Language Acquisition, Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Arts, Physical and Health Education, and Design. Typically, a student must receive at least 50 hours of instruction in all 8 subject groups every year. However, with permission from the IB, schools can acquire curriculum flexibility to only require 6 of the 8 subject areas during the final two years of the MYP. The full program lasts 5 years although shorter programs, lasting two, three, or four years, can be adopted with permission from the IB.[2] There are many requirements that must be fulfilled in order for a school to offer MYP, such as receiving authorization from the IB, having sufficient funding,[3] and finding teachers that are willing and able to commit to the additional demands (e.g., completing ongoing IB teacher trainings and complying with the structured curriculum).[4]

A core part of IB MYP is community service. The community and service area requires students to study and perform community studies and service throughout the program. Some schools and districts, like the Upper St. Clair School District[5] and Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland)[6] either require or highly encourage a set number of hours of community service to be completed by each student, while schools like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools[7] and Round Rock Independent School District[8] require students to complete the "Community Project" for students to complete the program during Year 3 or 4.

Curricula framework

The program is based on six Global Contexts. Global Contexts are considered a key feature of the MYP. They are not generally taught as separate courses, but rather as themes that are reflected in all subjects through unit questions.

In addition to the eight subject groups, in MYP 5, students complete a long-term project (the personal project) on a topic of their choice, with teacher supervision (this is also graded with its own separate criteria). Students in MYP 3-4 complete the community project.

MYP documentation is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Subject groups

The subjects taught in the MYP are divided into eight subject groups.[9]

  • Language and Literature ("Language A" before 2014)
  • Language Acquisition ("Language B" before 2014)
  • Individuals and Societies ("Humanities" before 2014)
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Physical and Health Education ("Physical Education" before 2014)
  • Design ("Technology" before 2014)

Schools can choose the subjects they teach within each subject group and how many. However, each subject group must receive a minimum of 50 hours of curriculum time each academic year. In years 4 and 5, schools can request to only require students to receive 50-hours of instruction in six of the eight subject groups.[10] A student could take another "Language and Literature" course if they have sufficient proficiency in both (In MYP4&5 this could replace the Language Acquisition course). Schools are given much flexibility to allow them to introduce subjects they consider important and organize their own student assessment and reporting procedures. However, the MYP gives clear criteria for each subject group. The criteria get progressively harder with the first year of MYP using the MYP1 criteria, then the second and third year using the MYP3 criteria and finally the last two years using the MYP5 criteria. Each year, MYP students participate in one interdisciplinary that combines at least two of the subject groups; there is a separate criterion for interdisciplinary learning.

IB MYP Certificate

The MYP Certificate is the highest award available in MYP. In 2016, the MYP eAssessments will be the new form of the optional external moderation.[11] To receive the MYP Certificate, each candidate must complete at least one eAssessment in:

  • Language and literature
  • Individuals and societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Language acquisition (or second Language and literature)
  • Physical and health education, Arts, or Design
  • The MYP Personal project

The subject with the highest level, within each bullet point above, will be put on the certificate, to be added to create a total out of 56. The pass requirements is that, each group must have a subject with at least a level 3, the total must add to 28 and the candidate must meet the Service and Actions requirements set by the school.[12]

eAssessment in 2016
How it will be marked Type of Assessment Group Offering
Individually, externally marked On Screen Examination Subjects Language and Literature Arabic
Individuals and Societies Geography*
Integrated Humanities*
Sciences Biology*
Integrated Sciences
Mathematics Mathematics
Extended Mathematics*
Interdisciplinary Interdisciplinary learning**
Internally marked, externally moderated with Dynamic sampling Course Work ePortfolio Language Acquisition Arabic
Chinese (Mandarin)
Arts[13][14] Visual art
Integrated Visual Arts
Integrated Performing Arts
Physical and Health Education -
Design[14] Digital Design
Product Design
Combined Design
MYP Personal Project N/A Moderation in Arabic
Moderation in Chinese (Mandarin)
Moderation in English
Moderation in French
Moderation in Japanese
Moderation in Russian
Moderation in Spanish
Moderation in Swedish
Moderation in Turkish

Subjects may be added after the 2016 examinations.

*May not be offered in French or Spanish (all other subjects are)

**Spanish only has interdisciplinary examination in sciences[15]

Assessment criteria

Each subject group uses 4 criteria to mark a student's ability in the subject. At the end of the year, teachers give a final score, out of 8, on each criterion based on the student's performance throughout the whole year. The scores of the 4 criteria are added up and converted to a grade out of 7. This grade is meant to demonstrate the student's overall ability in the subject, with 1 being the lowest achievement and 7 the highest achievement.

Next Chapter Grade Boundaries
Total Criteria Levels Grade
1-5 1
6-9 2
10-14 3
15-18 4
19-23 5
24-27 6
28-32 7

Next Chapter Criteria for Each Subject Group

Language and Literature[16]

  • A: Analysing
  • B: Organizing
  • C: Producing Text
  • D: Using Language

Language Acquisition[17]

  • A: Comprehending spoken and visual text
  • B: Comprehending written and visual text
  • C: Communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text
  • D: Using language in spoken and/or written form

Individuals and Societies[18]

  • A: Knowing and Understanding
  • B: Investigating
  • C: Communicating
  • D: Thinking Critically


  • A: Knowing and Understanding
  • B: Inquiring and Designing
  • C: Processing and Evaluating
  • D: Reflecting on the Impacts of Science


  • A: Knowing and Understanding
  • B: Investigating Patterns
  • C: Communicating
  • D: Applying Mathematics in Real-Life Contexts

The Arts[21]

  • A: Knowing and Understanding
  • B: Developing Skills
  • C: Thinking Creatively
  • D: Responding

Physical and Health Education[22]

  • A: Knowing and Understanding
  • B: Planning for Performance
  • C: Applying and Performing
  • D: Reflecting and Improving Performance

Design [23]

  • A: Inquiring and Analysing
  • B: Developing Ideas
  • C: Creating the Solution
  • D: Evaluating

Interdisciplinary learning[24]

  • A: Disciplinary Grounding
  • B: Synthesizing
  • C: Communicating
  • D: Reflecting

Personal Project[25]

  • A: Investigating
  • B: Planning
  • C: Taking action
  • D: Reflecting

Learner profile

At the center of the MYP is the IB Learner Profile, which defines the type of students all the IB programmes (PYP, MYP, and DP) are intended to develop.[26]

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

Global Contexts

There are six Global Contexts (GCs) which are applied to every course the student takes. They are designed to help students recognize the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them, to tie the various subject areas together, and eventually to help students "see knowledge as an interrelated, coherent whole."[27]

The GCs should be linked to every topic they learned in class and every assessment they do.

The Global Contexts are as follows:

  1. identities and relationships
  2. personal and cultural identity
  3. orientations in space and time
  4. scientific and technical innovation
  5. fairness and development
  6. globalization and sustainability

Personal Project

The "Personal Project" a culmination of student learning and a focus of the areas of interaction. Just as with the extended essay in the IB Diploma Programme, students are required to choose an academic or non-academic topic or subject for their project, which they are expected to complete over the course of the school year. Students are required to keep a personal journal while working on the process, and schedule regular meetings with an MYP teacher who will serve as their advisor throughout the year; in addition, a final reflection must be written upon the completion of the project which explains how it ties in with at least one of the Global Contexts.[28][29] To get the MYP certificate, the candidate must get at least 3 out of 7 in the final score.


In order to officially participate in an official IB Middle Years Program, students must attend an authorised IB World School.[30] In the U.S., the program is often taught throughout middle school and the first two years of high school. Typically, middle schools and high schools work in coordination with each other.[3]



The application process, taking 1.5 to 3+ years, to become an IB World School with the MYP can total as much as US$23,000, with additional costs for teacher training, annual fees, and test fees.[31]

The IB publishes candidate fees of US$9500 per year, and US$8920 per year once authorized.[32] Schools are also required to involve their teachers in IB-sponsored professional development, which can cost as much as US$729 per course.[33]


Within the United States, the IB curriculum has been criticized as "non-American" and "non-Judeo-Christian", and for promoting international declarations not endorsed by the U.S. government, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Earth Charter. In an interview published in IB World magazine, IB was praised for converting students from "national citizens" to "global citizens".[31] The Ambrose School, a Christian academy in Idaho, stated: "classical education bases itself in the traditional Western Christian ideal of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. The IB pursues a postmodern view of tolerance and relativism."[34] In 2012, the New Hampshire Republican Party stated in its platform that it would "oppose laws and programs contrary to our founding principles such as Sharia Law, the International Baccalaureate Program, UN Agenda 21 or other 'sustainable development' programs."[35]

Evidence of benefit

The Chicago Tribune reported that in 1998 in that city's Beverly neighborhood, only 67 students in the 8th grade chose to attend the local public high school, which offered an IB program. After a cluster of Beverly schools began the IB Middle Years Program in the 1999–2000 school year, the number of neighborhood 8th graders who chose to attend the local high school increased to about 150. One student was quoted, "I had really good teachers in the IB program."[36]

A prospectus published in 2007 by Denver Public Schools (DPS) stated:

There is no available evidence that the IB will increase student achievement in DPS schools or that the IB has had a positive effect on student achievement in similar districts or schools. A thorough search of the literature has netted no empirical studies on the effects of IB on student achievement. The IB, itself, publishes no such results.[37]

In 2011, Greenwich Public Schools reported that they were not able to indicate an improvement in test results at their IB school.[38]

In 2015, teachers at an elementary school in the South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey appealed to their employer to stop funding the IB Middle Years program at their school because "it was bringing no added value, was wasting their time and that of their students, and was bleeding resources from the district that were sorely needed elsewhere".[39]


  1. Djan, Nhari (18 February 2015), "The Lasso in the News-Press: Middle Years Program & Flipped Classrooms", Falls Church News-Press, retrieved 1 August 2016
  2. "Middle Years Programme". International Baccalaureate. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  3. Benton, Nicholas F. (10 May 2016), "F.C.'s 4 Principals Share Passion For IB Program With School Board", Falls Church News-Press, retrieved 1 August 2016
  4. Huffman, Alexa (18 March 2015), "International Baccalaureate middle years program on hold", Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune, retrieved 1 August 2016
  5. "International Baccalaureate / MYP Community Service". www.uscsd.k12.pa.us. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  6. "Community and Service". www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  7. "Piedmont Open IB Middle School". schools.cms.k12.nc.us. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  8. "8th Grade Community Project | Grisham Middle School". grisham.roundrockisd.org. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  9. "MYP curriculum | International Baccalaureate® - International Baccalaureate®". ibo.org. Archived from the original on 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  10. "Curriculum". International Baccalaureate. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  11. "Assessment from 2016". International Baccalaureate. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  12. "Grading and awards - International Baccalaureate®". ibo.org. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  13. "Arts". International Baccalaureate. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  14. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Assessment from 2016". International Baccalaureate. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  16. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Language and literature" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  17. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Language Acquisition" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  18. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Societies" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  19. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Sciences" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  20. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Mathematics" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  21. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Arts" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  22. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Physical Health Education" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  23. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Design" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  24. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Interdisciplinary Learning" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  25. "International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Subject Brief : Personal Project" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  26. "The Middle Years Programme" (PDF). Ibo.org. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  27. "IB MYP curriculum". ibo.org. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  28. "IB MYP curriculum, Personal Project". ibo.org. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  29. "MYP: A closer look at the Personal Project". ibo.org. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  30. "General FAQ". ibo.org. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  31. McGroarty, Emmett (May 26, 2011). "International Baccalaureate Undermines U.S. Founding Principles". U.S. News & World Report.
  32. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-05. Retrieved 2013-12-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. "Professional Development, Workshops and Events". International Baccalaureate Organization. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  34. "A Perspective on the International Baccalaureate". Ambrose School. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  35. "Platform: Statement of Principles". New Hampshire Republican Party. September 29, 2012.
  36. Olszewski, Lori (June 25, 2002). "World Class Education in Middle Schools Too". Chicago Tribune.
  37. "Denver Public Schools: International Baccaulariate Prospectus" (PDF). Denver Public Schools. Jan 22, 2007.
  38. Chamoff, Lisa (Feb 23, 2011). "To IB or Not to IB?". Greenwich Citizen.
  39. Mann, Mary (February 24, 2015). "Teachers Ask South Orange-Maplewood District to Stop Funding IB". The Village Green.


  1. Seigel, Dora. "Complete List of IB Schools in the USA, by State". blog.prepscholar.com. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
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