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Dear SSIS Parents –

SSIS is rather unique among international schools in Ho Chi Minh City in ordering both the IB programme and the CollegeBoard AP program for students in our high school. These programs provide an excellent way for students to obtain internationally recognized credentials which strengthen both their education and their applications to selective colleges and universities around the world. Some SSIS high school students follow an AP track, some do the full IB diploma, and almost all will graduate with both AP and IB courses on their transcripts.

Thirty-eight students from last year’s Class of 2017 attempted the full IB diploma, representing 51% of our graduating class. Obtaining an IB diploma requires enrollment in six IB classes that run for two years in Gr11 and Gr12. IB diploma students also are required to complete a class in the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), write a 4000-word extended essay (EE), and complete service projects and reflections on their learning.

Highlights from last year’s graduating class would be:

  • 38 of our seniors attempted the full IB diploma. That represents 51% of our senior class and the largest number in our School’s history.
  • Of the 31 IB classes offered to SSIS students, our average scores were higher than the world average in 27 (87% of the IB classes we offered).
  • Our highest individual student performance was 43/45 points and four seniors scored above 40 points on their diploma. This equals our largest number of 40+ scores set back in 2015.
  • Three SSIS students were awarded the IB Biligual Diploma after demonstrating outstanding language skills in English and one other world language.
  • Our average IB scores for our diploma candidates again ran approximately five points higher than the world average.

IB diploma candidates sit their exams at the conclusion of their senior year which, together with their classroom work marked by the teacher, are graded on a seven-point scale and reported back to SSIS and their universities in July. These grades, together with points awarded for their work in TOK and on the EE are added together to create a composite score on a 45-point scale. A composite score of “24” is considered passing, but many universities, especially those outside the United States (in Canada, Europe, Asia, etc.), have firmly established minimum scores for admittance, with many of the most high competitive universities requiring composite scores in the mid- to high 30s.

There are many ways to offer the IB-DP programme. The programme at SSIS is a very rigorous and challenging one for our students. For example, the IB program offers students the opportunity to study English at different levels (e.g. the higher “English A” and the lower “English B”). Some schools allow students to take English B, which it is less rigorous than English A but allows students to achieve higher composite scores.

We don’t offer English B at SSIS because we believe our students are fully capable of taking English at the “A” level and we know that universities are more likely to admit students who take a higher level IB English course and demonstrate their ability to work in an English-language environment.

There are other examples of how our program differs from the IB programmes offered in other schools. We offer the IB Economic course but not IB Business Studies. Both are offered by the IB organization, but we view the economics course as more rigorous, well within the abilities of our students, and a better credential for students who want to apply to more selective universities.

Our students and teachers work hard together to produce excellent IB results. We congratulate, once again, the Class of 2017 and look forward to continued success with the Class of 2018.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Sylte, Head of School

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