IB DP Coordinator

Andrew MILLER

Özel Bilkent High School was awarded authorisation as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in November 2008 and began teaching Diploma Programme (DP) subjects from September 2009.  The IB DP encompasses a challenging two-year curriculum, aimed primarily at students aged 16 – 19, which leads to an internationally recognised bi-lingual qualification. The IB Diploma encourages students to develop an inquiry-based approach to learning, focusing more on critical analysis, thinking skills and personal expression than simply learning a collection of facts.

Students are encouraged to:

  • ask challenging questions;
  • learn how to learn;
  • develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture;
  • communicate openly and with understanding with those from different countries and cultures become world citizens.

It is important to note that the IB Diploma Programme is a university preparatory programme, therefore, despite the rigorous two years of study, it is suitable for students who wish to study abroad or in Turkey. At Özel Bilkent High School, most students who undertake the IB DP also continue their studies for the Turkish national university entrance exam. This means taking both types of examination is an exceptionally tough path for any student, and as a result may not be suitable for everyone.

The development and delivery of the programme has been effective and our graduating IB cohorts have always achieved above the world average of 29, with a range of scores between 30 and 42. Many graduates from the High School choose to pursue their studies in Bilkent University where, for example, those with the IB Diploma enjoy certain privileges, as is the case in other top Turkish Foundation Universities.

We understand that students who attain a bi-lingual IB diploma have a greater number of options when studying abroad, as well as benefits at Bilkent University, however the Diploma Programme is not always essential as most universities in America, the UK, or Europe offer international undergraduate programmes, and / or excellent foundation programmes, that only require a high school transcript and an internationally recognised certificate proving English proficiency attainment (SAT or ACT exams are also required for universities in North America that can only be taken every two months with the relevant exam board). Students wishing to study in Turkey must take the national university entrance exam, regardless of achieving an IB diploma.

We ensure that all students have the opportunity to join the Diploma Programme as our school counsellors, together with the DP Coordinator, discuss academic and co-curricular progress with each and every student and their parents to ensure that joining the Diploma Programme is the right decision.

Özel Bilkent High School gives particular emphasis on providing professional development opportunities by attending teacher conferences in Turkey, or IB training courses. The latter are either held in countries across Europe, or online. From time to time we invite specialist workshop leaders to provide their expertise so that our teachers may improve their teaching skills and awareness for best practice.

Bilkent University Graduate School of Education (GSE) is an authorised provider of the IB Educator Teacher Award, with only a few universities worldwide having such authority. Bilkent University GSE completed research in 2015 on behalf of IB for all Turkish world school institutions, looking at the impact of the IB on student success at undergraduate level, which is the first of its kind in Turkey, with the findings proving that students are well equipped with the necessary skills for life at university, and beyond, as the cohort who participated in the study received a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 from 4.0.

Bilkent Schools are committed to excellence in teaching and constantly strive to improve student learning through maintaining high classroom standards of education. It is a policy within Bilkent University that all personnel, including the Rector and Director, teach. The classroom should be a familiar place for all members of the school community grappling with the challenges of providing quality learning opportunities to its students and its staff.

The High School has a number of IB external examiners on its staff who moderate and assess students work from other IB World Schools. Although the moderated work is kept highly confidential, this experience helps teachers provide our own students with greater knowledge of the programme. Our high school staff also help train new teachers to the profession either through mentoring practicum students from Bilkent University GSE, or through teaching on credit bearing courses on the Masters in Education Programme.

Many parents have specific questions and concerns about the IB Diploma. If you are such a parent, now there is a resource specifically written for you. The concise 30 page document posted below addresses such questions as:

  • What is the IB diploma Programme?
  • What makes it different from other educational programmes?
  • Is it a suitable programme for my child?
  • Is it a good idea for my school to offer this programme?
  • What questions should I ask the school?
  • How can I help my child making the best of the IB?

Please see the Diploma Programme for Parents for more information and help in answering the above questions.

If you wish to discuss the IB Diploma Programme with our Coordinator, please contact the high school and arrange an appointment.

*Please note that much of the information explained above referring to the International Baccalaureate is taken from www.ibo.org