Students at OWIS are offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) because it helps them to stand out from others in terms of their knowledge and skills when they apply to universities. Science is a critical component for the IB DP, because it is used in so many important industries and it teaches students analytical skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing Neeti Pal, the Head of Science at OWIS. Neeti told us about how the IB DP engages students in science topics, the assessment process and how the course prepares those interested in a science career for university and the future.
How does the IB DP cover topics in science?
One of the main goals is to teach how scientists work and communicate with each other. So to do this, we actually offer four science subjects: Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science. Apart from having the normal exams, normal individual assessments and extended essays, we also have a group project.
All the students in our group either take Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Computer Science. They have to come together and work on a collaborative 10-hour long project. They work as a team, and then they have to present their findings to the whole school community. Every IB student must do this to attain the IB Diploma.
Is IB science levelled according to ability?
It’s important to provide opportunities for children of all abilities, so we offer both higher level (HL) and standard level (SL). There are different practical requirements for each. There are 60 hours of practical work for HL and 40 hours for SL.
How comprehensive is science education in the IB Diploma Programme at OWIS?
Our labs are fully equipped to help the students do their practical work and have a practical work scheme. HL and SL are offered in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science.
Apart from helping the student through the normal teaching and learning process, we also have individual consultations with the students. For every subject, we have three papers: paper one, paper two and paper three.
We prepare the students for all three papers, and apart from that, students can choose to take the extended essay in any of these four science subjects (or in another IB DP subject group). We prepare them for the exams and the papers.
For the exams, we have both the formative as well as summative assessments in OWIS. In the summative assessment, we prepare the students according to the external IB exams, and for the formative, we do various practicals and other activities as designed by the teachers.
Besides the extended essay in a science subject, if the student chooses that, he or she would also have to go through a mandatory individual assessment (or IA). This contributes to 20% of their marks in the sciences.
How does the IB DP science programme prepare students for the future?
After the IB DP at OWIS, my students are ready to face the world. They are ready to go to university and study the subjects of their choice. Science is a very important subject, because it helps students develop their curiosity.
Through science, students learn how various things work. They learn the scientific method. The thought processes that students develop in scientific studies, particularly in the IB DP, can help students explore the world more deeply and with a greater ability to solve problems for themselves.
Mrs Pal is just one example of the many teachers at OWIS who make a difference in our school. Thank you, Neeti, for explaining the science subject group in our IB Diploma Programme at OWIS.