Middle Years Programme

The MYP is a framework that nurtures the whole child, placing equal importance to all subjects, as well as skills, socio-emotional learning, and conceptual understandings.
The MYP is programme that focuses on developing knowledge, skills, and conceptual understandings to help students demonstrate what they are able to do with what they  know…. Not just what they know.


Sandra Tull

Middle Years Programme Coordinator

Explore the Middle Years Programme

What is the MYP?

The MYP is a programme designed for students ages 11-16.

Teaching in IB programmes is:

Through the six teaching principles stated above, the IB and GIS agree that students learn best when they investigate personally, and locally and globally significant issues by: 

  • formulating their own questions
  • designing their own inquiries
  • proceeding with research, experimentation, observation and analysis that will help them find their own responses to the issues

Meet Jeeya Mahajan, Grade 11 at GIS

Discover the unique opportunities, innovative projects, and enriching experiences that await students in the MYP, as they delve into a diverse range of subjects, develop critical thinking skills, and cultivate a global perspective.

  • MYP in GIS

    School must have a growth and evolving mindset as providers of education in the present, if they want to be the source of learning.  What is more, schools should be looking at embracing systems that foster development and stay relevant with the time students are living. This is the reason why GEMS International School (GIS) is a continuum school of the International Baccalaureate (IB).  

    IB programmes are research-based and are evaluated and updated periodically by a group of experts that investigate how teachers teach, and how students learn in order to ensure pertinence and actualization of the programmes. This foundational principle allows the MYP to be an IB School to be a framework that stays current. It also ensures the MYP is a framework that nurtures the whole child, placing equal importance to all subjects, as well as skills, socio-emotional learning, and conceptual understandings.

    The MYP is programme that focuses on developing knowledge, skills, and conceptual understandings to help students demonstrate what they are able to do with what they  know…. Not just what they know.

  • Subjects Covered

    The MYP organizes teaching and learning through eight subject groups:

    • language and literature (Arabic and English)
    • language acquisition (Arabic, French, and Spanish)
    • Individuals and societies (Integrated Humanities)
    • Sciences (Integrated Sciences)
    • Mathematics (With the option of extended Mathematics as of Grade 9)
    • Arts (Drama, Music, and Visual Arts)
    • Physical and health education
    • Design

    In order to encourage students to consolidate skills needed for their future DP choices, at GIS we have allowed for flexibility in grades 9 and 10 offering the following subjects as electives:

    • Arts: Drama, Music, and Visual Arts
    • Physical and health education
    • Design: Product Design, Food Design, and Design Technology.

    In order to comply with the Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates, GIS also offers Islamic Education, which is approached following the principles of Individuals and Societies. This subject is offered for both Arabic and non-Arabic speakers.

  • Assessment

    The MYP learning experience embraces assessment principles of content, skills, and conceptual understandings. To accomplish this, each subject group assesses learning using four different criteria.

    Parents must understand that assessment for learningin the MYP is not reflected in traditional exams and tests. While these are instruments that are indeed used in the MYP, MYP assessment requires teachers to assess the prescribed subject-group objectives using the assessment criteria for each subject group in each year of the programme through a variety of assessment strategies.

    Each of the MYP assessment criteria is awareded a level from 0-8. Each of the possible levels reflects a qualitative description that explains the extent to which students are able to demonstrate subject-specific knowledge, skills, and relevant conceptual understandings, and grow in complexity in each year of the programme.

    The highest level of achievement in each criterion is 8 (8X4 =32). Once teachers assess the four assessment criteria, a final level of achievement is determined using the following boundaries:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
    0-3 4-7 8-12 13-17 18-22 24-27 28-32

  • Formative Assessment

    The MYP is a programme that promotes formative assessment. This means that the work students produce in class, their engagement in different learning experiences which are related to specific criteria or strands of a criterion is recognized and valued. Formative assessment is continuous and assesses students’ conceptual attainment, development of skills and dispositions, and not solely quizzes and tests.

    Formative assessment may take the form of questions, exit tickets, individual conferences, responses to feedback, etc. Parents will learn about formative assessment and assessment in the MYP through different engagements with the MYP coordinator during GIS ConnectEd Sessions.

  • Service as Action

    In order to bring the IB Learner Profile attributes to life in the MYP, service learning is promoted in all MYP subject groups. Learning by doing and experiencing is central to IB philosophy and practice. Therefore, GIS encourages principled action as a key feature of the MYP. 

    GIS has a system in place which requires students from grades 6 to 9 to complete 2 meaningful service experiences as a minimum following the guidelines in the student service handbook. Grade 10 students must complete at least 1 effective experience. Students are guided by the MYP Coordinator and the Service as Action coordinator to understand what service and action are, how they can design effective learning experiences, and how they can evaluate them and reflect on them.

    Service as Action in the MYP is part of the core and all students are required to meet the requirements stated in GIS Service Handbook.

  • The Personal Project

    The personal project encourages students to practise and strengthen their approaches to learning (ATL) skills, to consolidate prior and subject-specific learning, and to develop an area of personal interest. The personal project provides an excellent opportunity for students to produce a truly personal and often creative product/outcome and to demonstrate a consolidation of their learning in the MYP. The project offers many opportunities for differentiation of learning and expression according to students’ individual needs. The personal nature of the project is important; the project should revolve around a challenge that motivates and interests the individual student. Each student develops a personal project independently. 

    MYP projects are student-centred and age-appropriate, and they enable students to engage in practical explorations through a cycle of inquiry, action and reflection. MYP projects help students to develop the attributes of the IB learner profile; provide students with an essential opportunity to demonstrate ATL skills developed through the MYP; and foster the development of independent, lifelong learners.

    The Personal Project Objectives

    The objectives of the personal project state specific targets for learning. They define what the student should be able to accomplish as a result of completing the personal project.  These objectives are described below:

    A - Investigating

    In order to be successful in this objective, students must define a clear goal and context for the project, based on personal interests; they need to identify prior learning and subject-specific knowledge relevant to the project, and to demonstrate research skills.

    B - Planning

    In order to be successful in this objective, students must develop criteria for the product/outcome; they have to plan and record the development process of the project, and to demonstrate self-management skills.

    C - Taking action

    In order to be successful in this objective, students must use the success criteria they developed to produce their product/outcome. While developing their product/outcome, students need to demonstrate thinking, communication and social skills.

    D - Reflecting

    In order to be successful in this objective, students must evaluate the quality of the product/outcome against their criteria; they have to reflect on how completing the project has extended their knowledge and understanding of the topic and the global context as well as on their development as an IB learner through the project.


    Parents and students are engaged in learning about the personal project in the second semester of grade 9. After this introduction, students have a few months to make a decision about the project they would like to pursue, and then they make a proposal for a project, and they receive a personal project supervisor who coaches them through the process in grade 10.


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