How is the IGCSE different from the MYP?

Luna Deller
Updated on
March 30, 2021

Education professionals around the world often turn to certification programmes in order to provide a certain benchmark and the rigour of external assessment for their students. By selecting a certification programme, a school holds itself to a defined standard — allowing an outside party to provide accountability through a set of guidelines and qualifications.

Many international schools, like OWIS, choose between the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) or the Middle Years Programme (MYP). Here are the main differences to consider between these two programmes:

Student Assessments

There are distinct differences between these two programmes when it comes to student assessments. IGCSE requires that all assessments are completed externally. This means that when a student turns in an examination paper, it will be assessed externally by a Cambridge IGCSE examiner. This ensures that all grading is standardised among the Cambridge Assessment International Education schools and kept in line with international standards.

On the contrary, MYP assessments are completed internally within each individual school. This means that one school may interpret the assessment standards one way, while another institution may consider the assessment standards differently. Universities that are considering students from MYP schools understand that there are fluctuations in the assessments, and find it more challenging to weigh student achievements from these schools on the same scale.

Teaching Hours and Curriculum Options

It should be noted that the number of teaching hours, as well as the curriculum options, vary between these two programmes. IGCSE takes pride in the fact that it offers a global context to all of its educational programmes, and it also provides a subject-specific curriculum. Students who are enrolled at an IGCSE school are able to select core subjects, and then enhance their curriculum based on their own interests. IGCSE schools are required to provide a minimum of 65 teaching hours per subject per year.

MYP is a newer programme, and its curriculum is customisable according to each school’s requirements. However, the implementation of the MYP can vary vastly across schools and this can influence its effectiveness. In addition, the MYP programme is geared toward students who want to continue with their studies and does not provide the same flexibility for those who wish to leave school at the age of 16. MYP schools are required to provide a minimum of 50 teaching hours per subject per year.

Future Opportunities

IGCSE is widely recognised as the premier programme for international students between the ages of 14 and 16. About a million students from 10,000 schools in 160 countries are educated every year according to these standards, and universities have long respected this certification programme. 

As the IGCSE is offered at many international schools around the world, it provides an easy transition for students between these schools.

While there are advantages and benefits to both programme types, OWIS offers the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. We believe that this provides our students with an education that is tailored to their own needs and aspirations, while also preparing them for a future in a global economic climate.

To learn more about the rigorous curriculum at OWIS and how it can help international students enrol in the IGCSE, contact us today.

About Author

Luna Deller

Head of Academic Operations, Senior Coordinator - Secondary, Grade 10 Tutor, French Teacher

Luna is originally from Wales, UK. She holds a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, a PGCE in Modern Languages and a Bachelor's Degree in French Studies and Italian Studies from University of Birmingham.

Luna has lived in various countries and has been teaching for many years. Prior to teaching, she was also a linguist in business. She has taught all age ranges in schools. Luna joined OWIS as the Senior Coordinator for the Early Childhood team and now leads the OWIS Secondary team and all whole school programmes.

Luna is driven by the desire to provide an inclusive and stimulating learning experience for all pupils. She values inquiry-led, creative, interactive and trans-disciplinary education; ensuring that curriculum is engaging and thought-provoking, and that students are supported and challenged in order to realise their potential. She believes that children learn best when provided with opportunities to discover the world around them and formulate their own lines of inquiry.

Luna is a massive cheese lover. She likes all cheeses, but most of all boursin, halloumi, cheddar, brie, feta and chevre. "Just cheese please", as she says. She also enjoys reading, running, dancing and painting.

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