The International School of Aberdeen (ISA) was founded in 1972 and specialises in offering an internationally recognised co-educational pre-kindergarten through secondary school education for students of all nationalities. ISA's programme of studies has been developed to meet the needs of its student body by utilising the best examples of international curricular models. The International School of Aberdeen is jointly accredited by the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The school is organised into three sections: Elementary (Pre-school—grade 5/Nursery-P6), Middle School (grades 6—8/P7-S2) and High School (grades 9—12/S3-S6). With a total population near 450 students, ISA’s student body represents 42 nations. ISA’s teaching staff (from the UK, US, and eleven other countries) are university certified and more than half hold advanced degrees.
ISA moved into a new purpose-built school during the summer of 2010. The main school building is characterised by a large entrance foyer and 'Street' that connects the teaching area with a multi-level Library/Media Centre, a 300 seat theatre, a unique 'Black Box' theatre, cafeteria and sports complex. The two teaching wings consist of 40 general classrooms, five science labs, three computer labs, three performing arts rooms (band, choir & drama), specialist EAL and learning support rooms, two art studios, and numerous offices and meeting rooms. ISA has recently extended to add on 11 new classrooms and has a remodelled Pre-School. ISA's sporting facilities include two gymnasiums, a fitness suite equipped with a wide range of modern equipment, a multi-purpose room, an 8m 'natural rock' climbing wall and a 25m, six-lane swimming pool. Outside, the school has 2 playgrounds, separate preschool and kindergarten play areas, two FIFA grade, all-weather playing fields, and two tennis courts.
French and Spanish are taught from Pre-School Senior, and a mother tongue Dutch and French CNED programme is offered in the Elementary School and and Middle School. English as an Additional Language (EAL) is available for students requiring support with English as an academic language. The school provides limited specialist assistance for students with mild learning difficulties. Careful admissions analysis of student needs ascertains whether appropriate services can be provided. All students are expected to complete ISA’s regular curriculum; Learning Support and EAL help to reach that goal.
Various club, student council, and athletic opportunities are available for students in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. Field trip opportunities are available within Scotland for students in all grades. Opportunities to travel outside Scotland are available to Middle School and High School students in athletics and vocal or instrumental music. Additionally, High School students have the opportunity to travel to other countries for grade level curriculum-related or community service trips, Model United Nations events, and modern language immersion trips.
All students graduating from the International School of Aberdeen earn an ISA High School Diploma. To earn an ISA High School Diploma, students must earn a minimum of 24 credits in the following areas:
Computers-1 (or proven competency)
Physical Education-2 (to include 0.5 Health)
The majority of ISA High School students take four years of mathematics, science and social studies, and three to four years of a single foreign language to meet the standards of many colleges and universities. ISA graduates are prepared to enter colleges and universities and each year over 95% elect to do so.
In addition to earning the ISA High School Diploma, students may enrol in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme. The IB Diploma Programme offers students a rigorous curriculum and opportunities for advanced research in grades 11 and 12, as well as Community, Activity, and Service expectations (CAS). It is recognized world-wide as the most challenging high school course of study, preparing students for success at the university level. At ISA, students may participate in the IB Diploma Programme or choose to take individual IB courses and sit exams for certificates in those subjects.
An ISA student’s MS/HS transcript includes only courses and grades earned at The International School Aberdeen.
Due to the nature of our school, mobility of our student body and small class sizes, ISA does not compute or report class rank. Tertiary education institutions will calculate GPAs themselves (if required) using their own system of weightings based on the transcript submitted by ISA.
When reports are issued a letter grade against each descriptor of the following is included – C - Consistently, M - Mostly, S – Sometimes, R – Rarely.
The student is well prepared for class, submits quality work that meets deadlines and organizes their time effectively. The student seeks support and guidance when needed.
The student is focused and on task in class, ensuring a high level of effort and perseverance. The student takes risks with their thinking and willingly participates in discussions.
The student works constructively with others and is an effective communicator; listening respectfully to ideas and feedback from both teachers and students.
Achievement is reported against specific standards that give more of an insight into a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Assessments are graded against specific standards, each scored on a 1-4 scale;
Limited Progress or Insufficient Evidence
With many standards being assessed over the course of a semester, teachers have clustered related themes into between 3 and 5 ‘Reporting Standards’ that will appear on report cards by subject.
In an effort to create an easily understandable, internationally-minded means by which to report achievement, students in Grades 9-12 are scored on a 1-7 scale with the following descriptions of those levels;
ISA is now a registered testing centre for IGCSE qualifications offered by UK exam boards.
Our students have had outstanding success with university offers based upon their end of 12th grade International Baccalaureate Diploma qualification (S6) and studies show that this program prepares students very well for university. While IGCSE’s are not required for UK university admissions, some families have appreciated this opportunity for additional subject qualifications of interest prior to starting the IB program.
Students entering Grade 9 (S3) will embark upon several courses that meet the requirements of the Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses. Students will therefore have the option of taking these external exams at the end of Grade 10 (S4). Taking these exams is not mandatory. The 9th and 10th grade registration forms also explains the timetable for these exams.
IGCSE subjects available are; English, International Mathematics, Global Perspectives, French, Spanish, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Art and Design, Computer Science. Families will be invoiced £80 pounds per subject to cover exam entry and invigilation costs.
9th and 10th grade classes will cover material at the ‘Extended Level’ that gives access to IGCSE grades A*-E, but it should be noted that to complete the Extended exam in Maths, students need to be in the 9E class (the 9C class meets the Core requirements).
All students will study Integrated Science in Grade 9 and can then choose in Grade 10 to specialise further in sciences (biology, chemistry, physics). These combined two years would prepare students for the IGCSE exam.
To study for a French or Spanish IGCSE, a student should have some prior exposure to their intended language.
Students can choose to take Art and Design and Computer Science as one year, stand-alone elective courses but will need to register again for the remaining modules in Grade 10 if they wish to complete the IGCSE course.
Further details of our Cambridge IGCSEs can be found at http://www.cie.org.uk/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-secondary-2/cambridge-igcse/.
If you would like more details about specific subjects please visit the CIE website. For queries regarding exam logistics, please contact Valerie Degraw firstname.lastname@example.org).
For further information about the IB program for grades 11 and 12, please contact Jennifer Purpura (JPURPURA@isa.aberdeen.sch.uk) or view our IB details at International Baccalaureate page.
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