DP at Tamagawa Questions and Answers
What is the “IB Program”?
The IB Programme is a K-12 educational framework provided via the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). There are four programs offered under the IBO auspices: the Primary Years Programme (PYP) for 3-10 year-olds; the Middle Years Programme for 11-16 year olds (MYP covering grades 7 to 10 in Tamagawa); the Diploma Programme covering the last two years of secondary education; and the Career Programme for 16-19 year-olds who wish to engage in career-related learning. Tamagawa Academy began exploring IB Programs and introduced the MYP as a candidate school in 2007. In March 2009 Tamagawa became an accredited IBO MYP World School, and in July 2010 was authorized to offer the IB Diploma Programme. Tamagawa Academy has established an effective course of IB education spanning the MYP and DP under the integrated educational system. The IB Diploma will be awarded by satisfying prescribed requirements that are adopted in determining admissions at universities all over the world (details are described later).
What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme?
The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a core made up of three separate parts. Candidates for the diploma study six subjects selected from the subject groups. Normally three subjects are studied at the higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three subjects are studied at the standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours). All three parts of the core-extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, and service—are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the IBDP. The Core of the Diploma Programme.
- The Extended Essay (EE) has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words in English. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
- The interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives.
- Participation in the school’s Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) program encourages candidates to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports, and community service work, thus fostering students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.
What is the difference between the IB Course at Tamagawa Academy and an international school in Japan?
With the exception of a few schools, graduates of international schools in Japan do not obtain the qualifications to enter Japanese universities. The IB Course at Tamagawa Academy, however, is a program that is offered by a Japanese school as stipulated by Article 1 of the School Education Act (an “Article 1 School”). It therefore comprehensively covers all curriculum guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), as well as the entirety of the IB curriculum. As a consequence, when a student completes a prescribed program in the IB Course, that student not only earns an IB diploma, a standard employed in determining admissions at universities all over the world, they also obtains a Japanese senior high school diploma.
Are the IB hours of classes the same as for mainstream students?
Tamagawa Academy mainstream students in the Secondary Division have 6-7 classes a day for a total of 35 hours per week while IB students in lower secondary school have 7-8 classes per day plus support classes for a total of 39 hours per week, and in upper secondary school, have 8 classes a day for a total of 41 hours per week.
How are IB students assessed, and how is it reported?
IB students are assessed using the evaluation criteria established by the IBO. We then convert the result into the criterion set by Tamagawa Academy in order to conform to the MEXT’s criteria.
How many hours of home study are necessary?
Generally, students are recommended 2-4 hours a day to study at home. It is important that the students finish their home study and/ or assignments by the next class as such study provides both a bridge between lessons and a chance for students to reflect/review their learning. It is expected that such a review will empower the students to identify areas of difficulty and speak to their teachers about such challenges. Indeed within the IB framework, it is essential that the students ask questions and solve their problems before the next class. We would also like the homework to be a tool students use to develop their time management skills.
Spending 7 years with the same classmates, would it restrict the students' circle of friends?
While at Tamagawa the Homeroom is fixed but there are many opportunities to interact with the students from outside of the IB programs through shared programs, clubs, and a host of other activities such as chapel service, music festival, and sports day. Many IB students who have no problem with their studies are often involved in extracurricular club activities. Our students are part of the Tamagawa student body, not separated from it.
Is it possible to go and study abroad while studying at Tamagawa Academy?
Tamagawa Academy offers a number of international learning opportunities which give students opportunities to study abroad for certain periods of time as follows:
- Ten day-Canada Trip and IB school’s summit conference at Tamagawa Canada Campus for grade 8
- Four to twelve-week Exchange Program for grade 10 (optional)
- Up to six month-Study abroad opportunities for grade 10 (optional)
What are the possibilities for university after graduating from the IB Diploma Programme?
For those who are successfully awarded the IB Diploma, they would be eligible to apply for universities throughout the world since the IB Diploma score is recognized as a worldwide admission criteria. Sometimes its score is also considered for granting a scholarship and/or credit waiver.
As the above-mentioned, the IB Diploma is recognized much more amongst overseas universities than those in Japan, however, thanks to the MEXT’s promotion for the IB Program, there are increasing number of Japanese universities which actively accept IB Diploma as an enrolment qualification.
We do not speak in English at home. Would this be an issue?
We aim to offer a bilingual education that values both the mother language (Japanese) and English; therefore, it is not essential that English is used in home environment. However, we strongly recommend that the family members support their children. Annually we hold, as part of our arent forum, meetings which offer ideas and strategies on how parents can best support English language development at home.
How are the IB teachers selected?
The foreign teachers within the IB are not only native English speakers, but all hold teaching licenses in their own country and/or Japanese special teaching licenses. Furthermore, they have taken a course of the IB pedagogy workshop, and are qualified to teach IB subjects within their given discipline. Our IB teachers are encouraged to take training seminars every 2-3 years, in order to provide a high quality, world standard educational experience for their students.
Is it possible to be admitted to the IB Course with no prior experience studying English?
Or conversely, is it possible to join if one’s Japanese language ability is deficient?
For students applying to enter as 7th grade students (1st-grade junior high students) for the school year beginning April 1st, it is possible to start with no prior experience studying English, but in the IB Course, with the exception of a few subjects (Japanese language, music, physical education, etc.), all classes are taught in English, so students whose English abilities do not meet the standards are required to attend English language support classes, which begin at 7:45, before the start of regular classes. Moreover, English classes are divided up into different levels according to students’ English proficiency level, which provides environments conducive to learning English intensively according to each student’s level.
Students who wish to transfer during or after April of the 1st academic year of 7th grade must have English abilities commensurate with those required for the IB class of the pertinent academic year. The following is a guideline of the levels of English required:
Transfer in/after April, 7th grade:
EIKEN Grade pre-2 or TOEFL iBT score of 50
EIKEN Grade pre-1 or TOEFL iBT score of 80
Concerning Japanese language, as a general rule a student should have abilities commensurate with the pertinent academic year. Because Tamagawa Academy is a Japanese school, some subjects (Japanese language, music, physical education, etc.) are taught in Japanese. Nevertheless, for students who have lived overseas for an extended period of time and lack confidence in the Japanese language, there will be the Japanese language support classes and other such systems in place to help, so please contact us in advance if you have questions.
Is it necessary for the guardians to be able to speak English? How about the guardians who do not speak Japanese?
No. All communication between the school and home can be conducted in Japanese. Some IB faculty members speak and understand Japanese. If any difficulty in speaking Japanese, all our IB faculty can communicate in English, of course.
Are only students returning to Japan from abroad qualified to apply to transfer to the IB Course?
Even if a student attends a school in Japan, if he or she possesses the academic ability as well the English language abilities as mentioned in the preceding section, he or she is qualified to apply. Students are accepted twice a year: in April (with transfer admission examinations held in February) and September (with transfer admission examinations held in July). In cases of prospective students who are returning to Japan from abroad, or who are moving as a result of their parents’ job transfer/relocation, we accept transfers as needed (transfer admission examinations are held on a rolling basis).However, if it is from a school in Japan, the upper limit for transfers is September of 10th grade (the 1st year of senior high school). If a student is returning to Japan from overseas, the upper limit for transfers is April of 11th grade (the 2nd year of senior high school). Please consult with us in advance if a student has attended the DP course abroad.
Does the IB Course accept students from international schools in Japan?
Please consult us in advance for cases of transfers from international schools located in Japan. When such admissions are made, the same upper limit as mentioned in the preceding section for entrance applies, namely the April of 10th grade (the 1st year of senior high school).
Is it possible to take the transfer admission examinations before returning to Japan permanently?
If a student plans to enter the school as a transfer student within a year, it is possible for the student to take the transfer admission examinations when he or she is in Japan temporarily. However, if the student passes and is accepted, he or she must pay admission fees and tuition when those results are announced.
What subjects compose the entrance examination?
The subjects tested are the same for all year levels.
The exam is held at the same time as entrance examinations of the regular course in the junior high school which is in February. The examined subjects are English, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities. The mathematics exam is written in both Japanese and English and the candidate may answer in whichever language they feel comfortable with. The Science and Humanities Exams are written in Japanese only. The interview will be held in both Japanese and English. There will also be an interview for the accompanying guardians.
The content of the Science and Humanities exam for admission to the IB Course differs from that offered in regular course of schools, would that be problematic?
We seek to understand how candidates apply their knowledge in science and humanities as thinking disciplines, rather than measuring how much knowledge they have memorized. The aim is to uncover how they articulate and apply their knowledge in problem solving. For example within science field, candidates will examine experimental data, graph it and then analyze the data. For humanities field, they are required to produce an essay relating to a particular world event and explain how they personally believe this event is related to the world and the challenges it faces.
Are there any foreign students in the IB Course?
Yes. There can be students from foreign countries. Student's nationality is not subject to the admissions criteria, but they must stay with their guardians such as parents.
Is it possible to study languages other than Japanese or English?
Yes, we offer Mandarin in both groups 1 and 2 in DP.
Can we observe the IB classes before enrolling?
We recommend you visit the School before enrolling. It is essential for candidates to observe the School and the IB Course with their own eyes as the IB is a unique learning environment. Please let us know when you would like to visit and we can make necessary arrangements. If you currently live abroad, you can visit us when you come back to Japan temporarily. Other family members and friends who are in Japan are also welcome to visit.