IB results: Singapore excels with nearly half of perfect scorers worldwide

School of the Arts Singapore student Woon Kae celebrates before going on stage to collect her IB results. She scored 44 points. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE – Students who sat the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exams in Singapore in November 2022 have once again done well. Their average score was 39.5 out of 45, higher than the global average of 30.9 and Asia-Pacific average of 35.6.

Nearly half of the perfect scorers worldwide – 55 out of 120 – came from Singapore.

A total of 21 schools in Singapore conducted the IB examinations in November 2022.

These included Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) (Independent), St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah and Singapore Sports School. Students in the international school arms of ACS, SJI and Hwa Chong also collected their results.

The Switzerland-based IB organisation that conducts the exams said that 2,276 diploma programme (DP) and career-related programme (CP) students in Singapore received their results on Tuesday. Globally, there were more than 18,100 candidates.

Nearly all of the students in Singapore, or 98.8 per cent, passed the diploma exams, compared with the global average of 81.7 per cent and Asia-Pacific average of 92.5 per cent.

All 440 of the students from ACS(I) – the first Singapore school to offer the IB diploma after it was accredited in 2005 – passed the IB exam. Their average score was 41.8 points, with 369 of them obtaining 40 points and above.

All 266 IB students at SJI who took the DP passed, with an average score of 41 points; 205 of them attained 40 points and above.

SJI International’s cohort of 198 students scored an average of 39 points, with 50.5 per cent of them attaining 40 points or more.

Of the 21 student-athletes at the Singapore Sports School who took the IB diploma exams, 14 scored 40 points and above.

A total of 164 students from School of the Arts Singapore (Sota) took the IB exams in November. The school recorded a 100 per cent pass rate for both the DP and CP. Its DP students obtained an average score of 39.7 points, with more than one in two scoring 40 points and above.

Woon Kae, 18, who scored 44 points, followed in her older sister’s footsteps by enrolling in Sota and studying music.

Towards the end of her fifth year, the euphonium player found it difficult to breathe during practice. “I couldn’t play the length of phrases I normally could, and it was concerning because I should have been building up my stamina for the final year,” she said.

She was diagnosed with pneumothorax, or a lung collapse, which happens when air leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall, causing the lung to collapse.

Following some procedures and a surgical operation, she was told she could return to playing her instrument after six weeks. But there were further complications, and she had a few more episodes similar to the first, over a period of five months. She was then advised to put playing the euphonium on hold.

“I’m not one to dwell on challenges, I just like to move ahead and fix them. The moment I found out I couldn’t play (the euphonium), my first response was to text my teachers and ask if there was any compromise we could come to,” said Kae, whose younger sister is also in Sota. Her father is a management consultant and corporate trainer, and her mother is a project manager in a bank.

Woon Kae (seated, right) with her parents and sisters. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

With Sota’s help, she was given permission from IB to play the piano for some of her submissions. “That was quite stressful for me, because the last time I took piano lessons, I was 12... I played the piano recreationally, but nowhere near the level of commitment of my peers who specialise in piano.”

Her condition is under control now, and Kae hopes to continue playing the euphonium recreationally. She also developed an interest in economics and is thinking about where to go for her university studies – either in Britain or here.

Of her time in Sota, she said: “I’m so grateful to have this community... to run this race together. There was never a time I felt alone.

“Almost everybody I came into contact with at Sota helped me in one way or another, whether it was keeping track of my deadlines or providing me with notes for classes that I missed. I’m grateful that all my peers looked out for me.”

Dana Cheng from SJI, who scored 43 points, said the small-group discussions, research and coursework in the IB programme have made her more open-minded and taught her to value multiple perspectives.

The 18-year-old, whose father is a commercial pilot and mother a human resource manager, also developed an interest in sustainability through studying issues such as Jakarta’s plastic bag ban in economics class. She hopes to pursue environmental studies in the United States.

In a statement, Mr Olli-Pekka Heinonen, director-general of the IB, said: “It is imperative to remember that in simply getting to this point, IB students have had to show incredible resilience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The global crisis threw up many challenges for them to overcome, and I am proud of every single IB student completing their courses today. For everyone in the IB family, today is a day for both celebration and reflection.

“Recognising that students globally continue to face disruption to their lives and their teaching and learning as a result of the global pandemic, the IB made adaptations to help address the challenges, including adjustments to learning, teaching and assessment, for the November 2022 examination session.”

While the vast majority of students were able to sit the examinations, the IB said it allowed for grades to be awarded without written examinations as a contingency measure for circumstances that prevented exams from being administered.

“The impact of the pandemic on students was taken into account throughout the grade awarding process for the November 2022 examination session, and appropriate grade boundaries were set to account for the disruption to education. A review of results was undertaken to ensure the IB mitigated the disruption students face,” the organisation said in a statement.

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