Pathways To Learning... Since 2005
Hong Kong Registered School 566985

In-Person or Online

Course Finder

HK Inside News and Views


By ITS Education Asia

We’ve all heard about the IB Diploma, but what does it really stand for, what does it actual mean and what are the benefits? Learn more about the uniqueness of the IB Diploma at CDNIS and our own opinion on the advantages of the IB Dip.

The challenging, but highly rewarding two-year Diploma Programme (DP) is a core aspect of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum offered at Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS).

What distinguishes the programme at CDNIS from other DP programmes in the region is the fact that all students at CDNIS take the full DP and twin it with the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Graduating with two high school diplomas offers students versatility in their applications to post-secondary institutions. We encourage students to apply on the strengths of both programmes, with the OSSD showcasing a student’s academic prowess and progress within a more specific discipline over a narrower time frame, while the IBDP allows students to demonstrate the type of broad-minded and deeply reflective individuals they have become over a longer period of time.

Helping students understand and manage the complexities of two curriculum paths is the task of the CDNIS Guidance office – a group of six professionals trained in the IB and the OSSD who give excellent guidance to each individual student on their pathway through the programmes. For a medium-sized school, CDNIS offers a wider range of options compared to other similar-sized schools, including four Humanities, four Arts and six Sciences. The Guidance Department helps students sort out this menu of choices based on their interest, aptitude, and early thoughts about university programmes of study and careers.

According to CDNIS’ Head of Upper School Guidance Catherine Irvine, the breadth of courses offered at CDNIS is consistent with the school’s goal of producing well-rounded graduates. She says, “By taking the DP along with the OSSD, students keep more doors open for further study as it requires them to take subjects in a wide array of areas.  In addition, to be successful, both programmes require refined study skills and strong time management that allows students to transition more successfully at the postsecondary level.”

Another unique aspect of CDNIS’ approach to the IBDP is that students are encouraged to write their independent Extended Essay (EE) of 4,000 words on any topic that interests them. Many schools restrict student choice in the EE to subjects that students are currently taking, especially at the Higher Level. There is value in extending a familiar subject area further, but CDNIS believes that the EE needs to mirror the spirit of enquiry found in other aspects of the IB programme. Students at CDNIS have come through the PYP and the MYP so we feel that it is important for students to continue their enquiry and risk taking into areas such as Global Studies, Women’s Studies, and World Religions. If students can dream up a viable topic, we will find a way to support them!

According to Grade 12 student Nicole: “The programme strikes a fine balance between providing a curriculum that allows for the exploration in a multitude of knowledge areas, yet still encouraging students to pursue areas of self interest”.

“As a teacher, I love the flexibility of Literature curriculum within the IB Diploma,” says Joe Holroyd, CDNIS’ IB DP Coordinator and teacher of Literature, Theory of Knowledge, and Film. “It allows me to really find common ground between my own and the student's interests. Some texts may be particularly relevant to Hong Kong or Canadian culture, others based on publications and academic interests of the teachers - so we create a curriculum that truly represents and serves our community.”

In turn, the impressive academic performances of students reflect the depth of their learning experiences at CDNIS. In 2016, 98 percent of students received their IB Diploma, with an average score of 36.4 – significantly higher than the global average of 30.07 points. In addition, three students achieved the maximum score of 45, a figure gained by only 146 students, or 0.1 percent, worldwide.

CDNIS’ Canadian identity emphasizes the values of balance, acceptance, and kindness. We encourage students to be true to themselves as individuals, and watch with pride as the students support each other as a community. CDNIS is a school that is truly united by the joy of learning, and their happiness is a key factor in their success.

So what are the advantages? Here’s our low-down on this.

-The study of six subjects from a prescribed pattern ensures that students follow a broad and balanced course of study

-The courses are designed specifically for international students

-The others areas of study such as Physical Education, the Theory of Knowledge and Creativity, Activity & Service (CAS), are compulsory, but actually count towards your overall Diploma

-The Diploma is based on points scored in each subject; therefore, if a student does not do very well in one area, it can be compensated for by a better performance in another

- The IB Diploma is welcomed by universities throughout the world as an excellent preparation for undergraduate study. It is highly regarded by European and USA institutions and is fully accepted and welcomed by all UK universities.


Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Share Now!