CAIE and B.D. Somani: A true affiliation

At B.D. Somani International School we have developed a unique educational approach that seamlessly integrates international frameworks such as the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). In this blog post, we will discuss how we incorporate the CAIE into our Learning Framework to benefit each student’s unique learning journey.

About the CAIE:

CAIE offers international qualifications to over 10,000 schools in more than 160 countries. It is a non-teaching department at the University of Cambridge in the U.K.
CAIE is well known around the world for upholding the highest educational standards. Their curricula and methodologies are regularly updated to ensure students are equipped to excel in an ever-evolving globalised atmosphere. 
Our partnership with CAIE puts us on the global map, and ensures quality education that gives students a competitive advantage no matter where they go.

CAIE's five core elements:

Five fundamental principles govern the CAIE framework:
International Curriculum: Cambridge offers a diverse range of subjects, which allows schools the flexibility to develop a curriculum that aligns with their specific context, culture, and ethos.
Teaching and Learning: Cambridge invests in the ongoing professional development of educators, supporting their growth throughout their careers. The emphasis is placed on teaching methodologies that encourage students to engage in reflective learning.
Assessment: Cambridge designs assessments that are equitable, dependable, and practical. These assessments measure what is deemed valuable: comprehensive subject knowledge, conceptual comprehension, and advanced critical thinking abilities. The adaptable assessment structure prioritises time for teaching and learning.
International Recognition: Cambridge’s qualifications enjoy widespread acceptance by universities and employers on a global scale. Cambridge students can have confidence that their qualifications will be acknowledged and valued in their educational pursuits and future domestic and international careers.
Global Community: Cambridge schools are integral to a vast global educational network. Professional learning communities are nurtured, connecting educators across the world. This facilitates the exchange of ideas, information, and resources, promoting collaborative learning and development.

CAIE in Middle School: The first acquaintance

After going through our International Progressive Early Years and Primary Years’ curricula, our students at BDSIS enter Middle School, where their learning journey incorporates elements from the CAIE curriculum but is heavily influenced by our internal learning frameworks as well.
In Grade 8, our students undertake the Cambridge Lower Secondary Checkpoint examinations in English, Math, and Science, in line with international standards.
This exam is typically for learners aged 11 to 14 years. It helps prepare students for the next step of their education, providing a clear path as they progress through the Cambridge Pathway in an age-appropriate way.
The curriculum offers plenty of opportunities to develop creativity, expression, and well-being in various ways. It focuses on the digital skills that will help with many aspects of their future learning and development.
Subjects to be learnt over three years include English, Social studies, Mathematics, Science, Innovation and Design, World languages (French, Spanish and Hindi), Physical Education, Arts (Visual art, Drama, and Music) and Information and Technology/ Computer science.
Each year is divided into two semesters, which have two quarters each. Each semester, students are assessed by ongoing formative and summative assessments at the end of the semester. At the end of Grade 8, students appear for the Cambridge checkpoint progressive test in three subjects: Mathematics, Science, and English.
The Middle School program encourages students to do problem-solving, project designs, collaborative planning, and use various thinking techniques, exhibitions, and open discussions, which makes them ready for the challenges in the IGCSE and I.B. programs.

CAIE in High School: Integration of CAIE and IBDP Frameworks

In Grades 9 and 10, we follow the Cambridge framework, curriculum, and examinations while incorporating specific IBDP frameworks. Our curriculum is intentionally designed to help students to explore their passions.
Through Cambridge IGCSE, we introduce core subjects like First Language English, English Literature, International Mathematics, and Coordinated Science. This allows students to appreciate the depth and breadth of each topic before specialising further in the IBDP.
Both programs share the goal of nurturing open-minded, globally conscious, and critical thinkers, making the integration of CAIE and IBDP a natural progression. 
Each academic year is divided into four quarters, during which student understanding is assessed through formative and summative assessments. The two years of the IGCSE program at our school strengthen the foundation for our students to develop their conceptual understanding, critical thinking skills, collaboration and communication skills.

The transitions: Challenges and preparations

Preparing for Success: The transition from Middle School to High School and then to IBDP in Grades 11 and 12 brings its unique challenges. One of the most significant challenges is preparing students for standardised examinations.
Starting from Grade 9, students understand the importance of assessments, as these contribute to their IGCSE journey. The transition to IBDP also comes with the growing pressure of university applications. To make these transitions more manageable, we offer University Guidance from Grade 8, each student’s journey is mapped and profiled. We also maintain a vertically aligned curriculum, creating a meaningful and fulfilling school experience.

The biggest responsibility: Empowering educators

At B.D. Somani, we are dedicated to equipping our educators with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively draw methods and practices from CAIE. Our teachers attend workshops organised by Cambridge International Assessment, allowing them to gain a deep understanding of subject-specific syllabi and grading criteria.
Additionally, we provide in-house professional development opportunities where teachers collaborate, navigate School Support Hub, and explore subject-specific resource materials. Teachers are encouraged to apply assessment objectives from their respective syllabi to practical and experiential learning through field trips and creative projects.

In conclusion,

At B.D. Somani International School, we pride ourselves on offering a holistic and student-centric education that ensures success within and beyond our classrooms. The success of our programme is reflected in our students’ consistent performance in international exams and college placements.
In 2023, out of 53 students, an outstanding 52 received the prestigious ICE award, showcasing their excellence in subjects across five critical groups (Languages, Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences, Math, and Professional and Creative).
These candidates not only took exams across these groups, but 31 received a Distinction, and 19 students received a Merit certificate. Plus, a resounding majority of our students scored above B across the 18 subjects we offer at B.D. Somani.
With this track record to inspire us, we aim to continue updating our curriculum and methodologies to bring out the best in our students.
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