International School Acronyms – What Does it All Mean?

International schools are all accredited by and work with different boards and associations, which are often listed as acronyms. Here are the most common ones associated with international schools in Malaysia.

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AIMS: Association of International Malaysian Schools – a non-profit membership organisation focused on the development of international education in Malaysia. Objectives include encouraging links between member schools, improving educational standards and to provide a channel of communication between schools and the Ministry of Education / state education offices. 

AP: Advanced Placement – examinations administered by the College Board (US) based on a more demanding curriculum equivalent to university core courses. Helps to boost a student’s GPA (grade point average) and ensure a place at a top-tier university. 

ASIC: Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities – a non-governmental process recognising international schools that satisfy standards. 

CIE: Cambridge International Examinations – the world’s largest provider of international education programmes for students aged five to 19 leading to qualifications including IGCSE, O Levels, AS Levels and A Levels. 

CIS: Council of International Schools – a global non-profit membership community (over 1,300 institutions in 116 countries) working towards improving international education through professional services. 

COBIS: Council of British International Schools – a global membership association providing quality assurance and access to British education developments, professional networking and representing member schools to government agencies and the private sector amongst many other offerings.
 
EARCOS: East Asia Regional Council of Schools – an organisation comprising 165 member schools across East Asia working to encourage intercultural understanding and relationships, improve education standards and develop professional growth. 

FOBISIA: Federation of British International Schools in Asia – a membership association promoting excellence in British-international education, student enrichment and professional development.

GCE A Level: General Certificate of Education Advanced Level – pre-university course taken in the last two years of secondary school culminating in exams taken in three to five subjects chosen on what university course a student intends to pursue. 

HSC: Higher School Certificate – an Australian pre-university qualification based on exam results and projects, assignments and tests taken throughout the course. 

IB: International Baccalaureate – an educational programme for students aged three to 19 focusing on critical and independent thinking and taught on over 5,000 schools worldwide. 

IBDP: International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – a pre-university programme for students aged 16-19 comprising six subject groups and the diploma programme core (theory of knowledge, creativity, activity, service and the extended essay. 

IGCSE: International General Certificate of Secondary Education – examinations and qualifications based on a curriculum set by the different exam boards (e.g. CIE and Edexcel) with the syllabus starting in Year 10 and ending with exams in Year 11. 

IPC: International Primary Curriculum – curriculum for children aged five to 11 with specific learning goals for every subject and taught in over 1,000 schools worldwide. 

ISC: Independent Schools Council – a non-profit organisation with over 1,300 schools within the UK’s independent education sector and British international schools abroad. Its main functions include research, regulatory information and guidance, and promoting the sector. 

NEASC: New England Association of Schools and Colleges – an independent non-profit   membership organisation representing top schools and universities in New England and around the world aimed at maintaining high education standards. 

NFI: Next Frontier Inclusion – an accreditation which encourages and protects the interests of children who have different learning styles and to embrace learning diversity.

SEASAC: South East Asian Student Activities Conference – supports international schools in South-East Asia to achieve educational goals, and encourages closer links within international school community through sports and artistic activities.

WASC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges – a popular accrediting association which 
works with the Office of Overseas Schools under the U.S. Department of State providing accreditations to public and private educational institutions in the US, Pacific Rim and East Asia. 

WIDA: World Class Instructional Design and Assessment – a member-based organisation offering language development resources to help educators teach multi-lingual students. 


Tags: Features, International Schools, IBDP, A-Levels, Malaysia
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