command terms backward planning

I created these documents to support departments in backward planning how they use each command term from the end of the Diploma Programme to the beginning of the Middle Years Programme(MYP) / other pre-IBDP course that is offered in the School. The aim is for each department to plan how they prepare students for the command terms that will be used in the Diploma Programme assessments.

The documents are, where applicable, split into the command terms that apply for each subject`s assessment objectives--taken from information in the subject guide. 

Each backward planning document asks each department to map out how their curriculum matches the requirements of the command term. It focuses on the following:

  • How the command term is applied in the subject.

  • The part(s) of the curriculum that cover the command term.

  • The assessment(s) that test the students against the command term.

  • The teaching resources that are in place to support students in using the command term.

  • The different approaches to teaching that are used to support students` understanding of the requirements of the command term.

It is important to work with the MYP Coordinator / other pre-IBDP course leaders and teachers when introducing this document as the aim is to see how the MYP curriculum / other pre IBDP course is building the skills the students will need when they get to the Diploma Programme.

I introduced the document at a whole staff meeting, giving an example of how History meets the bullet points above for a command term. I then worked with each department focusing on the different part of the document providing a good opportunity for departments to reflect on how much exposure they give the command terms from years 7-13 and to find any gaps in the curriculum. As coordinator is important to lead each department in the mapping of the command terms, this gives a valuable insight into what is required for each subject.

This document can also be used for whole staff training. I have held meetings where staff bring in examples of lesson resources, homework and assessment tasks from their subjects. In teacher trios the teachers discuss how to edit the documents to make them more command term friendly and better prepare the students for the language of the DP exams. This document has led to departments in both the MYP and DP adapt their resources and incorporate command terms into assessments. This give students practice in using them both in the Middle Year Programme, to prepare them for the Diploma Programme, and throughout the Diploma Programme to help prepare them, not only for the types of questions that come up in exams but also to ensure that they are answering exam questions in the correct way. This also helps to make sure that students are not losing marks through a lack of understanding of what the question is asking them to do.