Computer Science IA

Article by: Liz Kang

International School Manila (ISM) offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, which, according to IS Manila’s webpage, is “an academically rigorous and challenging program that is recognized in most countries of the world as a university entrance qualification”. Grade 11 and 12 students are provided with an opportunity to either take full IB Diploma or a partial diploma. In any of these cases, students are required to complete an Internal Assessment (IA) in any of the IB subjects that they have selected. The IA is one of the largest assessments and makes up 20% to 30% of a student’s final grade. IA requirements differ according to the subjects. One of the IB subjects that require students to complete an IA is Computer Science. However, one unique characteristic that distinguishes Computer Science IA’s from others is that it requires students to produce a working application that can be used to better the school community. 

According to one of the senior students who take Computer Science, Gelo Hilario, computer science IA’s requires students “to find a client, who has a specific problem. Students will code a program that will help solve that problem. For example, my mom has always been looking for extra review material for my little sister. So for my IA, I am making a mathematical quiz game for her that will help her review the four basic operations. Basically, students find problems experienced by the ISM community and solve it using programming knowledge.”

Although many students may believe that Computer Science is limited to  computer programming and web science, Computer Science actually encompasses much more than that. According to the Internal Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), Computer Science is an experimental science that allows students to develop “higher-level thinking” by making students “expand the choice of programming languages” to develop learners that are a good match for the “IB learner profile”. This profile, according to the IBO, can be attained through various assessments, one of which is IA. 

Furthermore Gelo stated that “I think [the purpose of Computer Science IA] is to apply the knowledge that we learned in the course to real life problems”. Hence, in Computer Science, many students are open to choose any ongoing issue prevalent in the ISM community and apply what they learned in the course to solve these real-life situations. Computer Science, therefore, allows students to become personally involved with the client and his or her problem and develop greater algorithmic thinking skills also.