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Hangzhou International School

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Overview of Student Learning

HIS has a strong history of academic success since its founding in 2002. Students have achieved successful results, entered quality universities, and moved further into the larger society as positive contributing citizens of an increasingly more interconnected world. It has been the community atmosphere, the caring and nurturing teachers, and the students themselves who have been responsible for HIS's success.

We are developing student-centered approaches to learning in order to encourage students to build their skill sets and develop their learning through an inquiry format.

The teachers provide effective approaches to teaching to ensure that the content is contextualized and relevant to the real world.

Regardless of whether students attend HIS from Kindergarten through Grade 12 or only stay a few years, we want to ensure that they have access to the academic and life skills that will help them to succeed on into the future. The schoolwide learning outcomes for all HIS students are summarized in our General Learning Targets (GLTs).

General Learning Targets (GLTs)

Every HIS student will demonstrate the following:

Effective Communication:

Expressive skills - the processes and skills used to share ideas in verbal and non-verbal forms

  • I can listen to others to understand meaning.
  • I can watch others to understand meaning.
  • I can read what others have written to understand meaning.
  • I can speak clearly and confidently to tell others what I want them to understand.
  • I can use my creativity through music, art, and movement to help others understand what I want them to understand

High Level Thinking:

The ability to expand learning beyond simple knowledge and recall

  • I can use different thinking skills to see relationships, evaluate, make decisions, and solve problems
  • I can think creatively. I approach topics and problems with lots of ideas.

A Solid Foundation of Knowledge:

Mastery of basic skills in all academic areas in order to integrate and apply skills in real life situations

  • Academic
  • Artistic
  • Physical
  • Technological

Positive Learning Attitudes and Behavior:

Affective and behavioral processes and skills that develop personal responsibility within a learning environment leading to the development of quality products

  • I can set goals in areas that I need to improve. I can plan ways to reach my goals. I can reflect on my goals to see if I improved.
  • I can work well with my peers to solve problems.
  • I can make my work look great! I am organized and prepared to be a good learner.

Global and Community Appreciation:

Affective and behavioral processes and skills that develop an individual’s recognition of his or her role and responsibility within the family, the HIS school community, regional communities and the global community

  • I am a good friend. I get along with people.
  • I can help my community become a better place. I understand that I can make a difference in the world.


HIS is an IB World School and uses the IB Learner Profile as a guide for developing student attributes so that we may nurture the ability of students to use a variety of necessary soft skills including communication, thinking, self-management, research, and social skills. Furthermore, we encourage mindful approaches to resilience, perseverance, inquiry, and being a principled and balanced individual.

The Lower School (Nursery – Grade 5) at HIS is currently following the principles and practices of the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). The curriculum is transdisciplinary in nature, which incorporates subject learning of Math, Literacy, Social Studies, Science, the Arts, and Design/Computer Technology within thematic units of inquiry. In addition to these thematic units, lower school learning is supplemented with the Singapore Math, First Steps Literacy, Jolly Phonics and Kelso’s Choice Conflict Management and Character Building programs. Lower School instruction is also supported by specialists in the areas of physical education, arts, Mandarin and ESOL, learning support, design and library.

For further information on Lower School curriculum and programs, please click on the links below:


The Upper School (Grades 6-12) currently incorporates a Middle School division (Grades 6-8) and a High School division (Grades 9-12). In addition to rigorous academic learning, the Middle School division places great emphasis on social development, participation, exploration of individual skills and interests, and transition to a college-preparatory program. The High School division (Grades 9-12) focuses on greater depth and understanding of subject matter. All High School students earn subject credits for successful completion of each semester at HIS, which are entered into transcripts that are used by many university admissions departments. High School students generally have more elective choices within their academic and extra-curricular learning. Students completing Grade 10 are supported with Academic Guidance and College Counselling so they are ready to commit to IB subject choices and levels, and ready to engage the university admissions process. The goal of High School learning is to complete the graduation requirements for the HIS High School Diploma and be role models of the HIS Mission.

Grades 6 – 10 at HIS currently follows the principles and practices of the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature, which connects some subject learning of Languages, Social Studies, Sciences, the Arts, Physical/Health Education, and Design/Computer Technology within interdisciplinary themes. In addition to these interdisciplinary subjects, students receive additional important personal and social guidance through an advisory/pastoral program that assigns a small number of students to one faculty advisor. Also, students will need to complete a Community Project in Grade 8 and the Personal Project in Grade 10.

For further information on the IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP), please click on the link below:


Grades 11-12 at HIS are authorized to deliver the IB Diploma Programme (DP). The DP curriculum is disciplinary in nature, with students generally selecting higher or standard levels in each of six subject groupings: Language A, Language B, Individuals & Societies, Science, Math, and the Arts. In addition, students have course requirements in Theory of Knowledge (TOK), complete a 4000-word Extended Essay (EE), and satisfy a significant expectation for Creative, Activity, & Service (CAS). While not all students will be registered as full DP students, those who meet all the requirements by the IBO may receive an IB Diploma or IB Bi-lingual Diploma.

For further information on the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP), please click on the link below:

The HIS Organization of Student Learning Breakdown

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