Language B and ab initio Syllabus Changes

Language B and ab initio Syllabus Changes

Starting September 2018, the language acquisition syllabus will be slightly modified. First examinations will start in 2020. Here is what has changed.

The IB changes its syllabi roughly every seven years to ensure courses are up to date with the present teaching landscape. Inevitably, this means that students and teachers need to be on their feet for possible changes in their subjects.

Starting September 2018, the language acquisition syllabus (that means, Language B and ab initio subjects) will be slightly modified. The first examinations will start in 2020, so if you are taking your IB exams in 2019, you will still follow the old curriculum. Here is what has changed.

Five new themes
From now on, there will be five prescribed themes in Language B and ab initio languages. The themes are supposed to be related more closely to the MYP and PYP to have more continuity between programmes. The five new themes are:

  • Identities
  • Experiences
  • Human ingenuity
  • Social organization
  • Sharing the planet

Additionally, there are four prescribed topics per theme for ab initio only.

Focus on communication concepts
The new syllabus aims to focus more on concepts that make successful communication. These concepts are designed to:

  • be foundational to successful communication
  • support skills development (receptive, productive, interactive)
  • foster understandings as to why and how people use language to communicate
  • explicitly be assessed in Criterion C of the External Assessment Paper 1 (now the written productive task).

Discontinued elements of the previous syllabus:

  • Written assignment
  • Interactive oral activities (for Language B)

New elements:
There is a new listening comprehension assessment, so that the new Paper 2 will feature both listening and reading comprehension, in separate sections.

Modified elements:

  • Conceptual understanding will be directly assessed as Criterion C for Paper 1.
  • Language B higher level (HL) oral will be based on the required literature component in the syllabus.

Further Reading

IBO – What’s new in the DP language curricula?: