SINGAPORE - For the fourth year in a row, Singapore has topped the Asia-Pacific region in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma examinations.
Almost all the 975 students - or 96.82 per cent - who took the exam last November passed, compared with the global rate of 80 per cent.
Their average scores were also higher than the global average: 38.28 points against 29.95 points, according to the Switzerland-based IB Organisation that conducts the examinations.
As in previous years, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in Dover Road topped the list among Singapore schools, with an average score of 41.54 points.
It also produced most of Singapore's top scorers.
Of its 457 students who took the examinations, 81.2 per cent - or 371 students - had 40 or more points.
Said principal Winston Hodge proudly: "The IB diploma programme offers a rigorous and holistic programme to develop our students to meet the challenges of an increasingly globalised and complex world.
"Our students have benefited from (it) and performed strongly."
At the School of the Arts (Sota), the 110 students got an average of 39.18 points, inching up from the 38.4 points its first cohort attained in 2012.
More than half of them - 56 students - had between 40 and 45 points, with 26 getting top scores of 42 points and more.
Its principal Lim Geok Cheng said the school will continue to pump in resources to produce "artists and creative professionals".
St Joseph's Institution International also received its best results since its first cohort took the examinations in 2009. It had 37 per cent of its 146 students scoring 40 points and more, up from 25 per cent in 2012.
These institutions are among 20 in Singapore, including international schools, that offer the IB.
The two-year diploma programme is more broad-based than the A levels, requiring students to take six subjects and Theory of Knowledge, a course combining philosophy, religion and logical reasoning.
Students also take a second language, do research, write a 4,000- word essay and take part in a community service project.
The programme conducts two rounds of examinations each year - in May and November - and many Singapore students take the exam in the later half of the year.
Last November, more than 3,360 students from 22 Asia-Pacific countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Japan, took the examinations. Among them, 65 were perfect scorers, with 45 points.
More than half, or 36, came from Singapore. This works out to 3.7 per cent of the 975 local students who took the examinations.
But in 2012, Singapore did better: 46 out of its 907 students - or 5 per cent - had perfect scores.
Still, the Republic topped Australia, which had 24 perfect scorers out of 1,689 candidates, and New Zealand, with five perfect scorers out of 328 candidates.
Again, ACS (I) produced the most perfect scorers in Singapore: 32.
One of them is Darren Wong, the only child of parents who work in the banking industry.
Said the 18-year-old who hopes to study medicine at the National University of Singapore: "I'm very happy, as I wasn't expecting a perfect score."
Sota's Amelia Fong, 18, one of its three perfect scorers, said: "I expected good grades but not to do this well." The visual arts student, who hopes to study architecture and philosophy abroad, added: "Art is not just about skills, like learning to draw or paint, but about broadening the way you see the world."
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