IB Service Ladder (for students)

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Based on the IB Service Ladder, a subset of the MYP Ladder, which was presented at the IB Global Conference in Hong Kong in 2019, this student-friendly IB outcome-based tool is designed for MYP/DP/CP students to track their progress on their service journey. Also designed for IB teachers to integrate service into their subject teaching, the eventual goal here is for IB teachers to empower their students with autonomy and agency in their service learning process via suggested check in points which enable both metacognition and principled action. Developed as part of the MA studies in the IB DP at the University of Melbourne, this ladder was inspired by the work of Krathwohl & Griffin. An IB-specific taxonomy has been created to scaffold the service teaching and learning journey and the intention is to make the process visible to all stakeholders involved in the process. My MYP 5 students at the ISF Academy in Hong Kong have used this ladder successfully and given me feedback – their voices have played a crucial role in the development of this tool.

As students undertake service challenges, they provide evidence of their actions, make meaningful links to ATLs, examine their ethics and reflect on the development of IBLP attributes to evaluate their own progress. Principled action is key. It should noted that service learning is not a race to the top rung of this ladder- and one is never “done” with service. Neither is this a worksheet to print and tick the service learning box in your IB curriculum. Rather, this is a tool to be used as part of an integrated and inquiry based approach to embed service organically into IB subjects via discussion, learning and research on local/global issues of interest.

All seven MYP/DP/CP services outcomes have been embedded either explicitly or implicitly into the descriptors in each step of the ladder. “I” language has been used to frame key action and thinking points from a student perspective. Noteworthy- while the signposts are linear and may seem deceptively simple, service learning (or in fact, any learning!) rarely is. The process is messy. Thus, the rungs of the ladder become lodestones to guide students back to essentials from their forays into the many issues of service. In addition to service ladder, the empathy continuum complements discussions on service in the IB context.

If you are from one of the 262 schools worldwide who have expressed an interest in using this tool at the IB global conference in Hong Kong (2019), thank you for your support. Please do let me know if your work has been enhanced by using this stepped and student-centred approach. Could the service ladder be improved? Tell me how!


  1. We are from IB MYP world recognized schools, I have one question why this ladder consists of only 6 sections? Since in this component we have 7 learning outcomes overall.


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