IB and British
Ages 3 to 18


K. International School Tokyo Verified badge.pink.sm

2.0 (based on 5 reviews) Reviews aren't verified


- Terrible
January 16, 2022
- Terrible

An academic focus school.

Con1: Grading process

School applies a bell curve to force-grade students into higher or standard grade subject courses for final year exit exams - no choice. (This helps ensure the school achieves higher ave ratings which it evidently does achieve - benefits school mostly not the children).

This grading starts from an early age (10-11) grade 6 (MYP) onward (specifically science subjects).

Issue 1: This pre-defines and so limits career options from an early age (10-11) since certain universities require science subjects to pass on the higher grade.
Issue 2: This has an undue early age morale confidence hit on kids at 10-11 y.o. (read why below)
Issue 2: This grading process, separate from the assessment process, appears flawed. External past year UK SAT test papers are used to grade (Diagnostic test) of which ~60% of the papers content is not covered in KIST grade 5 (EYP) unit curriculum.
So kids exit (EYP - G5) without the required skill to write these SAT papers which incidentally cover Grade 5-7 content. The papers are not adjusted, but presented in their full form. Affects are, kids write a paper that has ~60% content (year 7) they've never seen before (expected to the ability mid-test identify test questions that are beyond their ability (i.e have not self studied outside school curriculum) and skip those.

Schools response: A video mid year 5 that subtly suggests students will need extra study effort to pass through the grading (translates into: the for need extended private learning out-side the school curriculum). So why not make it clear that testing is done using these past papers? Well the fear that kids will study only for these test papers. Sadly, ultimately this becomes the result in any case once the discovery.
(As of date writing this, the school uses UK KS3 SAT papers in its MYP diagnostics testing - a testing now abolished in the UK - (Reasons: kids stress and test focus learning; tutoring tailored toward school grade priority over students well being cited as reason): Read internet for more on this.

Issue 3: As parents discover these past test paper testing strategies they then (as in the UK SAT case) get the kids prepared specifically for these test papers. A learning style based on ‘study for the test’. Parents who are not clued into this from either other parents or from perhaps older kids' experience in the school are left disadvantaged and trailing lag behind.

Issue 4: The school does describe a roadmap or remedial plan to help move kids from standard grade to the extended grades (higher grades). The onus to figure out a path back to high grade is left to parents and students( additional after school tutoring), with no active communication of this expectation (Parents believing the school will cover test content). Inquire individually and you may get a clue to this grading process and a hint at the UK SAT papers usage for your prep)

Con 2: In the final years kids are forced fixed (bell curved) into standard / higher grade (years 9-10-11-DP). So even if they are capable of passing on the higher grade but perhaps not at a high score A or A+ but say a B or C+ level (will negatively affect the 'schools' exit ave ratings). So the school bell curves a cream of the crop to ensure a higher school average. Students who could have passed on higher grades at say a lower B score, now help push up the standard grade group ave. Overall the school grade is improved optically.

Con 3: At the current fees the school has limited facilities when compared. Small campus in Mid Tokyo. Compared to other schools with similar fees which have swimming-pool, full size grounds, facilities for extensive arts and culture. School lack 3rd language study options.

Con 4: School has been collecting fees for a gymnasium from around ~2006. Excuses range from multiple economic impacts, 2008 market crash, 2011 Tsunami, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ‘21 Corona pandemic. All while other schools in Tokyo have forged forward and completed their infrastructure development projects. 2006-2022 - 16 years of fees from families who will not benefit from this investment. Search google for historic blog threads to this saga.

Pro/Con 5: Communication feedback style is selective on many broad base common concerns parents may have. No collective feedback. Request to write to school for 1:1 response. On other less defensive subjects communications are broad and inclusive and very effective.

Pro 1: Plans to rebuild the school building and gymnasium while still in the same small location appear evident, hope is it will finally commence.

Pro 2: School is within top 10 global IB performance rating. (Although with plans to further adopt IGCSE over MYP (IB) not sure how much of an IB school curriculum can really be claimed. Perhaps a hybrid IB school for most part no unlike others in the world.

Pro 3. While small, location is fairly central

Pro 4. Uses Microsoft O365 a transformation to a digital school platform

Comment: Follows very traditional strict rules, for dress, attire and attendance. Not very flexible in this area.

Intention here is to offer objective insight (with a measure of assumption in some cases) to allow parents to prepare their study and question of the school. Best to validate these opinions and statement areas with the school directly during your discovery interviews allowing the school their perspective.

Breakdown of rating
Overall opinion - Terrible
Teachers - Average
Academics - Good
Facilities - Terrible
School Atmosphere - Average
Administration - Terrible

↳ Reply from K. International School Tokyo

January 2022


Thank you for taking the time to share your individual perspective of KIST. We do appreciate your feedback and this opportunity to clarify some of the points you mentioned.

You are correct that KIST is an academic school. We are proud of the academic success that our students attain each year and view those accomplishments, and others, as evidence that we are meeting our school mission.

With regards to our grading practices does not use a bell curve when appraising student performance. Our diagnostic testing is appraised against published performance criteria which are made accessible to all KIST families via the community portal of our website. Also, it is not ‘the school’ that attains the exceptional scores that contribute to KIST’s high DP average; these results are reflective of the hard work of our students and the quality of support our teachers provide to them. You state that such ‘grading starts from an early age – specifically in science subjects’, yet as per the regulations of the IB, PYP schools are not able to teach, nor appraise, science as a stand-alone subject.

You state that our students are unable to access universities due to our science restrictions. This is simply incorrect. All students in Grades 6 through 10 study Chemistry, Biology and Physics each year, with ALL students attainting the ‘Triple Science Award’ upon completion of the IGCSE in Grade 10. From there, students enter the IB Diploma Program where they choose from Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Environmental Systems and Societies as their required Science course for the DP. As per IB policy, students can choose to take an additional Science course from those options in place of the Art course requirement.

As for us using past UK SAT (Key Stage) papers as diagnostics to appraise student performance in mathematics, we do so because those papers and support resources are easily accessible online. The content for the Key Stage 2 diagnostic is covered by the end of Grade 5. Your data is incorrect; most all of our students perform very well on the diagnostic exams, some performing well above our published expectations. For students not meeting expectations, we offer various support programs to meet their needs. As for the tests used being ‘abolished in the UK’, this as well is simply not true. The UK updated the Key Stage program recently but, due to limited access to the new exams, we choose to implement exams from the previous revision as they are easily (and freely) available.

You mention the children of ‘parents who are not clued in’ to our practices as being disadvantaged. We fully agree with that. In fact, one of our guiding beliefs is that ‘Education is a shared partnership of mutual cooperation between students, parents/caregivers and the school’. We expect parents to be aware of the policies and practices in place at KIST. As such, we make significant efforts to make all documentation and educational policies available to all stakeholders (including translations in Japanese). Parents who do not pay attention to our published communication are indeed putting their children at a disadvantage.

‘The onus to figure out a path back to high grade is left to parents’ - If you are referring to our mathematics pathways, these are described in our published material and we have had school information sessions explaining them in more detail. We consistently encourage any stakeholder to contact our Division Principals or our subject/classroom teachers to discuss any matter related to their child’s education.

As for scores of A+, B, C, etc., KIST does not, nor have we ever, used letter grades for reporting. As an IB school, we are required to issue grades on a 1-7 scale. The IGCSE publishes grades using a 1-9 scale which we convert to a 1-7 scale for reporting.

As for other schools with the same fees as KIST that have swimming pools and full-size grounds, we are unaware of centrally located schools in Tokyo that offer such value; in fact, we compare fees annually and KIST’s fees are significantly lower than some schools that do not even have gymnasiums or the size of school grounds available at KIST.

Your dates regarding construction are also incorrect. It was 2006 that KIST moved from its previous office tower location in Ojima to its new location at Kiyosumi. The school grew in the years that followed and various fundraisers were held to build a new Elementary School building, which was completed in 2011. We have been raising funds through our annual festival each year for a new gymnasium to replace our dated one. There have been some unfortunate events over the years that have impacted those plans. However, plans and preparations are in place for demolition of the old gymnasium in the coming months and for construction of our new school building to commence afterwards.

You are correct that KIST’s DP average score is in the top 10 globally. In fact, KIST has had the highest DP average score in Japan for over 7 years and was recognized as being the 7th highest performing school in the world for the 2020-21 school year (by IB-SCHOOLS.COM). We have recently chosen to implement the IGCSE over the MYP. We do so because the IGCSE provides a detailed syllabus (the MYP has no syllabi) and standardized tests upon completion of the program. School and external data shows strong correlations between IGCSE performance and performance in the IB DP. As such, your claim that we will offer less of an IB curriculum is unfounded – the decision to move from the MYP was made to further support student success in the IB Diploma Program.

Our consistently high DP average is evidence your claim that KIST will become an ‘IB school for most part no unlike others in the world’ is false.

Flexibility with regards to this our dress code would be inconsistent, contradictory to our school values and negate the principle of having a dress code in the first place.

Again, thank you for your feedback.


4 other reviews for K. International School Tokyo - (Reviews aren't verified )

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Showing 3 reviews by parents and students.


- Terrible
September 07, 2022
- Terrible

The value for the money is at a major deficit. While K. International School charges fees similar to those at other International schools in the same area, there are no facilities for sports, drama or any activities other than studying. While this may appeal to some parents of older students, it is detrimental to learning and ignores the whole child/social emotional learning needs of all students. We are moving our child to another school with more opportunities and facilities as soon as possible.

The administration may respond with a "we are building new facilities" line, but like the "Past Teacher" review insinuated here, the school may not want to commit to that in writing. Construction has lagged over a decade and the kids are hurting for it. As there is no transparency as to how money is spent and the administration is fighting an external audit, we do not hold any hope in anything changing. Terrible value for money.

Breakdown of rating
Overall opinion - Terrible
Teachers - Good
Academics - Good
Facilities - Terrible
School Atmosphere - Terrible
Administration - Terrible

↳ Reply from K. International School Tokyo

September 2022
Dear Unhappy Parents, We have read your comments with interest. Unfortunately, as they do not present an accurate picture of our school, we would like to respond in order to correct what could be misleading for other readers. First, it seems that you claim to be a current parent; however, we assume this must be false as current members of our school community are aware that construction of our new school building has already commenced. You also claim that “there are no facilities for sports, drama o... read full reply


- Very Good
January 20, 2022
- Very Good

Our daughter has been at KIST for over 9 years now and has benefited immensely from the support that she has been provided by her teachers and from the support programs in place at the school. Academic expectations are clear, performance against them is measured regularly and efforts are made to support students before it is too late.
KIST prioritizes academics and that is attractive to us as a family. As university admission is becoming more and more competitive, we are confident that the excellent education she will have upon completion of the IB Diploma at KIST will give her access to top-tier universities.
The secondary building and the gym are old, but students have ample opportunities to participate in athletic and academic curricular activities.
I have read reviews that criticize the school for holding families and students accountable for their learning. As a parent, I ... read full review

Breakdown of rating
Overall opinion - Very Good
Teachers - Fantastic
Academics - Fantastic
Facilities - Good
School Atmosphere - Fantastic
Administration - Very Good

↳ Reply from K. International School Tokyo

September 2022
Dear Lucky Parents, Thank you so much for taking the time to provide this review. We certainly appreciate the fact that you (and many other of our enrolled families) are fully aligned with our school mission. We wish your daughter all the best as she progresses in her studies. KIST read full reply


- Terrible
March 04, 2021
- Terrible

All they do is the filter through students. They just kick the dumb ones out and keep the smart ones. Not a good option for your children.

Breakdown of rating
Overall opinion - Terrible
Teachers - Terrible
Academics - Terrible
Facilities - Terrible
School Atmosphere - Good
Administration - Good

↳ Reply from K. International School Tokyo

January 2022
Dear TURDBOI1427, Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback and for this opportunity for us to further clarify the points you have raised. You are correct that academics may be emphasized more than at other international schools. We are proud of our mission to 'provide academically motivated children from diverse cultural and social backgrounds with a high-quality education in a safe and supportive environment' so that they can reach for their goals and gain access to quality universitie... read full reply

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See all the information about K. International School Tokyo

CurriculumsIB and British
Leaving qualificationsIGCSE and IB Diploma
Language of instructionEnglish
Age RangeAges 3 to 18
Reviews: 2.0
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