Academic Policies & Information

Course Load

Students in grades 9–11 are expected to take six courses each semester. Students in grade 12 must take a minimum of five courses, with six strongly recommended, particularly in the first semester. In certain circumstances, a student may be recommended for a reduced course load (no fewer than five courses), and this occurs with the approval of the Division Head and the Director of Studies. Students should expect to be assigned around 30–45 minutes of homework for each class per night.

Grade Point Average and Class Rank

The Upper School calculates a semester and cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for each student on semester report card and the transcript. The GPA calculation is used to determine Honor Roll and Head of School's list honors, as well as to determine top scholars for each class and the cumulative top scholar for the graduating class. Please note that apart from determining the top scholar, we do not rank students, but use quintile placement with colleges and universities to convey students' relative academic position within their class.

Calculating the Grade Point Average

To calculate the GPA, each semester grade earned is assigned a point value according to the chart below (AP and IB grades earn an additional 1.0 points, therefore a “B" = 4.0; honors grades earn an additional 0.5 points; a “B" = 3.5). The points are added and the total is divided by the number of graded semester credits earned.

Letter grades are assigned based on a 10-point grade scale and grade points are calculated as follows:

“A" Range 
(superior achievement)
90–92 (A-)
3.67 GPA points
93–97 (A)
4.0 GPA points
98–100 (A+)
4.33 GPA points
“B" Range
(strong achievement)
80–82 (B-)
2.67 GPA points
83–86 (B)
3.0 GPA points
87–89 (B+)
3.33 GPA points
“C" Range
(satisfactory achievement)
70–72 (C-)
1.67 GPA points
73–76 (C)
2.0 GPA points
77–79 (C+)
2.33 GPA points
“D" Range
(minimal achievement)
60–62 (D-)
0.67 GPA points
63–66 (D)
1.0 GPA points
67–69 (D+)
1.33 GPA points
“F" Range 59 & below (F)
0 points

Academic Honor Rolls

Students earning a semester GPA of 3.5 or higher with no grade lower than a C+ are placed on the Honor Roll. Students earning a semester GPA of 3.9 or higher with no grade lower than a C+ are placed on the Head of School's List.

Academic Honor Societies

Second semester sophomores and juniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 of higher with no grade lower than a C+ are eligible to apply for membership in the National Honor Society. Second semester seniors who have completed five or more semesters in the Upper School, with a cumulative GPA in the top 20% of the class are eligible for induction into the Cum Laude Society. A “top scholar" for the year is awarded for each class, as well as a “cumulative top scholar" for the graduating class, awarded at commencement.

Independent Studies

Independent Studies are an opportunity for students to pursue specialized topics not offered within the regular curriculum. Interested students in good academic standing may plan an independent study with a faculty member and submit a proposal for approval to the Director of Studies. All independent studies have the direct academic supervision of an Upper School faculty member. Students are limited to one independent study credit per semester, and with permission, the independent study may replace a sixth course.

Advanced Placement Courses

Country Day offers a college preparatory curriculum designed to prepare all students for success and achievement in college and university level study. For those students seeking additional challenge, Country Day offers several classes at the honors and Advanced Placement level, across all academic departments. See a complete index of our AP course offerings.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is a rigorous, pre-university course of study available to highly motivated 11th and 12th graders. The two-year program offers committed students the opportunity to earn this internationally recognized diploma in addition to their Country Day diploma. See more information about the IB Diploma Program and course listings.

Off-Campus Academic Opportunities

Upper School students have multiple opportunities to travel and study off campus and abroad, either through Country Day-sponsored programs or affiliate programs. See more information on our off-campus programs.