International Bacclaureate Program
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is a two-year course of study for students in 11th and 12th grades. Students in the IB Diploma Program gain rigorous and balanced academic preparation, an ability to draw on knowledge and understanding of various cultures and histories, and the experience of learning how to think critically and apply what they have learned across disciplines.
The IB Diploma Program consists of the IB core curriculum and six distinct “groups” of study, listed below. At least three but no more than four will be at the higher level (HL) and the remainder will be at the standard level (SL). Course selection within IB is based on student interest, availability, and prerequisites. In most cases, IB students are in dedicated IB classes, listed below; in certain disciplines, students continue in the regular departmental offerings.
There are no required “pre-IB” courses at Country Day but completing some advanced/Honors level courses during 9th and 10th grades is recommended. Interested students apply to the IB
program during February of the 10th grade year.
- IB Core Curriculum
- Group 1: Language & Literature
- Group 2: Language Acquisition
- Group 3: Individual Societies
- Group 4: Sciences
- Group 5: Mathematics
- Group 6: Fine Arts or Other Elective
IB Theory of Knowledge
Full year. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the IB Program. In this junior year course, IB students strive to develop their critical awareness of what they and others know and value. Students analyze “personal knowledge” and “shared knowledge,” observing the overlap and exchange between these categories. Students learn to ask and to answer “knowledge questions” and use “the knowledge framework” to explore eight “ways of knowing” and eight “areas of knowledge.” Students are evaluated through class activities and discussion, textbook and parallel reading, oral presentations, regular informal journals, and online writing. Enrollment in the IB program is required.
The extended essay is an in-depth study of a topic that culminates in a major research paper. Students choose their research topic from a wide variety of disciplines and choose a faculty mentor for guidance throughout the essay-writing process. The extended essay is completed
during the junior year (as part of Theory of Knowledge) and submitted to IB during the senior year as part of the IB diploma requirements.
Creativity, Activity, & Service (CAS)
CAS is designed to be an opportunity for students to be involved in learning experiences that occur outside of the classroom. Working with the CAS Coordinators, students choose experiences that involve goal setting, personal growth, and reflection in the three general
areas of creativity, physical activity, and service learning. Students maintain a digital notebook to log experiences and discuss and reflect on their learning outcomes. All IB students are expected to be regularly involved in and reflecting upon CAS throughout their time in the IB
IB ENGLISH 11 HL
Full year. Prerequisite: enrollment in the IB program. Required for all IB juniors. IB English 11 enables students to build on skills acquired in English 10 by continuing their experience of a broad range of genres, periods, and styles in literature, including world literature texts in translation. Over the two years of IB English, students typically study texts by authors such as Ibsen, Fugard, Szymborska, Garcia Marquez, Allende, Shakespeare, King, Heaney, Hawthorne, Morrison, and Fitzgerald. IB assessments include a formal oral presentation on a text and a formal literary analysis of a world literature text studied in the course; this essay is ultimately graded by external IB readers. Like their peers in other 11th grade English courses, IB students complete an autobiography.
IB English 12 HL
Full year. Prerequisite: IB English 11, enrollment in the IB program. Required for all IB seniors. IB English 12 continues the work begun in IB English 11, with a focus on preparing students for the IB written exams at the end of the year. Major assessments completed at the end of the senior year are scored by external IB readers. Over the two years of IB English, students typically study text by authors such as Ibsen, Fugard, Szymborska, Garcia Marquez, Allende, Shakespeare, King, Heaney, Hawthorne, Morrison, and Fitzgerald. This course fulfills the requirements of IB Language A: Literature HL.
IB Languages study occurs at three possible levels:
- “Ab initio” is the most basic level and intended for students beginning a new language.
- Standard level (SL) is for students with multiple years of experience with the language.
- Higher level (HL) is for high-performing students with multiple years of experience.
Students in the IB program move within the language curriculum at the appropriate level of language proficiency. For any AP or Honors course, IB students must qualify like any other Country Day student.
IB World History SL
Full year. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the IB Program. Required for all IB juniors. This course focuses on in-depth study of selected World History topics. These topics may include the US Civil Rights movement, South African apartheid, industrialization from 1750-2005, and the Cold War. Through examination of these topics, students develop greater international mindedness, engage with and evaluate primary sources, and continue to develop their ability to write effectively in History. Major assessments are writing intensive and include the IB historical investigation. At the completion of this course, students either take the IB History SL exam or continue to IB History of the Americas as an HL history candidate. This course fulfills the requirements of IB History SL.
IB History of the Americas HL
Full year. Prerequisite: IB World History. This course emphasizes several topics in United States
history, but also integrates topics emphasizing the experiences of other nations and peoples in the Americas. The reading and evaluation of primary sources is central to this course, and students will learn how to evaluate and frame historical arguments. This course fulfills the
requirements for IB History HL. Please note: IB seniors who choose not to complete this HL history class must enroll in a standard or AP US History class in the senior year in order to fulfill the Country Day graduation requirement.
IB Psychology SL
Full year. Available as a Group 6 Elective. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the IB Program. An introductory course on the scientific study of human behavior, with some reference to animal studies. This course focuses on three levels of analysis in psychology: the biological, the cognitive, and the sociocultural. Additionally, students are introduced to mental disorders
and their treatment as they relate to these three levels. Several weeks in the second semester are spent conducting a replication of a published experiment in psychology. There is a focus on specific examples of primary research throughout the course.
IB Information Technology in a Global Society SL
Full year. Prerequisite: Qualification based on grades in History, concurrent enrollment in Precalculus or higher math or enrollment in IB program. The Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) course is the study and evaluation of the impact of information technology on individuals and society. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of the access and use of digitized information at the local and global level. ITGS provides a framework for students to make informed judgments and decisions about the use of IT within social contexts. This course fulfills the requirements of IB ITGS SL. This course is also open to both IB and non-IB students in grades 11–12.
IB Biology SL
Full year. Prerequisites: Chemistry I/Honors Chemistry, enrollment in the IB program. IB students who wish to study biology as a Standard Level (SL) course take IB Biology during the junior or senior year. This course covers the core curriculum topics: biochemistry, cellular processes, genetics, biotechnology, evolution, ecology, and human physiology. Students perform a minimum of 40 hours of lab activities, some of which occur outside of class.
IB Biology HL
First semester. Prerequisites: IB Biology SL, enrollment in the IB program. IB students who wish to study biology as a Higher Level course will take IB Biology SL during the junior year and
an additional semester of biology during the fall of senior year. The core topics from junior year are covered in greater depth and additional topics (such as other human systems and plant biology) are introduced. Students also complete an additional 20 hours of lab work, some of which occur outside of class.
IB Chemistry SL
Full year. Prerequisites: Chemistry I/Honors Chemistry, enrollment in the IB program. IB students who wish to study chemistry as a Standard Level course take IB Chemistry during their junior or
senior year. The course covers the core curriculum topics: stoichiometry, atomic theory, periodicity, bonding, states of matter, energetics, kinetics, equilibrium, REDOX reactions, and organic chemistry. Emphasis is placed upon deep understanding of chemical concepts and the
application of these concepts to novel situations. Assessments are of the IB style, using IB questions and grading schemes. Students perform a minimum of 40 hours of laboratory activities, some of which occur outside of class.
IB Chemistry HL
First semester. Prerequisites: IB Chemistry SL, enrollment in the IB program. IB students who wish to study chemistry as a Higher Level course will take IB Chemistry SL during the junior
year and an additional semester of chemistry during the fall of senior year. The core topics from junior year are covered in greater depth. Students also complete an additional 20 hours of lab work, some which occur outside of class.
In general, 11th grade students in the IB diploma program follow within the math course curriculum for their area of study at the honors or regular level. In the 12th grade, they choose one of the following options. It is possible for accelerated math students to complete an IB
course in 11th grade, but they must enroll in an AP math course during 12th grade to meet graduation requirements. Please note carefully the pre-requisites or co-requisites for each.
IB Applications SL
Full year. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the IB program, completion of Precalculus. This course recognizes the increasing role that mathematics and technology play in a diverse range of fields in a data-rich world. As such, it emphasizes the meaning of mathematics in context by focusing on topics that are often used as applications or in mathematical modelling. To give this understanding a firm base, this course also includes topics that are traditionally part of a
pre-university mathematics course such as calculus and statistics. In addition, students will complete a research paper investigating an area of mathematics commensurate with the level of the course.
IB Analysis SL
Full year. Prerequisite: Qualifying grade average from Precalculus, honors Precalculus, or Honors Algebra 2/Precalculus. This course recognizes the need for analytical expertise in a world where innovation is increasingly dependent on a deep understanding of mathematics. This course includes topics that are both traditionally part of a pre-university mathematics course (for example, functions, trigonometry, calculus) as well as topics that are amenable to investigation, conjecture and proof, for instance the study of sequences and series. In addition, students will complete a research paper investigating an area of mathematics commensurate with the level of the course.
IB Analysis HL
Full year. Prerequisite: AP BC Calculus. This course covers similar topics to Analysis SL but in
greater depth and complexity. Topics include functions, trigonometry, advanced calculus, sequences and series, and proof by induction. This course will rely on students have a strong calculus foundation from AP BC Calculus. In addition, students will complete a research paper
investigating an area of mathematics commensurate with the level of the course.
Offerings for the sixth subject area of IB includes the following:
IB Art, four semesters (SL or HL)
IB Theatre, two semesters (SL) or three semesters (HL)
Elective Social Studies
IB Information Technology in a Global Society (“ITGS”) or IB Psychology, two semesters (SL only)
Spanish, French, Latin, Chinese, four semesters (SL or HL)
IB Chemistry SL or IB Biology SL, two semesters (SL only)
IB ART I SL, HL
Full year. Prerequisite: Completion of level III in any Visual Art course, submission of a portfolio, and enrollment in the IB program. This IB course is the first of a two-year program structured
according to the guidelines of the IB program. IB Art is designed to expose students to artistic traditions from around the world while allowing students to develop a personal visual art statement contained in a portfolio and research workbook. Students are expected to incorporate acquired skills in a variety of media and methods, apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and develop works with imagination and creativity. Art History, criticism, and aesthetics are an integral part of the curriculum.
IB Art II SL, HL
Full year. Prerequisites: IB Art I. This course continues the work started in IB Art I and culminates with an exhibit of student work.
IB Music I SL
Full year. Prerequisite: Honors ensemble audition and enrollment in the IB program. This IB course is the fist of a two-year program designed to meet the requirements of IB Music Standard Level. Over the two-year program, students will study music as researchers, creators, and performers while being simultaneously enrolled in a performing ensemble (band, orchestra, or choir). Students will develop their personal knowledge as a musician while learning to collaborate and partner with others through the exploration of diverse musical material. Students will learn about musical context and perception by listening to a wide range of
music from different parts of the world. Through the study of varied musical cultures and time periods, students will develop an understanding of musical elements, including notation, terminology, context, form, and structure. Students will explore the connection of musical processes while creating and performing music and maintaining a portfolio of their work.
IB Music II SL
Full year. Prerequisites: IB Art I. This course continues the work started in IB Music I and
culminates with the completion of all three major IB assessments for IB Music Standard Level.
IB Theatre Arts SL
Full year. Prerequisite: Successful completion of at least one Upper School theatre class and production. IB Theatre Arts gives students the opportunity to actively engage in theatre as creators, designers, directors, and performers. Through researching, creating, preparing,
presenting and critically reflecting on theatre, students gain a richer understanding of themselves, their community and the world. They learn about theatre from around the world, the importance of making theatre with integrity, and the impact that theatre can have on the
world. It enables them to discover and engage with different forms of theatre across time, place and culture, promoting international-mindedness and an appreciation of the diversity of theatre. Major assessments will include an original solo theatre piece, a formal presentation on a
theatre tradition, and creation and performance of an original and collaborative theatre piece. Students will also participate in at least one of the extracurricular CCDS productions. Students in IB Theatre Arts will be scheduled within existing theatre classes to be determined between the student and the IB coordinator. This course fulfills the requirements of IB Theatre Standard Level.
IB Theatre Arts HL
Full year. Prerequisites: IB Theater Arts SL. This course builds upon the work completed in IB Theater Arts SL. In addition to that work, HL IB Theater Arts students will study theory and create an original solo piece based on their research. Involvement in the fall one-act plays is required.
Other Group 6 elective offerings include the following (see Groups 3 and 4 for full descriptions):
IB Information Technology in a Global Society SL
IB Psychology SL
IB Chemistry SL
IB Biology SL