Dear HS Students and Parents:
The Course Catalog provides official course registration information to assist in the process of high school course requests for the upcoming school year. This course catalog and the section entitled Frequently Asked Questions will provide all students and families with substantive information to consider during the course request process.
AES has offered the IB Diploma program since 1982, and these offerings continue to evolve, continuing to provide students with a wide array of IB courses for a school our size. AES also offers some AP courses and an extensive range of school-based courses, ensuring every student an appropriately challenging pathway to earning a US high school diploma.
Please read this catalog carefully for all of the background information it provides. Subsequent to that are the all-important conversations involving students, parents, teachers, counselors, the IB/AP Coordinator, and the administration. Be proactive about participating in the discussions regarding course requests. Think about your plans and goals, because the courses you request will contribute significantly to building your future.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Iftekhar Syed. Derwin Kitch
Principal Assistant Principal
- Message from the Counselors
- Graduation Requirements
- University Entrance Requirements
- Overview of the IB Diploma Program
This booklet contains a description of the high school academic courses offered at the American Embassy School. It is intended to help you in planning your program of study in a way that will allow you to meet AES graduation requirements and pursue your interests.
When requesting a course, be sure to find out as much as you can about the objectives and requirements. Working in collaboration with your teachers, we will be happy to assist you. Use the information on the following pages to help answer these important questions:
• Am I meeting my credit requirements for graduation?
• Am I requesting courses that are appropriate to my abilities and interests?
• Have I considered potential university entrance requirements and possible career paths in making my requests?
• Is my program for the next year appropriately challenging?
• Am I taking advantage of all academic opportunities being offered to me at the American Embassy School?
• Have I balanced my time between classes and extracurricular activities?
During high school, you are laying the foundation for your future academic and working career. It is a time of hard work and increasing responsibility. We are here to help you achieve success during these important years.
Mr. Graveson, Mr. Daoud, Mr. Thompson & Ms. Mack
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
How do I decide which courses I should request?
It is important to discuss your requests with teachers, counselors, and parents.
2. Will I get all of the courses I request?
There are no guarantees that all courses described in this course catalog will run during SY22-23. Scheduling conflicts, low enrollment, resource limitations, or staffing changes may result in a decision to discontinue a course or to limit the number of sections. If an alternative request is necessary, students will be notified by their counselor to consider options sometime in May.
3. What happens if I miss the deadline?
Your requests will not be included in the development of the master schedule.
4. Are students permitted to have more than one study period per semester?
All students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade are required to take seven courses each semester. Full IB Diploma students will have six IB subject classes plus the IB Core class. Grade 12 students who are not doing the full IB Diploma may take six or seven courses each semester.
5. May I request a course online?
A maximum of six students will be approved for an online course with Virtual High School (VHS). A student may take only one online course per year. Information about the online program can be found in this course catalog. A Grade 10 student considering the IB Diploma may wish to discuss online options through Pamoja Education with the counselor and IB Coordinator. Pamoja Education courses are only available for IB Diploma candidates and families may be responsible for the tuition fees each year.
6. Whom do students approach if they have an interest in pursuing the IB Diploma?
A current Grade 10 student who would like to pursue the full IB Diploma program at AES will make an appointment through the HS Office to discuss this option before course requests are due for the following year. Students and families should meet with the Academic Counselor first, then Ms. Hjellming, the IB DP Coordinator.
7. May a Grade 12 student take an IB Year 1 course?
A Grade 12 student may take an IB Year 1 course, as space and scheduling allow. That student must fulfill all course requirements.
8. Are Grade 10 or Grade 11 students enrolled in an IB Year 1 course expected to take both years of the course?
Yes. Students commit to completing both years of each IB course, including all IB assessments (including May exams).
9. What are the placement procedures for IB and AP courses?
AES practices a policy of open enrollment in these courses. Students who have completed the requirements are encouraged to participate in these programs. The high school counselors and IB/AP Coordinator are available to guide students in their course and program requests. Requirements are included in this catalog. Any questions about appropriate placement will be resolved by the counselor after deliberation with the appropriate teacher(s), administration, and the IB/AP Coordinator.
10. What is the purpose of course requirements?
Requirements indicate any background needed to be properly prepared for taking a new course. They help ensure that students are prepared for understanding the concepts and their applications at a more difficult level.
11. Are AES grades used for course requirements?
No. Success in prior courses should always be a consideration when making course requests. In many cases, the grade level of the student and/or completion of the previous course will be the requirements. All course requests for the next school year are conditional upon sustained performance throughout the second semester of the current year and will be reviewed by the counselor at the end of the second semester.
12. Is there a limit to the number of IB Higher Level or AP classes students are allowed to take?
Students are not permitted to take more than three IB HL or AP courses in any combination each school year. Although a few exceptions have been made for IB Diploma candidates in the past, we have consulted with universities and we will no longer consider exceptions to this policy. Students should consult with their counselor for various ways to strengthen their university applications.
13. Are all IB & AP courses weighted?
No. For the Class of 2022 and beyond, there is no weighting and GPA as a part of the grading scale.
14. Are 9th and 10th graders permitted to take IB or AP courses?
IB and AP courses are generally taken by Grade 11 and 12 students. AP US History is offered to grade 10 students. It is possible that some Grade 10 students may request up to two IB SL courses: French/Mandarin/Spanish B; Environmental Systems & Societies; History; Sports, Exercise, and Health Science; Theater; Visual Arts. For the non-language SL options, course requests are subject to administrative approval based on consultation with counselors and teachers, grades, and learning habits. It depends on the space available in classes and priority is given to Grade 11 students. More specific questions can be directed to the counselor.
15. Are students enrolled in IB or AP courses expected to sit the exams for those courses?
Yes, the expectation is that a student in any IB Year 2 or AP class will register for the IB/AP exams and submit all required assessments to the IB. However, students in IB Year 2 classes with a reasonable justification for not registering for the course with the IB have until September 15 to meet with their comprehensive counselor and the IB DP Coordinator to discuss their thinking and implications for university applications and goals. Any student who “opts-out” of the IB registration will have “IB Year 2” removed from the course name in PowerSchool which will be reflected on the transcript. For Grade 12 students, their mid-year transcript will go to universities and they may need to explain the change to them. Any student who opts out must do the work of the class and will have a summative exam before grades are due at the end of the year.
16. May a student take an IB exam without taking the IB course?
No. The IB requires that students be enrolled in the course in order to sit an examination. Each course has more required assessments beyond the May exams.
17. Are families responsible for the cost of the exam fees for AP exams and for IB exams?
Yes. Fees are not included in the tuition. Fees rise slightly from year to year, and parents may request the current year’s fees from the IB/AP Coordinator.
18. Are students permitted to take AP exams, even if they are not enrolled in that AP course?
Although it is not common, students may be granted permission by the IB/AP Coordinator to take an AP exam if they are not enrolled in the course. Preparation for an AP exam requires an extensive, independent time commitment on the student’s part. Interested students must meet with their counselor and the IB/AP Coordinator to discuss their assumptions and goals. Other factors that will be considered include a review of Learning Habits performance, a strong academic record, exam scheduling, impact on attendance in AES classes, counselor input, teacher input, etc. Approval by the IB/AP Coordinator is required.
19. If a student who sits for an AP exam is not enrolled in an AP course, will the AP course title appear on that student’s transcript?
No. Only courses taught at AES will appear on a student’s transcript.
20. May students take Theory of Knowledge (TOK), even if they are not full IB Diploma candidates?
No. The structure of TOK as part of a two-year course (IB Core/TOK) is designed for greater support of IB Diploma candidates and would be difficult to schedule for other students. If you wish to discuss an online TOK course, please see the IB/AP Coordinator.
21. Does AES offer ELD support in high school?
Yes. AES supports ELLs (English Language Learners) in English Language Development (ELD) classes designed for grades 9 and 10. Monitored support for identified grade 11 and grade 12 students is offered to those in need of more support.
22. Can I receive credit if I take a class more than once?
Yes. The following classes can be repeated: Art Foundations, Personal Fitness, Concert Band, Concert Choir, Concert Strings, Piano/Keyboard, Guitar Performance, Internship, and Independent Study. However, some of these classes may have limitations regarding the number of times they can be repeated for credit.
AES HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
Students receive 0.5 credits for semester courses and 1 credit for year-long courses. In order to graduate from AES, a student must meet the following requirements:
Credits earned in subject areas “A” through “H” beyond what is required for graduation are applied as elective credits.
Students are also required to participate in the high school Minicourse program each year they are in attendance at AES.
All students in grades 9, 10, and 11 are required to take seven courses each semester. Students in grade 12 are not required to take seven classes but are encouraged to do so.
While taking into account course credits earned at previous schools, students entering AES as 10th, 11th, or 12th graders are required to complete the AES credit distribution requirements stipulated above to the fullest extent possible.
The distribution of the required credits will be determined by the high school counselor in consultation with the principal.
HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
All high school students are required to pursue the AES American high school diploma. Courses for the AES diploma are university-preparatory in nature and are skill-oriented, demanding courses. Meeting the graduation requirements for the AES diploma successfully prepares students to meet the academic challenges of competitive universities.
Integrated into this curriculum are courses that also prepare students for external examinations in the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs. IB and AP courses typically cover content taught in first-year university courses. They are challenging courses that place heavy demands on students’ time and energy. The IB and AP programs are widely recognized as being rigorous university-preparatory programs. Universities all over the world generally view successful completion of IB and AP courses as a good indication of the student’s potential for academic success. Some universities may require the IB Diploma for admission. Families should work with the counselor and conduct their own research.
AES practices a policy of open enrollment in these courses. Students who meet the requirements are encouraged to participate in these programs. The high school counselors and the IB/AP Coordinator are available to guide students in their course and program requests. It is important that students and their parents are aware of the requirements for an AES High School diploma.
Exceptions to Graduation Requirements
In case of exceptional circumstances, a particular graduation requirement may be waived. Such circumstances may include:
• physical disabilities
• documented learning difficulties
• scheduling conflict
• difficulty in meeting the requirements for graduation due to differences in the student’s previous school program
• difficulty in meeting the residence requirement due to pressing family needs or any other emergency
The final decision and permission to waive a particular graduation requirement will be made by the director on a recommendation from the high school principal.
Graduation Attendance Requirement
Students who intend to graduate from AES must be in full attendance for two consecutive semesters prior to graduating.
Certificate of Attendance
If a student does not meet all of the credit requirements for the American Embassy School diploma, a Certificate of Attendance - not a high school diploma - may be awarded. This requires the principal’s approval. Twelfth graders in good standing who receive a Certificate of Attendance may be permitted to participate in the high school graduation ceremony at the discretion of the director.
UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS
It is important for students to begin their university planning early in their high school career. Since each university establishes its own particular requirements, it is important to follow the guidelines given on the websites of every university under consideration.
Students considering attending non-American universities are advised to learn what the admission requirements are of those universities and how IB, AP, and standardized examination results are evaluated for admission. Knowing admissions requirements well in advance can help in making appropriate course requests.
Generally, minimum US university entrance requirements are:
- English - 4 years
- Social Studies - 3 years
- Math - 4 years
- Science - 3 years
- World Languages - 2 years (of the same language)
- Fine Arts - 1 year
Although these are minimum requirements, selective universities expect capable students to go beyond the minimum requirements, taking challenging courses commensurate with their abilities and interests. The counselors are available to assist students in planning their university preparatory programs.
Level of Achievements in High School
AES will not have a calculation of GPA for students who are under this Level of Achievement chart.
Descriptions of Level of Achievements:
The student demonstrates a perceptive understanding and/or applications of the concepts, skills, and/or processes within the standards that are both comprehensive and indicates an exceptional level of sophistication.
The student demonstrates a comprehensive understanding and/or application of the concepts, skills, and/or processes within the standards.
The student demonstrates a well-developed understanding and/or application of the concepts, skills, and/or processes within the standards.
The student demonstrates a foundational understanding and/or application of the concepts, skills and/or processes within the standards. There are few gaps in understanding and/or application.
The student demonstrates an initial knowledge and understanding of the concepts, skills, and/or process within the standards. There are gaps in understanding and/or application.
The student demonstrates a very limited knowledge and understanding of the concepts, skills, and/or process within the standards. There are significant gaps in understanding and/or application. The student does not earn credit for the course.
There is insufficient evidence of learning by the student. The student does not earn credit for the course.
These additional grade codes may be used based on individual student circumstances. Use of these codes will be done with HS administration approval only.
P - Pass
I - Incomplete
AU - Audit
NG - No Grade
WP - Withdrawal/Pass
WI - Withdrawal/Insufficient Evidence
International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP)
Founded in 1968, the IB Diploma Program is a challenging two-year curriculum, primarily aimed at students in the last two years of high school. It leads to a qualification that is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities. The IB’s mission statement complements AES’s: “The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end, the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” (http://www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/mission/).
Candidates for the IB Diploma study six subjects selected from the various subject groups, three subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three subjects at Standard Level (SL). Diploma candidates also participate in three components that are at the core of the program:
- The Extended Essay (EE) offers students the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and allows students to develop the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
- Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is an interdisciplinary course designed to explore the ways of knowing across disciplines and to foster an appreciation of a variety of cultural perspectives.
- The Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) program encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports, and community service. The program fosters students’ awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.
- Students in grades 11 and 12 may enroll as full IB Diploma Candidates (six subjects and the IB Core class which supports the three core elements) or as Course Candidates for individual IB courses. Students in grade 10 may also enroll in select SL IB courses if they have met the necessary requirements. However, only exams taken in the last two years of high school can apply toward an IB Diploma.
Students are not permitted to take more than three IB HL/AP courses in any combination each school year. All students in an IB class are expected to register for and sit the exams, regardless of their status as Course or Diploma candidates.
For US universities the IB Diploma is not a requirement for admission, although course credit or advanced standing may be granted for scores of 5, 6, or 7 for Higher Level subjects and some Standard Level subjects. Some European universities require students educated in international schools with the IB Diploma Program to present an IB Diploma for admission and certain programs of study may require particular subjects and levels, as well as a minimum level of achievement in those subjects. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma have to find other pathways to university in Europe and those options may be more limited. See your counselor for more information if you are not doing the full IB.
Students interested in participating in the IB program are advised to check directly with universities to determine how IB completion and results are recognized. For information on IB recognition at various universities worldwide, the IB has a searchable database: http://www.ibo.org/country.
Students wishing to pursue the IB Diploma must coordinate their academic plans with the counselor and the IB/AP Coordinator to ensure that all requirements for the IB Diploma are met. Additional information can also be obtained at the official IBO website <www.ibo.org>
To receive the IB Diploma students must, during a two-year period:
- successfully complete six externally examined courses. Three courses must be at Higher Level (HL) with the remaining at Standard Level (SL).
- successfully complete the Theory of Knowledge course, part of the IB Core/TOK class.
- write an Extended Essay of no more than 4000 words.
- meet the Creativity, Activity, and Service program requirements, provide reflections and evidence on the learning outcomes, and complete a CAS Project.
1 Self-taught Language A: Literature – for native or near-native speakers. If students choose English A SL or HL AND Self-taught SL, they do not have to take a Group 2 course, and they may earn a bilingual IB Diploma.
2 Language Acquisition – Language B courses are for students with some background in the target language (not for native speakers of the target language)
3 Language ab initio – language acquisition course for students with little or no experience in the target language
4 Mandarin ab initio: Students selecting this course may have some previous exposure to Mandarin and will complete a language competency assessment to determine level placement.
5 The Environmental Systems & Societies course meets the requirements of Group 3 and/or Group 4 through a single subject. A sixth subject must then be chosen to meet the requirements of the Diploma.
IB Self-taught Language A Literature SL
The Self-taught Language A course is only offered by IB as an SL and is intended for native or near-native speakers of languages other than English. Although modified for independent study, the Self-taught course follows the Language A Literature SL course quite closely. Students choosing this option should feel confident in their ability to read, write, speak, and analyze literature in the target language and in their ability to work independently to set and meet goals, complete the assessments, and meet deadlines. They should be co-enrolled in English Literature (SL or HL) or English Language & Literature (HL). All Self-taught students within one language and IB cohort must follow the same syllabus of texts. Self-taught Language A will appear as a pass/no-credit class on the AES transcript; however, it will not be included in the GPA nor impact eligibility. A pass is conditional on students regularly meeting with the IB Coordinator and making progress toward completion of the course. Families are required to arrange for a tutor in the Self-taught language. For additional questions, please consult the IB/AP Coordinator.
IB Online: Pamoja Education
Pamoja courses at AES are only available to full IB Diploma candidates and students must understand this is a two-year commitment to an online program. There are narrow windows to dropping a Pamoja subject, and any subject changes may jeopardize continuing in the IB Diploma Program. Pamoja’s policies are independent of AES, so any decision by Pamoja to discontinue working with a student is beyond our control. Should someone be expelled from a Pamoja course, they cannot continue in the IB Diploma Program but can keep other individual subjects and will become an IB Course candidate. Official results documents from IB do not indicate that an IB course was studied online. Any Diploma candidates interested in a Pamoja course must inform their counselor and go through a screening process led by the IB/AP Coordinator to determine the appropriateness of that course of study and AES may limit the number of students who can enroll through Pamoja. An ideal Pamoja candidate has a strong academic record and exhibits consistent areas of strength in all AES Learning Habits.
Students may select a variety of IB courses offered at AES without doing all of the required components of the Diploma. They are considered individual Course candidates and will earn a grade from the IB for those subjects. Students should be aware that universities may not recognize SL subjects for credit or placement.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
In Advanced Placement (AP) courses, students take external examinations developed by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) at the end of each course of study. A score of 4 or 5 on an examination may earn the student course credit or advanced standing upon entering university. Interested students are advised to check with universities in their home countries to determine how AP examinations are evaluated. For further information please contact the IB/AP Coordinator. Additional information can be obtained at the official AP website <http://apcentral.collegeboard.com>.
Students wishing to take an AP exam at AES in a subject not appearing in their schedule will need to demonstrate strong preparation and learning habits. Approval rests with the IB/AP Coordinator. The IB curriculum is not identical to the AP curriculum. Students will need to do additional independent study prior to taking the AP exam. The time and commitment needed for such additional preparation will differ from subject to subject, and from student to student. Interested students should seek the advice of a subject teacher about what resources and assistance may be available, and what additional preparation may be needed for an AP exam. Highly selective US universities have told our counselors that full IB Diploma students taking additional AP exams to improve their applications may wish to reconsider; those students are already doing a highly rigorous academic program and should consider being more attentive to the benefits of other aspects of their lives, like CAS, instead of pursuing additional exams. Fees for AP exams are set by the College Board and families are responsible for those fees.