International Track and International Baccalaureate

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FASNY's IB Diploma Program, taught in English, benefits from our tradition of academic excellence: all our IB classes are offered at the Higher or Standard Levels, including Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.

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All IB Diploma Program students must take one subject from each group, 3 at a Higher Level (HL) and 3 at a Standard Level (SL).

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  • The IB is taught in English. This is the chance for qualified non-French-speaking students to join our multicultural community in 11th grade.
  • Students who qualify to take both French and English as a language A also have the option to earn a bilingual IB diploma. This is a unique opportunity for FASNY's bilingual students to pursue a Diploma in English while continuing the study of French Literature until graduation.

What is the IB Diploma Program?

Mission of the International Baccalaureate Organization:

"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."

The IB develops 4 programmes:

  • The Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students ages 3-12
  • The Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students ages 11-16
  • The Diploma Programme (DP) for students ages 16-19
  • The Career-Related Programme for students ages 16-19 engaged in career-related education

FASNY offers the Diploma Programme, which strives to develop students who:

  • have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge
  • flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
  • study at least two languages
  • excel in traditional academic subjects
  • explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique theory of knowledge course.

Who should consider the IB Diploma Program?

The IB Diploma Programme is an option that the following students should consider:

  • Students who wish to study mostly in English
  • Students who want more agency in their studies, and who will:
    • question and understand their learning process
    • choose their classes within the 6 groups
  • Students who are eager to get involved in the Community

The IB Diploma Program Curriculum at FASNY

Group 1

English A Literature - HL: Grades 11 and 12

The course is built on the assumption that literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations, and experiences of the world. The study of literature can therefore be seen as an exploration of the way it represents the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys, and fears to which human beings are exposed in the daily business of living. It enables an exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity and provides opportunities for encouraging independent, original, critical, and clear thinking. It also promotes respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the understanding and interpretation of literary works.

Through the study of a wide range of literature, the Language A: Literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages and by considering a range of critical approaches. In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the Language A: Literature course does not limit the study of works to the products of one culture or the cultures covered by any one language. The study of works in translation is especially important in introducing students, through literature, to other cultural perspectives. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of language.

Language A: Literature is a flexible course that allows teachers to choose works from prescribed lists of works and from their own experience. In the first year of this two-year program, students will explore dystopian fiction such as Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Students will also explore the themes of criminality and social alienation in three different works in translation: A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez. In 12th grade, students will build on the work accomplished in 11th grade. The first major task is to prepare for the Individual Oral Commentary, an oral exam requiring close analysis of a poem (in this case, one by Keats) and strong working knowledge of the program as a whole. The works of literature for the fall are as follows: Othello by Shakespeare, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and the poetry of John Keats. In the spring, students will prepare for the Paper One Exam (a two-hour analysis of a previously unseen prose or verse passage) and the Paper Two Exam (a two-hour, genre- specific exam requiring analysis across novels that we will read in the spring; the novels are as follows: The Awakening by Kate Chopin, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy).


French A Literature - SL and HL: Grades 11 and 12

This course is built on the assumption that literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations, and experiences of the world. The study of literature can therefore be seen as an exploration of the way it represents the complexity of the world, that of human beings and their relationship with the environment, in what they feel, think, and understand of the human experience. Literature provides an excellent medium to discuss and reflect on our lives’ complexity through the works, which can be seen as statements or testimonials of the author’s personal experience at a given time.

Through the study of a wide range of literature, the Language A: Literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages and by considering a range of critical approaches.

In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the Language A: Literature course embodies the idea that cultural identity alone does not define an author, rather a writer is engaged with other cultures. This course is not limited to the study of works from one culture or written in one language but is designed to include and welcome all literature, or what Goethe called the Weltliteratur (world literature or universal literature).

In the first year of this two-year program, students will study “works in translation,” namely Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, La Cerisaie by Anton Chekhov, and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (HL). As well, students will study the options in Le Ventre de l’Atlantique by Fatou Diome, Stupeur et tremblements by Amélie Nothomb, and L’Ingénu by Voltaire.

In the second year, students will study the following works: Antigone by Jean Anouilh, Kamouraska by Anne Hébert, and the poetry of Victor Hugo. In the spring, students will prepare for the Paper One Exam (a two-hour analysis of a previously unseen prose or verse passage) and the Paper Two Exam (a two-hour, genre- specific exam requiring analysis across the following plays that we will read in the spring: Le Mariage de Figaro by Beaumarchais, Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard by Marivaux, Dom Juan by Molière, and Les Bonnes by Jean Genet [HL]).

Group 2

German B - Standard Level: Grades 11 and 12

The German B (SL) course provides students with the opportunity to acquire or develop an additional language and to promote an understanding of other cultures through the study of language. It is designed for students who possess a degree of knowledge and experience in German. This course is taught in German and meets 150 hours during the school year.

The aims of German B (SL) are to:

  • develop students’ intercultural understanding
  • enable students to understand and use the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes
  • encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation of the different perspectives of people of other cultures

The assessments aim to test students’ ability to understand and use the German language. Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • communicate clearly and effectively in a range of situations, demonstrating linguistic competence and intercultural understanding
  • use language appropriate to a range of interpersonal and/or cultural contexts
  • understand, analyze, and respond to a range of written and spoken texts

Spanish B - Standard Level: Grades 11 and 12

The Spanish B (SL) course provides students with the opportunity to acquire or develop an additional language and to promote an understanding of other cultures through the study of language. It is designed for students who possess a degree of knowledge and experience in Spanish. This course is taught in Spanish and meets 150 hours during the school year.

The aims of Spanish B (SL) are to:

  • develop students’ intercultural understanding
  • enable students to understand and use the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes
  • encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation of the different perspectives of people of other cultures

The assessments aim to test students’ ability to understand and use the Spanish language. Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • communicate clearly and effectively in a range of situations, demonstrating linguistic competence and intercultural understanding
  • use language appropriate to a range of interpersonal and/or cultural contexts
  • understand, analyze, and respond to a range of written and spoken texts

Spanish B - Higher Level: Grades 11 and 12

The Spanish B (HL) course provides students with the opportunity to acquire or develop an additional language and to promote an understanding of other cultures through the study of language. It is designed for students who possess a degree of knowledge and experience in Spanish. This course is taught in Spanish and meets 240 hours during the school year.

The aims of Spanish B (HL) are to:

  • develop students’ intercultural understanding
  • enable students to understand and use the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes
  • encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation of the different perspectives of people of other cultures

The assessments aim to test students’ ability to understand and use the Spanish language. Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • communicate clearly and effectively in a range of situations, demonstrating linguistic competence and intercultural understanding
  • use language appropriate to a range of interpersonal and/or cultural contexts
  • understand, analyze, and respond to a range of written and spoken texts
  • understand and use works of literature written in the target language

Group 3

Economics - SL and HL: Grades 11 and 12

Economics SL is divided into four sections: microeconomics, which covers competitive markets, elasticity, government intervention, and market failure; macroeconomics, which looks at the level of overall economic activity, aggregate demand and aggregate supply, macroeconomic objectives, and fiscal, monetary, and supply-side policies; international economics, which involves learning about international trade, exchange rate, the balance of payments, and economic integration; and development economics, which looks at economic development and how it is measured, the role of domestic factors, international trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), foreign aid and multilateral development assistance, international debt, and, finally, the balance between markets and intervention.

History - SL and HL: Grades 11 and 12

The IB History course is a demanding writing-intensive two-year program that covers the global events and themes that have shaped the modern world. The course traces modern world history through the lens of society, politics, and economics, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, which, it can be argued, ushered in the modern global civilization of the past two centuries.
The changes wrought by the new industrial society began in England and spread to Western Europe, the United States, Asia, and, eventually, all over the globe. In the process, new social classes emerged that demanded reforms in the workplace and, more importantly, representation in government. Thus, the Industrial Revolution merged with the political ideals that flowed from the French and American Revolutions, creating what historians call the “Dual Revolution.”

Students will study the Dual Revolution, with specific emphasis on the process of industrialization and the evolution and development of a variety of democratic states across the globe, focusing on such examples as Great Britain, the United States, Japan, and South Africa. In addition, they will complete an in-depth study on Rights and Protest (the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and Apartheid in South Africa).

Students who choose Higher-Level History will also engage in a more in-depth study of the Americas, studying the society, politics, and economics of the region through selected themes.

All students will develop their ability to analyze and interpret both primary and secondary sources. In the second year of the program, students will be required to complete a “Historical Investigation,” an IB-specific research paper in which they not only conduct research but also critically evaluate their sources and reflect on the challenges facing historians.

Group 4

Biology - SL and HL: Grades 11 and 12

The emphasis of this course is on a practical approach in which students design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyze results, and evaluate and communicate their conclusions. Students develop the skills to work independently and collaboratively as they parallel the way in which scientists work in the broader community.

Topics covered in the first year will include cell biology, molecular biology, metabolism (photosynthesis and respiration), evolution and biodiversity, ecology, and human physiology. Topics in the second year will include plant biology, ecology, cell division, genetics, genetics and evolution, and molecular biology (nucleic acids).

The objectives of the course are to develop experimental and investigative skills, to create awareness of the ethical implications of using science and technology, and to develop an appreciation of the potentials and limitations of science and technology in understanding the workings of nature.

Difference between SL and HL
SL and HL students undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme, and a common Group 4 project and have overlapping elements in the option studied.

Whereas the skills and activities are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, in the additional higher level (HL) material and in the common option. The difference between SL and HL is mainly one of breadth and depth.

Chemistry - SL: Grades 11 and 12

This is a two-year course that follows the specifications of the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate. Class will meet for a total of four periods a week; twice for a single period, and once for a double-period assigned mostly for labs. Students will learn about measurement and data-processing throughout both years, especially during all experimental work.

Topics covered in the first year (11th grade) are atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonding, stoichiometric relationships, energetics, and kinetics.

Topics covered in the second year (12th grade) include equilibrium, acids and bases, redox processes, and organic chemistry. We will then work on one of the four following options: materials, biochemistry, energy, or medicinal chemistry.

In addition to the previously mentioned topics, towards the end of the first year, students will work on a multidisciplinary project (Group 4 project) in collaboration with students from all sciences.

Independently, at the beginning of the second year, every student will have to select an individual investigation on a theme of their choice to explore, analyze, and evaluate, and then communicate their findings as part of their Internal Assessment (IA), which will be part of their IB final grade.

As it is with all IB Learners, the students in this course will learn to be inquirers to ask themselves questions, and they will have to be good thinkers to be able to find an answer to their question. They have to be risk-takers and pursue their ideas, even if they are not that obvious, and to be reflective, in order to constantly rethink their methods. Most of all, they will learn to be good communicators, to collaborate with others and properly present their findings.

Physics - SL and HL: Grades 11 and 12

Topics covered in year one will include Measurement and Uncertainty; Mechanics; Waves; Circular Motion and Gravitation; and Electricity and Magnetism. There will be a self-study unit on Energy over the winter break. Topics for year two will include Thermal Physics; Atomic, Nuclear, and Particle Physics; Energy Production; and an IB “Option” Topic, which will be Astrophysics.

The objectives of the course are to build and learn to apply a body of knowledge about physics and the methods and techniques of scientific thinking; to develop experimental and investigative scientific skills; and to encourage an appreciation for the history and limitations of humanity’s remarkable progress in applying the scientific method to understand the workings of nature.

Difference between SL and HL

The HL Physics course is designed to give students a good preparation for the demands of university calculus-based courses in physics. Students with a strong interest in fields such as engineering, physics, mathematics, or architecture should take this course. A high IB score in HL Physics will enable a student to place out of the first semester of physics at many U.S. universities. Students who do not expect to pursue any further study of physics at the university level should consider SL.

SL and HL students study the same set of “core” topics. HL students study some of those topics in greater depth. Both levels will undertake an “Internal Assessment,” in which the student independently investigates a topic of interest to him or her. The course is taught in English.

Group 5

The IB program offers three strands of mathematics (Mathematical Studies Standard Level, Mathematics Standard Level, and Mathematics Higher Level), based on the interest, needs, and capabilities of the students.

Mathematical Studies - SL: Grades 11 and 12

The objective of the IB Mathematical Studies course is to build confidence and encourage an appreciation of mathematics in students who do not anticipate a need for mathematics in their future studies. The course will enable students to develop logical, critical, and creative thinking, an understanding of the principles of mathematics, patience and persistence in problem- solving, as well as the ability to communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts. The curriculum will focus on 140 hours over two years of instruction on eight topics—number and algebra, sets, logic and probability, functions, geometry and trigonometry, statistics, introductory differential calculus, and financial mathematics—and a student-led project.

IB Mathematics - SL: Grades 11 and 12

This course is designed for students who wish to gain a degree of understanding and competence to better understand their approach to other subjects. The curriculum will focus on 150 hours over two years of instruction on the following topics: functions, sequences and series, circular functions and trigonometry, vectors, statistics and probability, and calculus. In addition, students will prepare a short exploration on a topic of their choosing (Mathematical Exploration). This will allow them to investigate an area of interest, which may or may not be connected to the curriculum but should be at or above the level of the course. A graphing calculator is required. This course is taught in English.

IB Mathematics - HL: Grades 11 and 12

This course is designed for students who wish to study mathematics in depth, either as a subject in its own right or to pursue their interests in areas related to mathematics. The curriculum will focus on 250 hours over two years of instruction on the following topics: algebra, functions, equations’ circular functions, trigonometry, vectors, statistics and probability, and calculus.

Calculus Option: Students in HL will do an additional unit on calculus covering a deeper range of topics, including Taylor series and Maclaurin series.

Mathematical Exploration: Students will prepare a short exploration on a topic of their choosing. This will allow them to investigate an area of interest, which may or may not be connected to the curriculum but should be at or above the level of the course. A graphing calculator is required. This course is taught in English.

The IB Core at FASNY

Theory of Knowledge - Grades 11 and 12

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a course that fully explores what it means to think critically. Students focus on inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than on acquiring a specific body of knowledge. Students learn to examine how knowledge is built and evaluated by individuals and societies. Students recognize the validity of different perspectives, and they learn to test and challenge their own assumptions. As part of the Diploma Program core, TOK makes use of the knowledge gained in the other subject courses, as well as knowledge gained outside the classroom from the media or through CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), for example, to pursue its exploration. While TOK is not a traditional content-focused course, to say that TOK is a course without content would be misleading. In order to succeed, students must become fluent in the specific analytical terminology of TOK and know and be able to analyze the various Ways of Knowing (WOKs), as well as the various Areas of Knowledge (AOKs). Each Area of Knowledge has a specific Knowledge Framework, which students will learn as well.

The central features of the TOK course are critical analysis questions, or Knowledge Questions. In order to effectively create and “unpack” Knowledge Questions, students need to be able to analyze knowledge claims and distinguish between shared knowledge (the sort gained from studying a given content area, for example) and personal knowledge (the sort that is difficult to communicate to others, such as experiential knowledge or certain abilities).

There are two assessment tasks in the TOK course: the essay and the presentation. At the end of Year 1, students will prepare an oral presentation, to be assessed internally, based on a real-world situation, in which they explore a fundamental knowledge question that they have extracted from the situation. At the end of Year 2, students will write a TOK essay based on one of six prescribed titles published earlier in the year by the IBO. This essay is externally assessed and counts for two-thirds of the student's overall TOK exam score.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. It enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience. It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from the work. Students reflect on their CAS experiences as part of the Diploma Program and provide evidence of achieving eight learning outcomes for CAS. Throughout the Diploma Program, CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies.

The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

  • Creativity: Arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • Activity: Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the Diploma Program
  • Service: An unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

In order to demonstrate these concepts, students are required to undertake a CAS Project. The project challenges students to:

  • show initiative
  • demonstrate perseverance
  • develop skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making

CAS is also an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the Diploma Program. This course is taught in English.

Extended Essay (EE)

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Program subjects—normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research on a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a supervisor. This in-depth study leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen.

The extended essay is compulsory for all Diploma Program students. It is the result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student and presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words. In the course of working on the extended essay, students are provided with the opportunity to develop research and communication skills, develop creative and critical-thinking skills, engage a systematic process of research appropriate to the chosen subject, and experience the excitement of intellectual discovery. Although students are provided with some guidance from their supervisors at various stages of the process, the extended essay is largely meant to provide students with the opportunity to engage in independent research and writing.

The extended essay is externally assessed against common criteria, which is interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject. In combination with the grade for Theory of Knowledge, the extended essay contributes up to three points to the total score for the IB diploma. This course is taught in English.

Contact

Françoise Monier, IB DP Coordinator
fmonier@fasny.org

Learn more about the IB


FASNY IB group

IB students in FASNY Colors
during Spirit Week