International Baccalaureate

The Primary Years Program 

The PYP from the International Baccalaureate Organization, prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom.

The PYP curriculum contains three key components, which explains how students learn, how educators teach, and the principles and practice of effective assessment within the program.


ICS believes that all students will develop enduring understandings by demonstrating growth in their ability to generate questions, critically research, analyze information, take action and reflect in an inquiry-based learning environment.    

IB Defines Inquiry as… 

  • speculating, exploring, questioning 
  • making connections between previous learning and current learning 
  • researching
  • developing and testing theories
  • collecting data, reporting findings and constructing explanations
  • clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
  • identifying assumptions 
  • taking and defending a position
  • solving problems in a variety of ways
  • analyzing and evaluating
  • considering alternative explanations. 

At the elementary school, we use the Kath Murdoch Inquiry Model to frame our planning around inquiry. The Inquiry Model includes: 

  • Tuning In: tuning-in to students thinking by establishing the known, connecting to students lives, sense of purpose for inquiry, first thinking, first invitation for questions 
  • Finding Out: gathering information from a range of sources- working as researchers- continuing to raise questions-learning to investigate
  • Sorting Out: analyzing information, looking for patterns, reviewing thinking, making meaning, expressing new understandings
  • Going Further: personal and small group pathways of investigation, taking learning further, personalizing
  • Making Conclusions: synthesizing and reflecting, reviewing earlier thinking, identifying changes in understanding, making connections between ideas, identifying what has been learned
  • Action: acting and applying, sharing new learning with others, making a difference with my learning, applying to new contexts, creating/constructing/doing

Diploma Program 

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is widely recognized as the worldwide standard for high school (pre-university) education. From its student-centered philosophy to its emphasis on depth and breadth of knowledge, independent research, international understanding, and critical thinking skills, the IBDP offers students academically rigorous two-year courses, studied individually as IB Certificates or within an IB Diploma.

ICS Addis has been authorized to offer the IB Diploma since 1982. The philosophy and mission of ICS align closely with the IB Diploma Program and recognizes the need for 21st century high school students to challenge themselves, particularly in their pre-university learning in grades 11-12. For many, this means pursuing the IB Diploma. For a variety of reasons, some students will opt for IB Certificates in individual subjects. We encourage all students to to select the best program for them at ICS and beyond, to be knowledgeable, well-balanced and internationally minded citizens when they graduate from ICS.

IB Mission

“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 programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their difference, can also be right.”


All students in grades 11-12 at ICS Addis participate in a wide range of service, active, and creative activities throughout the last two years of high school.

CAS is organized around the three strands of creativity, activity and service defined as follows.

  • Creativity—exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance 
  • Activity—physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle 
  • Service—collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need 

The IB’s CAS framework challenges students to reflect on their own personal growth through the activities they select, by aiming for the following seven CAS learning outcomes.

IBDP Requirements


All our high school students prepare for an ICS High School Diploma. Based on the North American model, this diploma requires students in grades 9-12 to study a series of mandatory and elective courses over their four years of high school, along with completing additional graduation requirements including Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) in grades 11-12. The high school courses offered at ICS Addis include IBDP courses in grades 11-12.

Most of our high school students aim for the IB Diploma concurrently with the High School Diploma. Beyond the ICS High School Diploma graduation requirements, IB Diploma Candidates meet the IB Diploma requirements as well, including a critical thinking course called Theory of Knowledge, an independent research project called the Extended Essay, and a balanced combination of IB courses.


Assessment in the IBDP includes work assessed internally (by the ICS teacher) and externally (by examiners). Internal assessment in each course are assigned, guided, and marked by our IBDP teachers during the course, and may take the form of lab reports, portfolios, oral presentations, research workbooks, or other forms of authentic assessment. This internally assessed work, combined with the student’s results on May examination papers, forms the final IB score awarded in July by the IBO. IB scores range from 1-7, with 7 being the highest.


The IB awards scores for successful completion of individual subjects, studied over two years in grades 11-12, and culminating in examinations. Students who do not choose to pursue the IB Diploma will sit the exams for individual subjects they study. Depending on the student’s university destination, satisfactory scores for IB courses may meet entry requirements or be awarded college credit.

IB Courses

  • IB Diploma students must choose six DP courses, one course from Groups 1-6. At least three of those courses must be studied at Higher Level (HL).
  • IB Diploma Candidates also must complete the Theory of Knowledge course and an Extended Essay, an independent research project in an IB subject with a teacher mentor.
  • IB Certificate students may study any combination of courses at any level, timetable permitting.

Core Requirements

  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS)
  • Extended Essay

Group 1 : Language and Literature

  • Amharic Literature SL/HL
  • English A Language & Literature SL/HL
  • Literature A SL (school-supported self-taught, available at SL only)

Group 2: Second Language

  • French B SL/HL
  • French ab initio SL
  • Spanish B SL/HL
  • Spanish ab initio SL

Group 3: Individuals and Societies


  • History SL/HL
  • Geography SL/HL
  • Business Management SL/HL
  • Environmental Systems and Societies SL


Group 4: Experimental Sciences

  • Biology SL/HL
  • Chemistry SL/HL
  • Computer Science SL/HL
  • Environmental Systems and Societies SL Only
  • Physics SL/HL

Group 5: Mathematics

  • Mathematics: Analytics and Approaches SL/HL
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations SL

Group 6: The Arts

  • Theatre SL/HL
  • Visual Arts SL/HL
  • Or a second subject from Groups 1-4


The IB Diploma Program provides a challenging, internationally focused, broad and balanced educational experience for students aged 16 to 19. The IB’s mission statement and Learner Profile capture important aspects of this experience. In their studies, students are expected to make connections between different academic disciplines and to develop international-mindedness from their own perspectives. The Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) component also provides students with opportunities for sustained personal growth.

At ICS Addis, we believe that students of all abilities benefit from this coherent, holistic approach to learning. A student’s past academic preparation and performance are useful when planning a course of studies in grades 11-12, but we do not restrict participation in the IB Diploma on the basis of ability or grades.

“Life in the 21st century, in an interconnected, globalized world, requires critical-thinking skills and a sense of international-mindedness, something that International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme students come to know and understand.”

To find out more about the IB Diploma Program, visit the IBO public website.

IB Transfer Students

IB students entering ICS during Grade 11 (DP1) or between Grade 11 and 12 (DP1 / DP2):

Changing schools in the middle of an IB program can sometimes be problematic, as schools do not always offer the same IB Diploma subjects and also cover the content in IB courses at different times. However, the IBO is well aware that students sometimes need to transfer from school to school and we all do our best to help students through the transition.

Mid-program transfers involve the sharing of information and IBDP documentation from school to school through the IBDP Coordinators. As a matter of testing security, IBO expects that all assessment documentation to be handled by the IBDP Coordinators, not the student.

Transfer students should request the listed information from their current teachers and/or IB Coordinator. If at all possible, all materials can be sent as a single package to arrive before the student starts at ICS.

Students can play their part by having all their previous year's school work available and the additional listed information for their new IBDP teachers. Please note that it can take months to clear shipments of personal belongings, so subject binders are best carried in for the start of school.