International Baccalaureate

ACA has been proudly offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program since September 2008 for students in grades 11 and 12. The students go through a process of application, interviews, course selection based on their career goals, and discussions with parents. Students may opt for a full diploma or individual certificates. The process of preparing for the rigors of the IBDP high level courses starts as early as in grade 2 with students participating in the Enrichment Program (grades 2 to 8) and the Honors Program (grades 9 and 10). The Enrichment and Honors Programs use the same US standards-based curriculum as the mainstream classes; however the standards of performance are set higher with more emphasis on critical thinking, logic, reasoning, research, writing, debate, and creativity. To participate in the Enrichment or Honors Programs, students must pass a series of assessments, teacher recommendations, interviews, and demonstrate the desire to be challenged.


The International Baccalaureate program began in 1968 as a program for the children of global diplomats. As of February 2018, there were 6,311 programs being offered worldwide, across 4,786 schools. “Between 2012 and 2017, the number of IB programs offered worldwide has grown by 39.3%.” ( The philosophy of the IB program is best represented in their mission statement.

 “The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is more than its educational programmes and certificates. At our heart we are motivated by a mission to create a better world through education.” (

Suggested Links for Parents and Students

IB DP Courses Offered at ACA

IB courses are known for their rigor and are internationally recognized.  They are two years in duration and often times cover the same content as a first year university course.  Many universities give students college credit(s) for successfully completing one or more courses.  We offer a robust and diverse selection of IB courses that will thoroughly prepare your child no matter where their post-secondary pursuits may take them.

Group 1

  • Language and Literature HL/SL

Group 2

  • Arabic Language and Literature HL/SL (allows student to receive bilingual diploma)
  • Spanish abinitio
  • French abinitio (GC)

Group 3

  • Economics HL/SL (GC)
  • Global Politics
  • History HL/SL
  • Psychology SL

Group 4

  • Physics HL/SL
  • Chemistry HL/SL
  • Biology HL/SL
  • Computer Science SL (BC)

Group 5

  • Math SL (HL only after passing entrance diagnostic exam)

Group 6

  • Visual Arts HL/SL

DP Core (diploma students only)

  • Theory of Knowledge
  • CAS
  • Extended Essay

Two Paths to be an IB student

At ACA, we feel strongly about education and in giving your child the very best courses and instruction available.  We require that all of our students take at least one IB course before graduating.  Students have the choice between one of two pathways of study in our IB program. 

Path 1 – Diploma Student

Diploma students opt to study all of their main subjects on an IB level.  This learning pathway requires them to complete the diploma core and six subjects.  Three of their six subjects are higher level, HL, and three are standard level, SL.  The diploma core represents integral research, philosophical and extra-curricular experiences that all IB diploma students must complete.  They are the Extended Essay (EE), the Theory of Knowledge course (TOK) and the Creativity, Action, Service component (CAS).

Path 2 – Course Student

Students choosing this pathway pick individual courses that directly impact their future university course of study, or for which they have a passion and interest. For example, a pre-med student might take Biology and Psychology.

Approaches to Teaching and Approaches to Learning

The method of teaching and learning is very different in an IB course. Teachers and students work collaboratively with students taking direct responsibility for their learning.  Furthermore, our teachers are trained in specific pedagogical strategies known as Approaches to Teaching and Learning, ATL.  ATL’s teaching strategies focus on inquiry, conceptual learning, developing local and global contexts, effective teamwork and collaboration, differentiation, and data-driven instruction.

Additionally, through ATL’s learning strategies, our students are directly taught thinking, communication, social, self-management, and research skills.  These skills aid them in the acquisition, personalization and ownership of their knowledge throughout life.

These approaches to teaching and learning are at the heart of IB instruction in ACA classrooms and directly correlate with student success.