The IB Programme at the British International School of Chicago, South Loop, one of the finest IB High Schools in Chicago, affords students the opportunity to gain a qualification highly valued by top universities around the world.
BISC_Chicago_South Loop_2019_021

The IB Program

This unique course at one of the top IB international schools in Chicago gives students the best possible preparation for college or university, opening the door to their top choices and a successful future. At the most important stage of their education, our IB Programme in Chicago can represent a rewarding chapter for students aged 16 to 18.

The IB Program at the Upper Secondary School at the British International School of Chicago, South Loop is a challenging course that will see students develop in six core subjects and gain vital life skills. State-of-the-art facilities and highly qualified teachers make our IB school one of the finest in Chicago, giving our students the best possible opportunity to unlock their potential and achieve their aspirations. For more information regarding our IB Program, just contact a member of our team.

Studying the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, students work towards earning an internationally-recognized qualification that is respected throughout the United States and by the world’s top colleges and universities. The program provides a variety of curriculum choices designed to fully prepare students for college studies and help them develop to their full potential.

Students go beyond the collection of facts and learn how to flourish in our interconnected and globalized world. They ask challenging questions, discover what it means to learn, develop a strong sense of identity and culture, as well as the ability to communicate with and understand people different from them. Time spent with peers during Form Time and C.A.S.E. (Creativity, Action, Service, and Enrichment) continues to spark students’ holistic growth through leadership opportunities, collaborative work, and community service.

We also see students lending the knowledge they have acquired over the years to younger peers in support sessions and clubs. In Years 12 and 13, students become especially engaged in the college planning process. They continue to meet regularly with our College Counsellors, receiving guidance and support with college applications, essays, and transcripts.

On the other side of Year 13 is a new phase for students. Empowered by our personalized instruction and international curriculum, they graduate from BISC, South Loop equipped with the knowledge, skills, and ambition to achieve beyond what they may have thought possible – academically, socially, and personally.


Understanding the Curriculum

Course Routes

Based on their IGCSE course route and prior attainment requirements, students in Years 12 and 13 follow one of three IB course routes.


IB Diploma

Graduating with Double Honors Students study six IB subjects, three at Standard Level Honors and three at Higher Level Honors. They must also successfully complete the IB Diploma Programme Core Requirements and Physical Education and Kinetic Wellness. Successful completion results in the IB Diploma and High School Double Honors Diploma.


IB Certificates

Graduating with Single Honors Students study six IB subjects. Up to six subjects can be at Standard Level Honors, with a maximum of two at Higher Level Honors. Any of the six subjects not at Honors Level are at College Prep Level. Students are also required to successfully complete Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) hours and Physical Education and Kinetic Wellness. Students can opt for additional certification in Theory of Knowledge, CAS, and Extended Essay. Successful completion results in IB Certificates and the High School Diploma.


High School Diploma

Students study six subjects, all at College Prep Level. They also complete Creativity, Action, Service hours, Theory of Knowledge (100 hours, essay, and presentation), a project-based piece of research, as well as P.E. & Kinetic Wellness. Successful completion results in the High School Diploma


Course Options

Students take Physical Education and Kinetic Wellness and one subject in each of Groups 1-6, ensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences, mathematics, and the arts. In addition, the IB Diploma Programme is comprised of three Core Requirements – Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and Creativity, Action, Service – that aim to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world situations.



Purpose of Assessment

Assessment is the gathering and analysis of information about student performance. It identifies what students know, understand, can do, and feel at different stages in the learning process; this information guides teachers in instruction. Assessment is an ongoing and daily part of school life, and the formative comments students receive develop their understanding of the skills and knowledge required to be successful in each course.


The aims and purpose of assessment are to:


IB Assessment

The IBDP culminates in written examinations marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in school, which are initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external examiners, or sent directly to external examiners. IB subjects are assessed using a points system from 1 to 7. The IB Diploma is awarded to students who achieve at least 24 points (subject to minimum levels of performance across the whole program) and satisfactorily complete the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and Creativity, Action, and Service requirements. The highest total an IBDP student can achieve is 45 points.


Setting Targets

Regardless of previous academic achievement, students are expected to make appropriate progress and continually improve. Our teachers are highly trained in estimating and setting academic targets that challenge student learning. Teachers use students’ results to set challenging, yet achievable academic targets. High School students usually achieve short-term targets by each academic report and long-term targets by the end of the school year or the end of High School. We continually track and monitor the academic achievements of every student in every subject to ensure they are reaching their goals. Students also reflect on their academic achievement during every lesson and after homework assignments and assessments. If a teacher identifies a student whose progress is slowing, the school administers an individual learning plan to help ensure the student is back on track by the next report.


Academic Reports

Academic reports describe students’ academic and social development and list targets in all subjects for the student to concentrate on before the next report. Teachers communicate with families about student achievement and progress via four reports during the school year in October, January, March, and June. Staff use results from the October and March reports to evaluate which course route each student should pursue. The student’s course route and attainment grade are detailed on the academic reports in January and June, and entered onto their college transcript. Any transitions between course routes must be discussed among the student, parents, teachers, and School Leadership Team. There are parent consultations with teachers scheduled during the school year. Parents may also meet with teachers outside of the consultation dates.



There are two semesters during the school year. At the end of each semester, students receive a grade for each subject, which reflects their attainment over the semester. The subject grades for Semester 1 and Semester 2 are published on the students’ official college transcript. Halfway through each semester, students receive a “progress grade”. This grade is not published on the college transcript and serves to demonstrate the students’ current attainment. Students receive an assessment map from for each subject at the start of the school year. The map outlines how final and progress grades are determined.


IB Curriculum Guide

IB Curriculum Guide 23-24



A Nord Anglia education means your child will have the knowledge, confidence and creativity to excel at whatever they choose to do or be in life.

More about academic excellence