Upper School Curriculum

Upper School at a Glance

Motivated by their love for learning and desire to take intellectual risks, our Upper School students strive for academic excellence. Students in grades 9 to-12 begin to take on more challenging course work and become more independent and dynamic thinkers in the classroom. Students may place into Advanced Placement (AP) courses starting in grade 10. Once in grade 11, students also have the opportunity to pursue the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma. Advisory meetings are a time for students to develop relationships with peers and faculty members and build skills essential to their personal development. Most importantly, Upper School students are the leaders of our community and often are seen spearheading clubs or activities, organizing House challenges, and presenting and leading sessions during school events.

View Our Course Descriptions

Please note that while this guide reflects the current and/or upcoming academic year offerings, courses are subject to change. Families are encouraged to inquire with our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Sara Crucet, via scrucet@dwight.global about any specific courses or subject areas of interest. 

Extended Essay

Extended Essay is a months-long independent study that promotes high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, creativity, and communication skills. Culminating in a 4000-word essay midway through the student’s senior year, the Extended Essay provides an opportunity for independent research under the guidance of an experienced mentor or faculty member, and is terrific practical preparation for undergraduate research. Students are asked to select a topic, research it, formulate a clear research question, investigate that question, and answer it clearly and comprehensively in writing. The essay hones analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of knowledge skills, and is mandatory for all students in the IB Diploma Program.

  • IB DP Class
Creativity, Action, and Service

The “CAS” course, or Creativity, Activity, and Service, asks students to embody attributes of the IB learner profile, as caring members of the community who demonstrate a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. The three strands of the program are defined as follows: Creativity — exploring ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance; Activity — physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle; and Service — collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need. CAS is at the heart of the Diploma Program and is an IB curriculum requirement of all 11 and 12 grade students. 

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Business Management | Grade 11

Students cover a wide breadth of material, including business organization as an environment, accounting, and finance, human resources, marketing, operations,and business strategy. Students investigate the purpose of businesses and advantages and disadvantages of various organizational structures. The financial portion of business is introduced during the accounting and finance unit, in which students learn not only how to build the three basic final accounts but also how to conduct ratio analysis while analysing the meaning behind these calculations. In the marketing unit, students categorize and discuss many intuitive concepts, and assess the fit of marketing mix to a good or service.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP History I | Grade 11

History is an exploratory subject that fosters a sense of inquiry. It is also an interpretive discipline, allowing opportunity for engagement with multiple perspectives and opinions. Studying history develops an understanding of the past, which leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of humans and of the world today. The Diploma Programme (DP) history I course focuses on Euroepan and Asian historical topics spanning from 1850- 1945. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills. In this way, the course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration of the past.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Economics | Grade 11

Economics is an exciting, dynamic subject that allows students to develop an understanding of the complexities and interdependence of economic activities in a rapidly changing world. At the heart of economic theory is the problem of scarcity. While the world’s population has unlimited needs and wants, there are limited resources to satisfy these needs and wants. As a result of this scarcity, choices have to be made. By focusing on the six real-world issues through the nine key concepts (scarcity, choice, efficiency, equity, economic well-being, sustainability, change, interdependence and intervention), students of the DP economics course will develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will encourage them to act responsibly as global citizens. Students produce a portfolio of three commentaries based on published extracts from the news media using the key concepts as a lens. 

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Biology | Grades 11, 12

This course is the first half of the intensive two-year IB Diploma Programme Biology course that is very similar to an introductory college-level biology course. Higher Level, compared to Standard Level will cover topics at a greater depth and faster pace and is suited to students who may be considering a career in science or medicine. All students are welcome to take Standard Level. Students rigorously engage in a detailed exploration of biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, biostatistics, and the human body systems. Students also spend a significant amount of time linking the various biological concepts they learn to relevant global issues such as nutrition, health, and the politics of the food and drug industries. Students are encouraged to challenge many of the established paradigms and to examine the discipline from multiple perspectives. Students complete a multiplicity of formative and summative assessments, quizzes and exams, critical thinking problems, data interpretation, and several laboratory investigations.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Language B | Grades 11, 12

IB Language B is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and intercultural understanding to enable them to communicate successfully in an environment where the language studied is spoken. Language B is a language acquisition course designed for students with some previous experience of the target language. Students further develop their ability to communicate through the study of language, themes and texts. There are five prescribed themes: identities, experiences, human ingenuity, social organization and sharing the planet.   Both language B SL and HL students learn to communicate in the target language in familiar and unfamiliar contexts. The distinction between language B SL and HL can be seen in the level of competency of the student.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Physics | Grade 11

Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. The sciences are taught practically. Students have opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings. The investigations may be laboratory based or they may make use of simulations and databases. Students develop the skills to work independently on their own design, but also collegiately, including collaboration with schools in different regions, to mirror the way in which scientific research is conducted in the wider community. Students study a mathematical treatment of simple harmonic motion, electricity and magnetism and magnetic induction, thermal physics, nuclear physics, and and introduction to quantum physics.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP English A Literature 1 | Grade 11

This course is the first half of the rigorous IB English A Literature Higher Level course. Readings focus on authorial choice with respect to narrative voice, style, structure, and themes. The syllabus may include Roberto Bolano’s Amulet, Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Amelie Nothomb’s Fear and Trembling, William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time. While reading, students are also writing constantly, in both short and long contexts, during homework and in-class assessments. Ultimately, they produce the IB Literature Essay, a 1500-word paper closely analyzing one of the texts. Students must also complete a variety of writing tasks — including reflective statements, responses to texts, creative pieces, self-assessments, and others — for the IB Learner Portfolio. In addition, their verbal-expression abilities are sharpened and assessed through full-class and small-group forums.

  • IB DP Class
IB DP Analysis and Approaches | Grade 11

This course is designed for students who need mathematics in college for areas such as chemistry, economics, and business. The class emphasizes algebraic methods, giving students the opportunity to develop strong real-world and abstract mathematical problem solving skills. During the year, students will build on the skills while deepening their knowledge of trigonometry and algebra, and are introduced to differentiation and integration of simple functions. Students use these calculus skills to solve problems involving kinematics as well as problems involving gradient of functions and areas under curves.

  • IB DP Class
Theory of Knowledge I | Grade 11

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a unique course available to all grade eleven Dwight students. TOK is a compulsory course for full IB diploma students. In this course, students examine the nature of knowledge, learn to question assumptions, and develop a broader understanding of the world in which they live. Students display their understanding in a TOK exhibition assessing the ability of the student to show how TOK manifests in the world around us. The exhibition is an internal assessment component; it is marked by the teacher and is externally moderated by the IB.

  • IB DP Class