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RAS 3 Pathways to University

The RAS Grades 9-12 is based in part on quite traditional US High School Diploma courses (grades 9 and 10) and in part on courses from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (grades 11 and 12): through this mixed approach, students are prepared both to graduate RAS with an accredited High School Diploma and to complete the full IB Diploma or achieve IB Course Certificates. 

As students head into Grades 11 and 12 they step into the last two years of their secondary school life and the world of college preparation. While some students may know exactly what career path they would like to follow and then choose the right university and major, a great many students do not. How should they prepare for university, and have the right qualifications, taking into account their strengths as a student?

At RAS we have three pathways to choose from that will get students into the college of their choice. All students that graduate from RAS earn a US Diploma and this forms the foundation for the qualifications needed to get into a university in the USA, Canada and Europe.

The Grades 11 and 12 Three (3) Pathways Approach at RAS is based on courses within the IB Diploma Program (IBDP), this being because it is felt that the combination of the academic rigor of the IBDP and the approaches to teaching and learning offered by the program best prepare RAS students for the life and learning that follows graduation. In short, the program encapsulates what is articulated in the school’s — vision, mission beliefs and the Profile of Graduates. 

This approach means that all students in Grades 11 and 12 will:

1. Study within IBDP courses only (including the option of studying up to one course online with Pamoja); 
2. Take courses in all six DP subject groups; 
3. Take the ‘Core’ element of Theory of Knowledge (ToK); 
4. Complete the IBDP Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) or the RAS Community Service (CS) requirements; 
5. IBDP students will undertake the full Extended Essay (EE);  
6. Continue a program of study that enables them to earn the credits required to be awarded the RAS High School Diploma. 

Please review the Grades 11 & 12 Three (3) Pathways Approach at RAS: Choosing your Grade 11 and 12 Course Options — Differentiated Pathways to University.

IBDP Model

All RAS students must choose one course from each of the following subject groups:
•    Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
•    Group 2: Language Acquisition
•    Group 3: Individuals and Societies
•    Group 4: Experimental Sciences
•    Group 5: Mathematics
•    Group 6: The Arts or Electives (an additional course from a group listed above)

Subjects are studied at either higher level (HL - courses representing 240 teaching hours across the two years) or standard level (SL - courses representing 150 teaching hours). 
The grading scheme in use for IBDP final grades is from 1 to 7 and is described as follows:

7: excellent; 6: very good; 5: good; 4: satisfactory; 3: mediocre; 2: poor; 1: very poor.

The IB awards the same number of points for HL and SL courses, reflecting the IB’s belief in the importance of achievement across a broad range of academic disciplines. HL and SL courses differ in scope but are assessed against the same grade descriptors, with HL candidates expected to demonstrate the various elements of the grade descriptors across a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills.

Pathway 1: RAS High School Diploma

In Grades 11 and 12 students will continue to earn credits towards their RAS High School Diploma. In order to receive a high school diploma from RAS, each student must earn a total of 25 credits. Students earn one credit for each year-long course that is successfully completed. To earn the high school diploma, these credits must be distributed amongst the subject areas as follows:

English                         4 

Social Studies              3  

Math                             3

Science                         3

PE/Health                     2

World Languages        2 in the same language 

Fine Arts                       2

Theory of Knowledge  1 

Elective courses            5

Students who have transferred into RAS during the high school years will have credits from previous schools counted towards their Diploma. 

Students must take one subject in each of the six subject groups but, subject to meeting the course prerequisites, can take them at standard level (SL) or higher level (HL). They must take the ‘Core’ element of Theory of Knowledge (ToK), the school’s Community Service (CS) element, but are not required to undertake an Extended Essay.

This path allows more time to focus on:
•    Passing high school courses with strong grades on the transcript;
•    Preparing for other college entrance assessments such as the SAT;
•    Extra-curricular development (community service & broadening interests);
•    Taking part in productions and developing the craft for a drama student;
•    Developing athletic skills and tournament experience for the athlete.

The advantage is:
•    A broad curriculum for those who have not yet decided on a specific major or career path;
•    Annual final exams covering that year’s work rather than exams at the end of a 2-year course that assess the whole course content.

Pathway 2: IB Course Certificates

In choosing this pathway, students can build on the Pathway 1 requirements by choosing to follow all or some subjects through to external examination at the IB level. This provides them with a distinct advantage in specific majors that may require strong passes in specified subjects for college acceptance e.g. chemistry and physics for engineering.

The advantage is:
•    University credit for specific subjects;
•    Added rigor increases students competitive edge in the college admissions process;
•    The broad curriculum suits students who have not yet decided on a specific major or career path.

As a result of either their preference, or of not meeting the course prerequisites, students may choose to take less than the three HL subjects required to be eligible for the award of the full Diploma (Pathway 3). They must take the ‘Core’ element of Theory of Knowledge (ToK), the school’s Community Service (CS) element, but are not required to undertake an Extended Essay.

An IB Diploma Program course result (DPCR), otherwise known as ‘IB Certificate’ – based on the 1-7 scale - will be awarded by the IB for any IB subject completed fully (all work and assessment requirements) across the two years. For subjects not examined by the IB, students will sit a RAS final exam in both of grades 11 and 12, assessing just that year’s work. 

IB certificates can be used in conjunction with a RAS diploma to earn advanced standing credit at a post-secondary institution. The award of IB Certificates is independent of a RAS high school diploma. The conditions of award for a RAS high school diploma are determined by the school and are not contingent on any external examinations.

This combined pathway is a common university preparation route, and one which many RAS students find to be the most suitable.

Pathway 3: The Full IB Diploma

In addition to Pathway 1, the student will benefit from the further development of their research and analytical skills that will give them an overall advantage in all subject areas.

The advantage is:
•    Preparation for college level courses and load;
•    The opportunity to complete an academic research paper, with guidance, prior to going to university;
•    Advanced placement and course credit potential up to as much as their freshman year in university;
•    The broad curriculum suits students who have not yet decided on a specific major or career path.

This path is for the more academically motivated student, as time dedication is required. The course produces a student that has an incredible work ethic, works well under pressure, is a deep analytical thinker, a problem solver and cares what happens in the world around them. 

The awarding of the full IB Diploma requires a minimum total of 24 points in the six courses (3 x SL plus 3 x HL) with no failing condition, the satisfactory completion of the Theory of Knowledge course, completion of an Extended Essay, and fulfillment of all CAS requirements.