HS History

The history program at IACS strives to provide students with a foundation to understand the complexities of conflicts and to analyze how events, ideas and structures of the past continue to shape our world today. The curriculum provides students with an awareness of the interrelationships between race, religion, politics, economics and culture. It allows students to articulate the role of previous eras in the formation of the modern world and the contemporary human experience. Our goal is for students to critique and evaluate history and, ultimately, develop their own arguments in order to better understand the world they live as well as the power of the individual to shape the future.

Project Based Approach

Throughout the program, students engage in long-term projects that require them to analyze historical content and make connections to larger political, religious, economic or social developments. Within the history curriculum, students may debate controversial issues, role-play, write short stories and journals, compare and contrast historical and contemporary events, or create exhibits that are open to the public. In addition, students often critique and evaluate historical sources, identify a question worth asking and write a research paper or share their findings with the class.

In the program, students are assessed not only how familiar they are with key events and figures taught in class but also on their ability to take their understanding to the next level in written papers, presentations and projects that aim to have students questions history, develop their own theories and integrate historical evidence into their arguments. The curriculum strives to provide students with the skills needed to research, the content and key knowledge to make larger connections, and the power to effectively communicate their own arguments.


As in all disciplines, work in History encompasses a wide range of skills that are hard to summarize in a single grade. To help student and teachers communicate clearly about important skills and expectations, assessment in the History department is divided into four strands.

  • Enduring Understanding

    Students will develop deep understandings of the historical time periods they study.  They will be able to understand the culture, beliefs, and lifestyles of people living in those periods.  Students will explore key historical events and historical leaders. In addition, students will be able to articulate the role of different time periods in the formation of the modern world and contemporary human experience.

  • Research

    Students will build upon knowledge learned in the classroom by looking further into key areas of study. They will find information from many sources, possibly including: books, articles, newspapers, the internet, magazines, and documentaries. Students will give appropriate credit to their sources, and will articulate new and deeper understanding by using evidence to draw and guide their conclusions.     

  • Effective Communication

    Students will write with a clear focus and coherent organization, paying close attention to historical accuracy. They will compose well-organized, multi-paragraph papers that use evidence and supporting information to support and guide their arguments. They will express their ideas and historical knowledge orally, in formal and informal discussions, debates, and presentations. Additionally, they may present ideas through a variety of media.

  • Work Habits

    Students will record and complete assignments, fulfilling all project components. They will take feedback both from their peers and from teachers to make significant changes from rough drafts to a final draft. Students will turn assignments in on time and use class time effectively to complete their work.