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Throughout the program, students engage in long-term projects that require them to analyze historical content and make connections to larger political, religious, economic or social developments.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

    Enduring Understanding/Essential Knowledge: Students will look at the role of “big ideas” in history and the modern. Among the topics explored in the first semester will include power dynamics, nationalism, and gender roles. This strand will measure how effectively students demonstrate and understand the key ideas studied in class.

  • Research

    Students will build upon knowledge learned in the classroom by looking more deeply into various areas of study. They will find information

    from multiple sources, give appropriate credit to their sources, and will use evidence to draw and guide their decisions. The research grade will reflect a student’s ability to find, evaluate and incorporate new information into existing knowledge.

  • Effective Communication

    Effective Communication: Students will work to write with a clear focus and coherent organization paying close attention to historical accuracy.

    They will express their ideas and historical knowledge orally, in formal and informal discussions, debates, and presentations. They will pose questions and listen to the ideas of others. Additionally, they will present ideas through a variety of media including film, radio, podcast and multimedia productions.

  • Work Habits

    The Work Habits strand reflects the effort students put into completing homework, studying regularly, and working in class.