Upper School Curriculum

The Cambridge International School curriculum is the cornerstone of our educational approach at ISR. Through this well-founded curriculum and our highly qualified teachers from around the world, we prepare our students in the best possible way for their preferred universities and a successful future. The Cambridge Pathway is a reliable guide, ensuring that our students achieve academic excellence through a carefully structured curriculum. Our commitment to excellence is evident in the comprehensiveness of the subjects we offer and our structured teaching method. The Cambridge curriculum is a powerful tool for igniting in students a deep-rooted passion for learning and knowledge.

English Grades 9–12

The English program focuses on establishing skills in composition, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and oral response. Class readers with historical content are used to provide a valuable context in which to study and perfect these skills. Literature is introduced gradually in the upper grades to develop critical analysis skills and an appreciation of the world’s literary genres.

Upper School English courses are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of non-native and native speakers of English. Our long-term focus is preparation for university.

English Courses

In Grades 7, 8, and 9, we offer English courses in:

  • Literature
  • Language
  • Transitional English
  • Intensive English

In Grade 10, we offer English courses in:

  • Literature (includes preparation for IGCSE)
  • Language (includes preparation for IGCSE)
  • Transitional English

In Grades 11 and 12, we offer the following English classes for both the Full IB Diploma and alternatively the IB Diploma Program Course:

  • IB Literature
  • IB Language and Literature
  • IB English B


ISR requires the study of German either as a mother tongue or as a foreign language for all of its students in Grades 5 – 10. Students can choose to continue through Grade 12. In a language program designed to mirror that of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German program at ISR focuses on writing, reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary at both mother-tongue and foreign levels. The mother-tongue German course integrates the study of classical German literature starting in Grade 7 and continuing through Grade 12.


A major goal of the Math department at ISR is to introduce students to main ideas and concepts in mathematics (both Algebra and Geometry) and to develop and improve students’ abilities in the following areas: critical thinking, independent analysis, problem-solving, experimenting, and publishing results and information. While developing their analytical and technical skills, students apply their mathematical talent to solve a variety of theoretical or real-life problems.

  • Mathematics in Primary and Middle School is taught as an integrated discipline, allowing for fluidity across boundaries between different branches of math. Starting in Grade 7 students are taught Algebra, set theory, and computer science.
  • In Grades 8 and 9, the study of Algebra and computer science is continued along with the study of geometry
  • In Grade 10 students may choose between Math for Arts and Math for Sciences.
  • In Grades 11 and 12 they have to choose between the Math High Level, Math Standard Level, and Math Study courses.

Our continuing goal is to bring Mathematics to students by improving and varying our in-class work and extracurricular activities, and by exposing students to research and mathematical exploration.

The knowledge and skills students acquire allow them to participate effectively in national and international Mathematics examinations before and after graduating from ISR.


Science as a general course is offered at ISR in Grades 5 – 9. Students in these grades focus on the study of life, earth, physical sciences, and mathematical methods. In Grades 10–12, ISR offers a three-track science curriculum in biology, chemistry, and physics in modern laboratory facilities.

Our Approach to Digitalization in Class

At ISR, we firmly believe that technology has an essential role in the classroom when used responsibly. We believe that technology is a valuable tool to complement rather than substitute teaching. While we emphasize the importance of handwriting skills, we also strive to provide classroom-based opportunities for children to embrace and explore the benefits of technological advancements such as AI, Virtual Reality, and Programming.

Computing Curriculum

In our Upper School, we have developed a comprehensive Computing Curriculum that ensures our students engage with technology early and safely. Digital safety is a vital topic that is thoroughly discussed and taught across all grades. Our students use computers to create and store digital content, develop problem-solving skills, and work with software to enhance their English, Math, Science, and Art abilities.

The computing curriculum is based on the Cambridge IGCSE 0478 syllabus, and aims to develop these skills through the theory content covered in the course.

  • Students will learn about computer hardware and software, as well as the basics of programming and algorithms.
  • The syllabus also covers the principles of computer networks and data communication, as well as the importance of computer security and ethical considerations in computing.
  • In addition, students will develop their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills through practical activities and projects. Overall, the year 9 computing curriculum provides a strong foundation for students who are interested in pursuing further studies in computer science or related fields.

Students learn about algorithm design and problem-solving. The curriculum, based on the Cambridge IGCSE 0478 syllabus, covers a range of topics that are essential for students interested in computer science. Our program emphasizes the importance of teamwork and collaboration in problem-solving and provides students with a strong foundation in algorithm design.

In the first year of their IB program, our students have the option to select Computing as one of their IB subjects. They can even choose to specialize and take it as an ‘honors’ course. Those who choose Computing as an IB subject and/or as an ‘advanced’ subject will deepen their knowledge to such an extent that it will lay a solid foundation for a future career in the field.

  • Students will be introduced to the JavaScript programming language.
  • They will develop concepts for software solutions.
  • They will learn about data structures and various control systems.

In Grade 12, students build upon what they have learned in Grade 11 and delve into computer architecture and data representation. The internal IB examination in Computing offers students the chance to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in Year 11 to a practical project, showcasing their creativity and problem-solving abilities. Throughout Computing lessons in Year 12, students acquire valuable skills applicable in various industries, such as software development, cybersecurity, and data analysis. This subject lays a strong foundation for computer science studies and related fields, opening up exciting career opportunities for those interested.

Social Science

Grades 7 – 9, social sciences cover both geography and history, with the main focus on the study of history from ancient civilization to the 20th century. Students gain knowledge and understanding of these time periods through the texts used. Project work allows the students to further explore areas of special interest. Additionally, local German content in history, politics, and institutions is integrated into German lessons in Grades 7 – 9. Grades 10 – 12 offers a Social Science curriculum consisting of classes such as History, Economics, Geography, and Business.

French / Spanish / Japanese / Chinese

Beginning in Grade 6, students choose between French, Spanish (starting from beginner level), and Japanese or Chinese (for native speakers) as their third language. As is the case with both English and German, third language classes focus on developing students’ skills in reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, oral response, and writing.

Enrichment Courses

Art, Music (vocal and instrumental), Computing, and Physical Education complete the academic program in the Upper School at ISR. These survey courses are required in Grades 5 – 9 (PE to Grade 10) and expose the students to the liberal arts, giving them a broad base of subjects to choose from in Grades 10–12.

IGCSE, IB Diploma Program

Secondary school students at ISR are prepared for external exams in Grades 7 – 12. In Grade 9, students already meet with the University Counselor and the Academic Head to start thinking about university and the path they would like to take.

In Grades 9 and 10, students take International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) courses.

In Grade 11, most ISR students begin the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. IB exams are taken in Grade 12.

To become a graduate of ISR, a student must acquire 26 successfully-completed credits in Grades 9 – 12 to obtain an ISR High School Diploma.

American universities require sitting the SAT and/or ACT and, if necessary, TOEFL. These are entrance exams only and not leaving certificates.

Through these steps, ISR students are prepared to meet the requirements of the most demanding universities in the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and mainland Europe, the Middle and Far East, and Australia.

Contact us!
Schedule now!
Apply now!
Work with us!
ISR International School on the Rhine