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Welcome to DP Higher Level History, Year One!

According to the IB Diploma Programme History Guide (2015), “The IB Diploma Programme (DP) history course is a world history course based on a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, and provides a balance of structure and flexibility. The course emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills as well as gaining factual knowledge. It puts a premium on developing the skills of critical thinking, and on developing an understanding of multiple interpretations of history. In this way, the course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration of the past..”  
NOTE: DP Group 3: HL History is a two-year course as are the majority of DP courses.  This syllabus focuses on the 1st year of the course.

The aims of all group 3, individuals and societies, courses as well as aims specific to DP Group 3: HL History are to:

  • encourage the systematic and critical study of: human experience and behaviour; physical, economic and social environments; the history and development of social and cultural institutions
  • develop in the student the capacity to identify, to analyse critically and to evaluate theories, concepts and arguments about the nature and activities of the individual and society
  • enable the student to collect, describe and analyse data used in studies of society, to test hypotheses and interpret complex data and source material
  • promote the appreciation of the way in which learning is relevant to both the culture in which the student lives and the culture of other societies
  • develop an awareness in the student that human attitudes and opinions are widely diverse and that a study of society requires an appreciation of such diversity
  • enable the student to recognize that the content and methodologies of the subjects in group 3 are contestable and that their study requires the toleration of uncertainty.
  • develop an understanding of, and continuing interest in, the past
  • encourage students to engage with multiple perspectives and to appreciate the complex nature of historical concepts, issues, events and developments
  • promote international-mindedness through the study of history from more than one region of the world
  • develop an understanding of history as a discipline and to develop historical consciousness including a sense of chronology and context, and an understanding of different historical perspectives
  • develop key historical skills, including engaging effectively with sources
  • increase students’ understanding of themselves and of contemporary society by encouraging reflection on the past.

General assessment objectives for this course, as established by the IB, are:

  • Assessment objective 1: Knowledge and understanding

o    Demonstrate detailed, relevant and accurate historical knowledge.

o    Demonstrate understanding of historical concepts and context.

o    Demonstrate understanding of historical sources. (Internal assessment and paper 1)

  • Assessment objective 2: Application and analysis

o    Formulate clear and coherent arguments.

o    Use relevant historical knowledge to effectively support analysis.

o    Analyse and interpret a variety of sources. (Internal assessment and paper 1)

  • Assessment objective 3: Synthesis and evaluation

o    Integrate evidence and analysis to produce a coherent response.

o    Evaluate different perspectives on historical issues and events, and integrate this evaluation effectively into a response.

o    Evaluate sources as historical evidence, recognizing their value and limitations. (Internal assessment and paper 1)

o    Synthesize information from a selection of relevant sources. (Internal assessment and paper 1)

  • Assessment objective 4: Use and application of appropriate skills

o    Structure and develop focused essays that respond effectively to the demands of a question.

o    Reflect on the methods used by, and challenges facing, the historian. (Internal assessment)

o    Formulate an appropriate, focused question to guide a historical inquiry. (Internal assessment)

o    Demonstrate evidence of research skills, organization, referencing and selection of appropriate sources. (Internal assessment)

Standards-Based Grading:

This course uses standards-based grading, which ensures that course grades more accurately reflect the level of student proficiency on established course content standards and assessment objectives.  All course assessments, both formative and summative, are aligned to the IB assessment objectives to some extent. In the gradebook, therefore, course assessments are organized into two categories:

  • Academic Practice and Formative Assessment Activities (20% of course grade) = Formative assessments are assignments and assessments intended to provide you with opportunities for the development and practice of knowledge and skills necessary to meet and/or exceed the content standards as established by the IB for this course.  Academic practice and formative assessment work will be reviewed to offer feedback to the student.  Academic practice is essential in strengthening one’s knowledge, skills and performance in advance of completing summative assessments. Traditionally, these are the short quizzes, daily class work and activities and/or homework assignments.
  • Summative Assessments (80% of course grade) = Summative assessments are assessments intended to evaluate the level of student proficiency according to established content standards and assessment objectives.  Such assessment will be marked according to the IB assessment rubrics relevant to the task and content.  Traditionally, summative assessments are tests, essays and projects, but may also include graded discussions and simulations.  NOTE: All summative assessments must be completed in order to receive a passing grade for the course.

Your very best effort is expected in all assignments and assessments, whether formative or summative in nature.  You may track course progress via the online Student Portal and family members may do the same via the Parent Portal. Grades are regularly entered over the course of the quarter, however, there are some periods in the quarter calendar where there may be fewer assessments entered than other periods.  If you or family members have any questions about the course, progress within the course or general concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Harder at the contact information provided.  Additionally, if your overall course grade is less than a C, you can expect a one-to-one conversation with Ms. Harder as well as communication with parents/guardians regarding expectations and opportunities to improve academic success.

The Grading Scale is:

A   = 92-100%

A-  = 90-91.9%


B+  = 88-89.9%

B   = 82-87.9%

B-  = 80-81.9%


C+  = 78-79.9%

C   = 72-77.9

C-  = 71-73.9%


D+  = 68-69.9%

D   = 62-67.9%      

D-  = 60-61.9%

F     = 59.9% & below 


Assessment Due Dates and Deadlines
If you are absent for excused or foreseen reasons, you should notify the instructor and turn in the assigned work before your absence.  Due dates are when assessments are expected to be submitted, though some flexibility may be available at the discretion of Ms. Harder.  Deadlines, however, are non-negotiable. In other words, assessments will not be accepted after established deadlines pass. Many deadlines are established by IB, necessitating that school due dates are adhered to in order to comply with non-negotiable IB deadlines.  You are expected to use your student planner to note all deadlines as well as other commitments so that you may successful manage the demands on their time.  To the extent that we are able, major assessment deadlines will fall on Tuesdays and Fridays.  NOTE: IB Internal assessment final deadlines are non-negotiable and are NOT subject to the standards-based grading policy.

Assessment Revision Opportunities
To assist you in meeting or exceeding the standards and assessment objectives, you have the opportunity to improve your achievement on summative assessments by redoing the assessment or completing alternative assessments that address the same standards and assessment objectives.  In order to resubmit or revise a summative assessment, you must meet with Ms. Harder, discuss steps you will take to improve your performance on the summative assessment and schedule a time to resubmit or revise the specific summative assessment in question.  “Request to Resubmit” forms will be available in class and on Ms. Harder’s website.   

The curriculum we follow is set out by IB and will best prepare you for the examinations you will take at the end of the two-year course. Chosen topics from the IB curriculum are based on topics of previous study, connections to state and national standards and, finally, interest in and relevance to your lives both now and in the future. Using elements of the IB educational and pedagogical philosophy, together with a variety of instructional strategies and ongoing support to improve academic success, you will find a rich, challenging and college-preparatory educational experience in this course.

All students are required to complete all required IB internal and external assessments for the course.  These assessments are to be completed according to the calendar dates provided by the IB and set by the school to support successful completion of these assessments.  For this course, all students must complete the following:

  • Historical Investigation (Internal Assessment) = The Historical Investigation is a structured assessment that requires you to investigate an appropriate history research question chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. This assessment, supported in class, is an independent project, assessed by Ms. Harder and with a sampling of investigations sent to an IB-trained moderator to evaluate teacher implementation of course content standards and assessment objectives.  This assessment is completed during the first year of the course, with a rough draft due on March 1st and the final, moderator-ready draft due on April 15th.
  • Papers (External Assessment) = Students take examinations, called Papers, in the month of May at the end of the second year of this course.  All DP HL History students take Papers 1, 2 and 3. 

Together, these assessments create your IB course mark of 1 – 7, with a score of 4 considered satisfactory and many colleges and universities getting credit for scores of 4 or higher.  College recognition policies vary from school to school.  The course mark of 1 – 7 is based on the following assessment percentages:

Assessment Description

IB Assessment Dates

HL %

Topic Addressed in

Historical Investigation

Internal Assessment

Rough Draft = March 1st

Final, Moderator-Ready Draft = May 1st



Year 1 (11th grade)

Paper 1 – Prescribed Subject

External Assessment

May 2017

Length of Examination = 1 hour



Year 1 – Rights and Protest (11th grade)

Paper 2 – 20th Century World Topics:

External Assessment

May 2017

Length of Examination = 90 minutes



Year 1 – Topic #10: Authoritarian States (11th grade)


Year 2 - Topic #12: The Cold War: Superpower Tensions and Rivalries (12th grade)

Paper 3 – History of the Americas

External Assessment

May 2017

Length of Examination = 2½ hours



Year 2 – Three topics covered in depth

The general layout of the year is as follows:

UNIT #1: Our Particular Space, Place and Time Then, Now and Tomorrow – Considering the Discipline and Methodology of History and Historiography:

Students learn about the discipline and methodologies of history.

  • Why and How We Study History
  • Historical Concepts and Processes
  • Introduction to Historiography

UNIT #2: Paper One, Prescribed Subject #4 – Rights and Protest

Students study the Civil Rights movement in the United States (1954 – 1965) and Apartheid South Africa (1948 – 1964).  Through detailed case studies, we explore the following:

  • Nature and characteristics of discrimination
  • Protests and action
  • The role and significance of key persons and group

UNIT #3: Historical Investigation – FINAL (Moderator-Ready) DRAFT SUBMITTED NO LATER THAN MAY 1st

  • Explanation of and Preparation and Support for the IB Internal Assessment
  • Forming a Research Question
  • Research and Writing Skills
  • Academic Integrity (including effective citing and referencing)

UNIT #4: Paper Two, World History Topic #10 – Authoritarian States

Students study the rise and impact of authoritarianism through analysis of three authoritarian states, each of different regions (Africa and the Middle East; The Americas; Asia and Oceania; and Europe).  Analysis centers on the following content:

  • Emergence of authoritarian states:
    • Conditions in which authoritarian states emerged: economic factors; social division; impact of war; weakness of political system
    • Methods used to establish authoritarian states: persuasion and coercion; the role of leaders; ideology; the use of force; propaganda
  • Consolidation and maintenance of power:
    • Use of legal methods; use of force; charismatic leadership; dissemination of propaganda
    • Nature, extent and treatment of opposition
    • Impact of the success and/or failure of foreign policy on the maintenance of power
  • Aims and results of policies:
    • Aims and impacts of domestic economic, political, cultural and social policies
    • Impact of policies on women and minorities
    • Authoritarian control and the extent to which it was achieved

DP History and TOK Integration

In addition to learning content, historiography and historical skills, you will study history using, in part, tools provided by the IB educational philosophy and Diploma Programme Core elements. You will discuss knowledge issues related to history, which will be supported by the DP Theory of Knowledge capstone course.  Knowledge issue questions regularly discussed include but are not limited to:

  • What is a historian’s methodology?  What is unique about the methodology of history?
  • What ‘ways of knowing’ do historians use when attempting to find historical truth?
  • To what extent can historical truth be found and/or determined?
  • To what extent is history discovered or invented?
  • How do we decide which events are historically significant?
  • Is eyewitness testimony a reliable source of evidence?
  • To what extent do opinion and/or bias affect the work of historians?
  • How do we decide which events are historically significant?
  • In what ways should we consider the extent to which the ‘context’ of a historian in the development of a new historical account/interpretation?

History is an area of knowledge that studies the recorded past. It raises knowledge questions such as whether it is possible to talk meaningfully about a historical fact and what such a fact might be, or how far we can speak with certainty about anything in the past. Studying history also deepens our understanding of human behaviour, as reflecting on the past can help us to make sense of the present.

Documentary evidence plays an important role in history, which raises questions about the basis for judgments of reliability of that evidence. The individual historian also plays an important role in history and in the 20th century there was much debate over whether historical facts exist independently of historians. Some argue that there is always a subjective element in historical writing because historians are influenced by the historical and social environment in which they are writing and this unavoidably affects their selection and interpretation of evidence.

DP History and the IB learner profile

Also incorporated into the course are on a daily basis is acknowledge and use of the traits of an IB Learner as established by the IB Learner Profile.  This profile states that IB learners (you!) strive to be:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

DP History and the Extended Essay and Creativity, Activity and Service
You may find inspiration within our DP Group 3: HL History course for topics to investigate through an Extended Essay or history-related CAS or Service Learning projects to develop.  Consider the many ways you can integrate what you learn and do in this course as you engage with all of the CP and/or DP Core components.

Academic Support
Tuesdays (in Rm #215) and Thursdays (in Rm #129) after school are the official tutorials for this course. Should Monday be difficult for your schedule, please make arrangements with Ms. Harder to meet another time.  Additionally, information will be provided in class for the best ways to contact Ms. Harder outside of class hours.


All PHHS policies are honored in DP Group 3: HL History.  To clarify and expand upon the school policies, please take note of the classroom policies below.

Absence and Tardy Policies
Attendance matters.  Attending class daily and ready to participate is critical for success in this class.  Parents/guardians will be contacted upon the third absence from class.  It is your responsibility to ask Ms Harder for work prior to your absence. Additionally, you are considered tardy if you are not ready to begin class when the bell rings. If you are regularly tardy, Ms. Harder will contact the family to address the issue.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity and honesty in the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a principles informed by the attributes of the IB learner profile.  In teaching, learning and assessment, academic honesty serves to promote personal integrity and engender respect for others and the integrity of their work.  Upholding academic honesty also helps to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they acquire during their studies. (Academic honesty in the Diploma Programme. IB Publications. 

You must demonstrate the highest levels of academic integrity and honesty in any and all academic work.  Any form of academic misconduct – cheating, plagiarism, collusion, disruptions to assessment spaces – will be treated as both an academic and a disciplinary issue.  Students who engage in academic misconduct will be required to complete alternate assessments in addition to facing disciplinary consequences according to the PHHS Academic Honesty policy. 

Additionally, academic misconduct can lead to an investigation by the IB and a denial of IB scores, the IB Diploma or the IB Career-related certificate.  Moreover, academic misconduct is an infraction that can become an issue during the college and scholarship application process, sometimes resulting in the denial of acceptance and awards, respectively.  Act as a principled and caring scholar at all times to ensure your academic reputation remains unblemished.

Classroom Rules & Student Responsibilities

You are a member of a community of learners and someone who needs to become independent and responsible for your learning as you look ahead to life beyond high school. As such, I expect the following of all students:

  • RESPECT – Respect yourself, your peers and other community members and your learning environment.  Respect is expected in all of your actions. (Patriot Pledge Points = I will respect myself and others and I will honor myself, my school, my family and my community.)
  • READINESS – Prepare for and participate in class.  Attend class daily, prepared and ready to actively participate in all class activities. (Patriot Pledge Point = I will do my personal best and I will pursue the college or career of my choice)
  • RESPONSIBILITY – Accept personal responsibility for learning and seek to learn from and empower other members of the class.  Responsible use of student planners, organization stations and personal electronic devices is expected of all students at all times. Communicate with Ms. Harder when issues or challenges arise.  (Patriot Pledge Points = I will make good decisions and I will honor myself, my school, my family and my community.)
  • REFLECTION – Recognize reflection as critical to learning.  Revise your work in response to feedback from yourself, your classmates and your teacher.  Think about how you learn, what you learn and connect your learning to your life beyond the classroom. (Patriot Pledge Point = I will do my personal best and I will honor myself, my school, my family and my community.)
  • REALIZATION – Make it happen!  You have a bright future ahead of you.  Realize your dreams!  Persevere when things get hard.  Ask for help!  Try, try, try again.  Never, never, ever give up! (Patriot Pledge Points = I will do my personal best; I will honor myself, my school, my family and my community and I will pursue the college or career of my choice.)

Materials for this course
All students are expected to have the following materials every day for use in this course.

  • A 5-subject notebook and two pocket folder
  • Black or blue ink pens and/or pencils (highlighters recommended)
  • Your textbook/s and any other assigned readings

Enrolling in and MyMPS is expected of all students taking this course.  All students will be encouraged to enroll in Remind, a text-based platform through which students can receive updates and information about the course.  Details will be shared in class.

Organizing for Academic Success
You are expected to record course learning targets and assessment due dates on a daily basis.  Organization stations are available in the classroom to assist students in getting and staying organized throughout the class.  Students may use the materials found at the organization station at the discretion of Ms. Harder.

Active and consistent participation is essential for success in this class. Regular and prompt attendance, active engagement and participation in course activities and discussion, and completion of all formative and summative assessments are expected of you and are critical to meeting the standards established for this college-preparatory course.  The successful PHHS IB learner does their course assignments and assessments in a timely manner, seeks out support and assistance when needed and engages with full focus and effort every class period.

Pass Policy
No personal passes are issued from this class unless a student is experiencing an emergency.  A personal pass is considered any pass requested by a student to go to her/his locker or use the restroom during class time.  Passes for instructional purposes and emergencies will be recorded.  

Personal Electronic Devices
Personal electronic devices – cell phones, iPods, MP3 players, headphones and other personal electronic devices – are not to be seen or heard during instructional time, whether in or out of the classroom, without explicit and specific permission provided by Ms. Harder.  If you are using and/or charging a personal electronic device during class without Ms. Harder’s permission, it will be confiscated and Behavior Interventionists will bring your device to your dean.  All personal electronic devices may ONLY be seen during passing time or in the cafeteria during lunch. Lost or stolen cell phones will not be investigated by staff under any circumstances.  Bring your electronic devices to school at your own risk.     

Use of School-Provided Technology
Use of technology provided by the school and district is a regular part of class.  Technology and internet use policies established by the district will be enforced.  You are expected to use our class laptops with care, respect and according to established expectations.  You may use your own laptop or table at the discretion of Ms. Harder.       

Working and Communicating With Ms. Harder

Please do not hesitate to contact me as any questions or concerns arise.  I commit to doing the same.  My email is and my voicemail is 612-668-1950 at school.  Additionally, you may contact me at 612-615-9074 (voicemail outside of school).  I look forward to working and learning with you throughout this school!  Here’s to a great 2016-2017 school year!