Cambridge Parent Information

General Cambridge Information

Why Cambridge?

Cambridge is an accelerated academic program that helps students reach their academic goals and teaches them how to be global citizens. Cambridge is a k-12 program, but students are invited to join the program at anytime in their educational careers. At CMS, we believe that students benefit from stretching themselves. Whether you take one course in an area of interest or strength or you decide to join the Cambridge International Diploma Pathway and take seven or more courses at the highest level, we are here to help you become a life long learner.


Unlike other advanced studies programs, Cambridge truly focuses on preparing students for the rigors of college. Our curriculum is built on open ended questions, the application of knowledge verses the recall, and depth of breadth of topics. This allows our students to learn how to learn and become self motivated lifelong learners.


Inquiry and research as well has communication skills are nurtured in our Cambridge classes. Students are asked to communicate their understanding and application of content through multiple ways: writing, speaking, digital, and visual representation.

What is Cambridge?

Cambridge Assessment International Education is the largest assessment and academic program in the world, and a part of the Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. With over 10,000 schools, 160 countries, and 40 governments utilizing their curriculum, they are recognized through out the world. Over 700 universities and colleges accept their exam credits, and recently NC State University System created a policy that accepts all AS and A levels earned at a C or higher. Many other state systems are following suit and have put similar policies in place.


Cambridge prides itself on preparing students for the rigors of life, university, and career by teaching critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. The entire process is built on the philosophies of the Leaner Attributes. These ideals and strong academic expectation allow for students to become independent, global citizens that are ready to leave the protections of home and high school to successfully advance through whatever they choices they make.

Global Citizenship

Our students live in an ever changing, ever shrinking world. Knowledge of the world, customs, and perspectives are needed now more than ever before. A Cambridge education provides opportunities for our students to look past themselves and into their neighbors' world by looking at issues from the local, national, and international perspective. This ability to see an issue from another perspective will help our students be kinder and give them problem solving and critical thinking skills that will giving them a competitive edge in school and in the job market.

Where Do I Fit In?

Primary (Elementary)

In the early years of the Cambridge Program, students are introduced to the Leaner Attributes, international perspectives, and inquiry based learning philosophies at all ability levels. This allows all of our students to learn how to learn the Cambridge way. We build self esteem and questioning into all lessons so that as students grow and change, they can move at their pace. This is important so that later, if they choose to take a Cambridge course in middle or high school they have the foundational knowledge of how we learn and teach in these courses.


Rigor is found through differentiation. We ask that open ended questioning be used in conjunction with multiple choice tests, until both the teacher and students are comfortable. We then ask that all questions are open ended. We also ask that writing occurs regularly. Writing skills are very important, and this is a core principal in Cambridge.

Lower Secondary (Middle School)

Lower Secondary teaches Cambridge philosophies such as Global Perspectives and Learner Attributes throughout the school, but it is at this point that we see an honors level course called Cambridge appear on transcripts. These courses are meant to assist students in preparing for high school IGCSE courses, and the pacing is rigorous. Students are again asked to complete more open ended questioning and all courses require more writing. Cambridge courses are English, math, and science. Most Lower Secondary Schools offer a version of the Global Perspectives Project that truly builds knowledge and understanding of the local, national, and international issues that our students face.

IGCSE Courses (8th through 11th grades)

IGCSE stands for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. These courses are the first step in our high school course program. They can be found in both our middle and high schools. IGCSE represents those honors courses that help build content knowledge and are vertically aligned to our AS and A level college level courses that you will learn about later. These courses carry the same GPA weight as an honors course.


These courses are paced at a rigorous level and we have high expectations for our students. Open ended questioning and writing will play a large role in these courses. We offer English 1and 2; Math 1-3, Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish (at Hopewell) at this point.


Anyone who carries a C or higher in the pervious course can take an IGCSE class. Ask a counselor or your Cambridge Site Coordinator.

AICE Courses (AS/A levels)

If you have ever heard someone from another country talk about taking their A levels, than you have heard of these courses. AS stands for Advanced Subsidiary and A stands for Advanced. These courses are year 1 (AS) and year 2 (A) of a course and can be taken just as AS or together. We offer mainly AS courses, as does most US states.


These are college level courses and if you pass the exam at the end of the course you can earn college credit and will earn a point towards your Cambridge International Diploma. These course earn the same GPA as AP/IB courses.


These courses are rigorous, but manageable if you follow the advice of the Cambridge Site Coordinator. Is there a great deal of writing and reading? Yes. Will it prepare you for college? Yes. You can take one or you can take multiple AS/A classes. It is up to you.



You need to have a C in the pervious course to be placed in an AS/A course.

How do I get in?

Cambridge is a school based program. That means that as long as you are going to the school it is located in, you can participate in the program.


We do not require an application. We ask that if you are going to be a part of the honors level courses in Lower Secondary or in High School (IGCSE/AS/A) that you have earned at least a C in a like course pervious to the Cambridge course you are requesting. This way you know that you are up for the task. We never want to put a student in a situation where they will struggle and possible fail.

What happens if I am struggling?

You probably will struggle a bit. Depending on when you join our Cambridge Family, it can be challenging to learn a new way to learn. That is ok! We want you to be challenged. What is the fun of always knowing the answer? But it isn't fun to struggle all of the time, and we have put in some safe guards to help you. Let's explore what those safe guards are in the following paragraphs.


1. We ask that if you earned a B or C in a pervious like course that you take AVID. AVID is a great program that supports students taking advanced courses. It will help you get organized and teach you how to manage time and projects. It will also give you a chance to get help with homework. AVID is the first step to helping yourself become a great student.


2. Become a Self Advocate for your education. Your site coordinator and teacher can sit down with you to help you determine what the main issues are and a plan of action to overcome these. We are a team, and we want to help you not just with content, but with your overall development as a lifelong learner.

What is This Diploma and Why Should I Care?

The Cambridge International Diploma is earned by earning seven points through the passing of AS and A level courses. Each AS course counts as 1 point and an A level counts as 2 points. A student must earn an e or better on the exam to receive a point.


This is a huge undertaking for students and colleges and universities recognize this achievement when looking at students for admissions to their institutions. The diploma is the cherry on top of the sundae. Although it is not necessary to prove that a student has taken challenging courses, it does show a sense of fortitude within a student to take the number of courses and pass them. It proves that they are willing to work hard, study, and put their education first.

Will Universities and Colleges Even Give Credit?

The answer to that is the same for AP and IB, depends on where you are going. All UNC State schools will take all AS and A courses as long as a c or better was earned. Some schools will give credit to an e or better. There are some schools that put a cap on the number of AP/IB/AICE credits that a student may use for credit, while others only let them use the credits to fulfill general education requirements.


State School systems have policies that have been created by boards. These policies are system wide, and tend to favor the student. UNC System Policy allows students to earn credit for both AS/A credits for a grade of c or better.


Private institution policies are created by the professors of each department. Each department decides what they will accept and what they will not accept. Most of these universities and colleges will state that they have a "case by case" policy. This means that it depends on the course and the department. They also tend to put caps on the number of credits that are allowed to be used, as well as how the credits may be used.


If you have a private institution that you know is not currently taking Cambridge credits, but you are thinking about attending, please let Stephanie Kelso know as soon as possible so that she can begin the recognition process. There are no promises with this process, but we will send the Cambridge Recognition officer to the school to discuss the possibilities of accepting credits.

Questions? Comments?