Dalian American International School

Middle School Curriculum

Standards-based Grading at DAIS

Academic grades are determined using a standards-based grading system which reports how well the student mastered the knowledge and skills from the adopted standards. Grades are based on academic factors only; non-academic factors such as attendance, behavior, effort, and responsibility are not factored into grades.

Language Arts

English Language Arts courses are skills-based vs texts-based, are connected by time periods to correlating Social Studies courses, and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts. All English courses develop students skills of reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking through literary and/or non-fiction texts. The progression of courses is designed to ensure access to and success within either of the two Advanced Placement (AP) English courses offered in high school. 


Mathematics courses emphasize critical thinking beyond computation and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics. The Mathematics program follows the accelerated standards progression provided by CCSS as its designed to provided students with the greatest access to and success within either of three Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered in high school. Students in grade 8 typically take Algebra, a high school level course that is factored into their grade point average (GPA).   


Science courses are subject specific and are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.  Science courses emphasize laboratory skills, modeling, scientific inquiry, and data analysis as they explore different scientific fields.  The progression of courses is designed to ensure access to and success within any of the four Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered in high school.   

Social Studies

Social Studies courses are skills-based, aligned to the historical thinking skills standards delineated by the National Council for History in the Schools (NCHS).  Social Studies courses are connected by time periods to correlating English Language Arts courses.  The middle school Social Studies curriculum is vertically aligned to prepare students for a robust offering of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in grades 9-12.  

Visual Arts

Visual Arts courses are aligned to the National Standards for the Arts. Visual arts standards and provide opportunities for students to develop as artists in a variety of mediums. Visual Arts students showcase their art in the annual Art Show held each spring.  Visual arts students take Middle School Art for one semester and Middle School Chorus for one semester.   


Music courses are aligned to the National Standards for the Arts music standards and provide students the opportunity to specialize in instrumental or choral music. Music students perform in at least one public concert each semester with more opportunities for public performance growing each year. Instrumental musicians audition and are placed in either Developing Band or Advanced Band for the entire school year. Choral music students take Middle School Chorus for one semester and Middle School Art for one semester.   

Computer / Technology

The mission of the computer education program is to integrate technology into the education process by creating an environment that allows all students to have optimum personal and educational growth through the infusion of appropriate technology into their daily school experiences.  All students have opportunities to develop technology skills that support learning, personal productivity, and decision-making.

Students are presented with a range of learning activities that allows for individual and group work.  There will also be extended project work that allows students to locate, collect, and evaluate information from a variety of sources.  In becoming technologically proficient, students develop skills over time, through all content areas, through integrated activities.

World Language Mandarin

Mandarin as a Foreign Language courses are aligned to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) focusing on the five C”s of language learning: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. Tapping into the local community and environment, students in World Language courses get to apply their language skills in the real world on a regular basis prepare students for the Advanced Placement (AP) Chinese Language and Culture course in high school.  

Physical Education & Health

Physical Education courses are aligned to the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) National Standards for K-12 Physical Education and Health Education.  Students in grade 6 take Physical Education for the entire year. Students in grades 7 and 8 take Physical Education for one semester and Health Education for one semester.   

Applied Studies

Applied Studies courses are project-based and culminate in a showcased project that impacts the school community. Students may repeat Applied Studies courses multiple times. Students rotate through four quarter-long Applied Studies courses: Drama, Creative Writing, Product Design and Coding and Digital Design.