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ICS4U: Information for students

Welcome to grade-12 computer science!

Are you ready for another year of computer-science success? For that success, you’ll need a commitment to hard work and prompt daily attendance with completed homework and a cheerful, cooperative attitude.

On this page, you’ll find the basic information you need for a good start. Let’s work together—you, me, and your parent/guardian—to reach your CS goals!


Required supplies

Course overview (Ontario curriculum)

This course enables students to further develop knowledge and skills in computer science. Students will use modular design principles to create complex and fully documented programs, according to industry standards. Student teams will manage a large software development project, from planning through to project review. Students will also analyze algorithms for effectiveness. They will investigate ethical issues in computing and further explore environmental issues, emerging technologies, areas of research in computer science, and careers in the field.

Strand 1: Programming concepts and skills

Strand 2: Software development

Strand 3: Designing modular programs

Strand 4: Topics in computer science

Course overview (IB Syllabus)

Computer science requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate.

The Diploma Programme computer science course is engaging, accessible, inspiring and rigorous. It has the following characteristics:

Computational thinking involves the ability to:

During the course the student will develop computational solutions. This will involve the ability to:

Computer science has links with subjects outside of group 4, notably information technology in a global society (ITGS), but it should be noted that there are clear differences between the subjects.

Computer science and the international dimension

Computer science itself is an international endeavour—the exchange of information and ideas across national boundaries has been essential to the progress of the subject. This exchange is not a new phenomenon but it has accelerated in recent times with the development of information and communication technologies.

The development of solutions may be at a local, national or global scale and lies at the heart of the subject. Therefore teachers of computer science should study a range of examples from different geographical locations as well as at different scales.

Developments such as open source software and the emergence of social networking epitomize the global nature of the subject. Internet forums exist that welcome ideas and solutions developed from computer scientists from all continents in driving forward developments to different software types. These developments have revolutionized the way that people, and in particular the young, interact.

On a practical level, the group 4 project (which all science students must undertake) mirrors the work of computer scientists by encouraging collaboration between schools across the regions.

Distinction between SL and HL

While the skills and activities of computer science are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study additional topics in the core, a case study and also extension material of a more demanding nature in the option chosen. The distinction between SL and HL is therefore one of both breadth and depth.

Additionally, the HL course has 240 hours devoted to teaching, compared with 150 hours for the SL course.

Students at SL and HL in computer science study a common core consisting of:

The HL course has three additional elements:



  1. System fundamentals
  2. Computer organization
  3. Networks
  4. Computational thinking, problem-solving, and programming

HL Extension

  1. Abstract data structures
  2. Resource management
  3. Control

Object-oriented Programming

  1. Objects as a programming concept
  2. Features of OOP
  3. Program development
  4. Advanced program development (HL)


Term mark

Final mark

Learning skills, marked as excellent, good, satisfactory, or needs improvement:

IB assessment: HL

IB assessment: SL

You are required to read, understand, and abide by the Evaluation Policy and Acceptable Use Policy.

You are encouraged to read and to understand the computer studies Achievement Categories.

This page is an abridgement of Computer Studies: The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 10 to 12, 2008, and Diploma Programme Computer science guide: First examinations 2014, 2012. > Education Commons

[This page last updated 2020-12-23 at 12h45 Toronto local time.]