TIS Course Offerings

Elementary Course Offerings (5- to 13-year-olds classes)

Albanian Studies Library
Computer Technology Music
Cultural StudiesPhysical Education
French StudiesReading
Intensive EnglishScience
Language ArtsSpanish Studies

Secondary Course Offerings

 English   Suggested Level
Literature I   Sec I
Writing I Sec I
Literature IISec II
(Literature I is prerequisite)
Writing IISec II
(Writing I is prerequisite)
American Literature Sec III
AP Literature and Composition Sec IV
Creative Writing    Sec II or Sec III
Research Project  Sec IV
British Literature Sec IV
Genre Studies   Sec II or Sec III
DramaSec II-IV
Technology13 through Sec IV
Media PresentationsSec I–IV

Cultural StudiesSuggested Level
World GeographySec I
Modern World HistorySec II
AP EconomicsSec III or Sec IV
American History Sec III
World Government(5 outcomes) Sec IV
World Economics(5 outcomes) Sec IV
AP Psychology   Sec III or Sec IV

MathematicsSuggested Level
Algebra I 13 or Sec I
GeometrySec I or Sec II
Consumer Mathematics Sec II–IV
Advanced Mathematics ISec III or IV
Advanced Mathematics IISec III or IV
AP StatisticsSec III or IV
AP Calculus AB Sec IV

Science Suggested Level
Physical Science Sec I
Biology Sec II
Chemistry Sec III or IV
AP Biology Sec III or IV
Physics Sec IV
AP Computer ScienceSec III or IV
(Algebra II is a prerequisite)

Physical Education & HealthSuggested Level
FitnessSec I–IV
Lifetime SportsSec I–IV
Team SportsSec I–IV
Health (5outcomes)Sec I–IV

Languages Other Than EnglishSuggested Level
French I–IV  12–13 through Sec IV
Spanish I–IV 12–13 through Sec IV
AP Spanish Sec III or IV
AP French Sec III or IV

Creative & Practical Arts Suggested Level
Art I & II Sec I–IV
AP Studio ArtSec III–IV
AP Art HistorySec II–IV

Grading System

In QSI the following grades are used on a status report (these grade definitions are written at the bottom of every status report):

• A = All essential parts of the outcome were mastered at an appropriately high level. The student consistently demonstrated noteworthy achievement of a high quality, particularly in the higher order thinking or performance skills.

Consistency Gets the A! A-level students should demonstrate consistency of work across a unit in order to be considered for the A. In order for teachers to evaluate students’ knowledge consistently, a teacher may consider the following criteria when assigning an A (including the A-level assessment or project):

• school attendance
• completion of classwork/homework
• class/group participation

 Remember that an A is given for consistently demonstrating (in class and through assignments) noteworthy achievement of a high quality, particularly in the higher-order thinking or performance skills.

• B = All essential parts of the outcome were mastered at an appropriately high level in which the student successfully engaged in higher order thinking or performance skills.

• P = The student is “In progress” in the outcome (normal status).

A P is a normal grade for students who are learning the material. Normal pacing means that there is not more than one P in any one class. (In some classes, some units are open all year long; this is then considered normal.) The appearance of two Ps can be an indication that a student is falling behind and may need to be placed on a remediation plan.

• H = This outcome is “on hold” for a legitimate reason. (The student has begun the outcome but is not currently pursuing it.)

An H is given to a student who needs more time and more skills to finish a unit. H means that the student cannot pursue this unit any longer, as it interferes with finishing current units. A student can be removed from H status in a unit if he is up to date on all classes. To be up to date on current units in all classes, there can be no more than one “P” opened a time in any one class. A student will make up any units in H in the summer time if they are not closed during the school year.

• D = The student has not made a reasonable effort and is therefore “deficient” in attaining mastery of the outcome.

A student can be removed from D status in a unit if she is up to date on current units and if it has been determined that she has returned to an acceptable work pattern. To be up to date on current units in the class, there can be no more than one P opened a time in any one class. A student will make up any units in D in the summer time if they are not closed during the school year.

• W = The student has withdrawn from this outcome.

Graduation Requirements


TIS offers a secondary program which leads to a Secondary School Diploma. Most graduates of TIS attend a college or university upon completion of their studies. Previous graduates of TIS have been very successful in obtaining admittance to colleges or universities of their choice. Three diplomas are offered by Tirana International School. (A vast majority of our students work toward the academic diploma.)

* Academic Diploma

* Academic Diploma with Honors

* Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma

* General Diploma

The Academic Diploma is a college or university-preparatory course of study. Students who satisfactorily complete this program should expect admittance into an American college or university, or in many cases, universities in other countries.

A total of 240 credits (including electives) are required for the Academic Diploma. Below are listed the minimum requirements in each department.

English (80 credits)
20 – Literature (Literature I & II)
20 – Writing (I & II) or demonstrated competency
10 – American Literature
10 – British Literature
10 – Research Project
10 – Technology (including 5 Keyboarding)

Mathematics (30 credits)

10 – Algebra
10 – Geometry
10 – Mathematics elective

Science (30 credits)

10 – Biology
10 – Physical Science
10 – Science elective

Cultural Studies (40 credits)
10 – World Geography
10 – Modern World History
10 – US-History
5 – World Governments
5 – Economics

Personal Health (20 credits)
5 – Fitness
5 – Health
10 – Physical education elective

Languages Other than English (20 credits)
20 in ONE language
OR demonstrated competencies in a second language

Creative Arts (10 credits)
10- Elective credits (art, music, drama)

The Academic Diploma With Honors is the most advanced diploma offered by TIS. Requirements are the same as The Academic Diploma but with the condition that the credits include at least two Advanced Placement (AP)* courses. A total of 240 credits (including electives) also are required for this diploma.

* The Advanced Placement Program: Advanced Placement (AP) courses challenge our TIS third and fourth year secondary students to think with the sophistication of college students. Depending on the enrollment, interest, and student capability, TIS will offer Advanced Placement courses. These courses provide rigorous preparation for the AP exams credentialed by the Educational Testing Service in the United States. Many colleges and universities in the USA give university credit for test scores of 3 and better (on a scale of 1 to 5).  Starting in 2018, TIS has been approved to offer the AP Capstone diploma.  

The General Diploma is available to students who experience English language difficulties, time restraints, or other problems which make it impractical to pursue a more advanced course of study. It is only available to students who are in their fourth year of secondary studies or who will turn 18 years old no later than 30 October following their graduation. In general, this diploma is designed for students requiring a sound general secondary education. A total of 220 credits (including electives) are required for the General Diploma.

Intensive English

At TIS, we are committed to providing the highest quality language support for our English Language Learners.  All of our teachers are trained to support our English Language Learners in general education classes; however, some students are eligible for additional support in our Intensive English program.  Since most of our students are English Language Learners, the Intensive English program is one of the most important programs that TIS offers, and we are extremely proud of the high level of success this program has seen.

The foremost component of our Intensive English program is the reading and language arts classes, which are held during the school day.  From age 6 through secondary, our students are placed in small groups of no more than seven students and receive instruction in phonics, reading comprehension, grammar, and writing from a highly skilled and trained educator.  Placement into groups is based on a combination of factors including age, English language proficiency, performance on standardized tests, and teacher observation.  As students improve, they are sometimes able to move to a more advanced Intensive English group, and as a result they may have different IE teachers throughout the year.
In addition to our reading and language arts classes, we also offer additional English support classes for some eligible students.  These classes typically occur when other students are taking a foreign language or “special” class.  During this time, students work on a variety of skills including content area vocabulary and communication.

We use a variety of tests to measure progress in our Intensive English classes.  Initial placement is based on performance on the Standard English Language Proficiency Test.  This test measures a student’s ability in listening, speaking, grammar, reading, and writing.  The following tests are administered throughout the year to measure progress in English proficiency:

  • Standard English Language Proficiency Test 
  • Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) Test 
  • Fountas and Pinnell 

Once our students have achieved a level of proficiency that is sufficient to allow them to succeed in general education classes, we transfer them out of the Intensive English program.  Research shows that it usually takes between three to seven years to achieve Academic Language Proficiency in English. Some students, through hard work, determination, and an aptitude for language, are able to exit the Intensive English program in less than three years.  But each student is an individual, and it is impossible to predict how long it will take an individual student to achieve English language proficiency.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.  We look forward to working with your child to help him or her achieve their highest potential in English!



Our accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA) ensures that students are receiving a universally recognized diploma that prepares them for a bright academic future. Since 1887, the prestigious MSA accreditation is considered the gold standard for schools, as it verifies the quality of each member school through yearly reporting and regular visitations. At TIS, we take our membership in MSA quite seriously by actively planning and implementing improvement plans to create an ever-stronger school program and environment.

The TIS secondary academic program aims to prepare students for acceptance and subsequent success in top universities in North America, the UK, and Europe. While studying at TIS, students will be engaged in challenging work in core academic areas as well as in the fine arts.

University Acceptance of TIS Graduates

Our graduates are accepted into top universities around the world. Here are just a few of the universities into which recent TIS graduates have been accepted or have attended: 

United States: Babson College; Bentley University; Boston University; Brandeis University; George Mason University; George Washington University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Green Mountain College; Hult International Business School; Marquette University; New York Institute of Technology; New York University; Northeastern University; Pennsylvania State University; Regis College; Salem State University; St. John’s College; Stony Brook University; Stonehill College; Syracuse University; University at Buffalo–SUNY; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Riverside; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Massachusetts, Boston; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; University of Puget Sound; University of Rochester; Vassar College

United Kingdom: Brunel University London; Cardiff University; City University London; Durham University; European Business School London; Goldsmiths, University of London; King’s College London; London Metropolitan University; London School of Business and Finance; University of Bath; University of Birmingham; University of Edinburgh; University of Kent; University of the Arts London; University of St. Andrews; University of Westminster

Europe: Bocconi University (Italy); Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands); Hague University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands); Jacobs University Bremen (Germany); John Cabot University (Italy); Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium); Lauder Business School (Austria); Maastricht University (The Netherlands); San Rafael University (Italy); University College Utrecht (The Netherlands); University of New York Tirana (Albania)

Canada: Concordia University; Ryerson University; Simon Fraser University; University of Guelph; University of Victoria; University of Waterloo; University of Western Ontario

Advanced Placement Courses

In order to add rigor to the curriculum as well as to prepare students better for university study and improve their chances for admission into the better schools, Tirana International School offers a large number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses on site. Students who take these courses and do well on the end-of-year examinations have a significant advantage in the university acceptance process and receive college credit for the AP classes they have successfully completed in high school. 

Advanced Placement courses scheduled for School Year 2018-2019 are the following:  Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Computer Science Principles, English Language and Composition, French Language and Culture, Human Geography, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Psychology, Spanish Language and Culture, and World History.

Here you can find QSI Graduation Flowchart.

Middle School

Students between the ages of 11 and 13 are placed in the Middle School program at TIS. These formative years are dedicated to the beginnings of a much more rigorous academic career.  Starting at the age of 11, pupils no longer are bound to one teacher throughout the day, but go from class to class in order to
receive instruction from specialists in their academic fields.

Young adolescents are going through a time of change in several areas—physical, intellectual, social, and moral.  At TIS, we dedicate ourselves to providing education for the whole child, with a focus on strong beliefs and achievement. Students are taught that to be successful in life, they must embody the traits of our Success Orientations—such as responsibility, trustworthiness, and positive group interaction.  

By fostering these important attributes, our advisors are empowering students to internalize their own decision-making processes toward making healthy choices for life. At this age level, TIS also emphasizes the study skills, as well as the acquisition of social and health-related information.

Academic time is spent on purposeful, engaging learning with a relevant curriculum and daily feedback. If they possess the requisite skills and past grades, students in their last year of middle school are eligible to take high school mathematics and foreign language courses and receive high school credit. 

To augment classroom learning, the school encourages students to participate in academically related after-school activities through CEESA (the Central and Eastern European Schools Association) competitions such as MathCounts and the Knowledge Bowl.  

Elementary Program

Tirana International School’s elementary program is designed to meet the unique needs of students age 5 to 10.  We offer a full range of academic classes as well as a thorough specials program consisting of art, music, technology, library, and physical education.  We also offer multiple levels of French, Spanish, German and Russian language for students 5 and older.

Our Reading, Writing, and Mathematics programs are based on the “Common Core” in the United States.  Each class has 10 units that must be mastered before moving to the next class.  Course work is both age- and developmentally appropriate, and requires students of all ages to apply what they learn as they learn it.

Our Science and Cultural Studies courses are inquiry-based and students are often engaged in interdisciplinary projects, incorporating environmental stewardship and physical fitness into their units of study.  Each class has five units that must be mastered each year.

We believe that a strong academic program must also have a strong “specials” program.  Students participate in musical performances, study art movements and artists, learn to be digital citizens, choose “good fit books”, and learn how to integrate healthful fitness habits into their lives.  

Throughout our program, students are engaged in projects and field trips which give them hands-on experiences, especially as they learn about our host country and the environment.  Our students are excited to come to school each day, and they find that they are constantly learning and mastering new material.

A popular and enriching part of the TIS experience for elementary school students, beginning at age 5, is the after-school program.  Tuesdays through Fridays, in eight-week cycles, the school offers a wide range of activities for appropriate age groups. Many of these activities are simply for fun and social interaction; however, some are curricular-related—activities such as Art Club, Little Engineers Club, Soccer Skills, Italian Club, and more.

Preschool Program

Tirana International School has a thriving, exciting program for preschool aged children from around the world.  Our teachers and paraprofessionals have a firm understanding of how children learn and grow. All the teaching subjects are taught in English, most of the teaching staff are English native speakers, they are all certificated and qualified teachers. We accept children from age 2 into our international program that includes developmental instruction, lots of exercise, and healthy food choices. Pre-school students have their Schedule for Specials as well  and 2-3 times per week they have Art, Physical Education, Library, Computers and Music. 

The 2-year-olds Program:

The 2-year-olds program is designed to expose children to their first group/social experiences with other 2-year-old children.  Students participate in a variety of activities that focus on the development of the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and moral aspects of the child.

The 3- & 4-year-olds Program:

The 3- & 4-year-olds program is designed to engage the child in his/her first formal school experience. This is a research-based, developmentally appropriate program that incorporates education of the whole preschool child through multiple components.


Tirana International School (TIS) is accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), an American accreditation board that works with American and International Schools. In addition, we are affiliated with the U.S. Department of State and the Advanced Placement’s College Board. Our daily studies include English (reading, grammar, composition, and spelling), Mathematics, Science, Cultural Studies, Art, Music, and Physical Education. Intensive English classes are offered to students who need additional help with English. Computer use is integrated across the curriculum. Additional language acquisition is offered in French and Spanish. The school seeks to provide students with an appreciation for the rich culture and history of Albania. The entire curriculum can be accessed on the QSI curriculum site.

Tirana International School has a strong belief that all of our students can succeed, and we work tirelessly to help them achieve that success in their personal, physical, and social lives.

The academic program challenges every student to achieve excellence, from the early years through Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school. This model ensures mastery of specific skills and knowledge involving both individual and group instruction. The educational philosophy is founded upon the premise that 1) all students can succeed, 2) success breeds success, and 3) it is the responsibility of the school to provide the conditions for success through a combination of challenge and support.

Tirana International School believes it is better to engage in the study of the basics of education and gain mastery rather than cover large amounts of information superficially without mastery. This happens by hearing, seeing, and experiencing in learning situations, followed by practice and repeated exposure. Some of the ways this happens are through dialogue, questioning, experimentation, risk-taking, and group activities. In the end, our students engage in understanding “how to learn” as opposed to only rote memorization of facts. In the realm of knowledge, Tirana International School has identified these areas for mastery:

Mathematics and Science

Mathematics and Science courses are critical in today’s world. As in all TIS courses, math and science text books are all from the USA and are all designed to build upon each other from bottom to top. World class lab equipment and mathematics manipulatives are a mainstay of our program. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered on site in high school.

English Instruction

English is vital for students to excel in all subjects. For that reason, TIS adds extra class time in both reading and language arts courses to ensure students get the instruction and time they need at the level they need it. This double focus on English, both reading and writing, gives TIS students extra support in their most essential course. As many students come to TIS without a background in English, specially trained teachers are here to enable students to reach fluency as quickly as possible. At the same time, mainstream courses for students who are reading and writing at grade level are challenging and incorporate listening, speaking, reading, writing and creative expressive skills at all levels

Cultural Studies

Our students at TIS have experienced first-hand the importance of entering into another culture. As expatriates in Tirana, they have learned the value of studying traditions, history, and philosophies of not only our host culture, but cultures throughout time and around the world. Parents often visit classes to share their own experiences as representatives of cultures studied within the classroom.


As technology is the fastest changing part of our world, students of all ages are engaged in courses that teach and facilitate growth in word processing, internet functionality and safety, creativity and design. These skills are then used in their other courses to add real world experience to the use of technology.

Physical Education and Personal Health

With regular classes at all levels, TIS students build awareness of fitness and movement as well as developing the skills in sports and dance that allow them to interact with friends in sports and games both during and after school. We actively participate in competitions with other CEESA (Central and Eastern European Schools Association) schools as well as a group of small international schools in the Tirana area.

Art and Music

Every Preschool, Elementary, and Middle School student at TIS engages in music and art classes each week. Our students have great instruction and outlets for their musical abilities as they play instruments and sing in the choir. All students also take art courses from an experienced instructor in a wide-ranging program that includes drawing, painting, and mixed media. Our middle school and high school students have an opportunity to participate in the annual QSI Balkans Fine Arts Festival each spring.

Foreign Languages

TIS provides the opportunity for students aged 5 and older to learn French, Spanish, Russian or German from certified instructors. Middle school and secondary students are encouraged to join the after-school French Club or Spanish Club and join the respective group on a spring excursion to France and Spain.