DP for parents
The Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year international education programme that prepares students age 16–19 years for success going into, and throughout, university. The DP offers a holistic approach to teaching and learning with a keen focus on developing intercultural awareness. Students learn to explore and understand the world around them through inquiry, critical thinking and open-mindedness.
Why the DP?
Parents who want the best possible education for their children choose the DP because it offers:
- a challenging academic curriculum that serves as outstanding preparation for university and higher education
- a student-centred approach to teaching, focused on developing students intellectually, emotionally physically and socially, as opposed to preparation for test-taking only
- a focus on international-mindedness, compassion, and understanding intercultural differences
- respected, reliable and world-renowned academic preparation
- Universities regularly cite DP students as the best prepared for higher education.
- DP graduates excel at university and often begin their studies with advanced standing
What's unique about the DP curriculum?
DP students complete courses from six subject groups, ensuring a depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding. By engaging with a range of subjects, they experience a comprehensive education that encourages them to link their learning to form a more useful way to apply what they've learned. The study of an additional language is also required, as well as the completion of a compulsory programme core consisting of three components:
- Theory of knowledge (TOK) challenges students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and how we know what we claim to know.
- The Extended essay introduces students to the demands and rewards of independent work prior to entering university, requiring them to produce a self-directed piece of research in an area of personal interest
- Creativity, activity and service (CAS) is an experiential learning component where students engage with a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including community service and athletic options.
- Assessment and examination at the end of DP courses are a recognized worldwide standard, measuring student understanding and providing a passport to university.
University and beyond
The DP is uniquely designed to support all students for success going into, and throughout, university. It is offered in many schools across the world, including private, independent, international, and state-funded schools. DP graduates are well-equipped to adjust, engage and succeed. They graduate with analytical, writing, communication and presentation skills; research experience; excellent organization and time management; the ability to approach a topic from multiple perspectives; and a deep understanding of academic concepts.
Because of the striking geographical, cultural and linguistic diversity of DP schools and students, universities across the globe can recruit a broad range of students from diverse backgrounds while remaining confident in the quality and consistency of their pre-university academic experience and credentials.
How the DP compares to other qualifications
The Chicago Postsecondary Transition Project studied post-secondary outcomes and experiences of 18,075 students from 12 high schools throughout the city that offered the DP, mostly serving low income, racially diverse students. DP graduates, compared to similar non-DP graduates, were not only more likely to enrol in university, but also more likely to enrol in selective universities, to stay enrolled, and to perform better throughout their studies.
AP (Advanced placement)
A 2015 study by the Educational Policy Improvement Center revealed that students viewed AP only as a means only to obtain college credit in high school, while the DP is considered a holistic programme that develops strong life-long learners. Compared with Advanced Placement, research shows that IB programme graduates from the University of Virginia were more likely to indicate they felt prepared for college-level coursework involving research and found their research skills to be important to future success.
A study by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in the UK concluded that IB graduates were more likely to enrol in one of the UK’s top 20 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), when compared to A-level and other student groups with similar qualifications. IB students also were more likely to receive honours degrees or awards, continue on to further studies, and be employed in graduate level positions and higher-paid occupations. An Ofqual report from 2012 described the assessments in the DP as excellent for allowing differentiation and for encouraging independent thinking and research skills. In 2014, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) developed a new tariff system that gave the IB an official A-level equivalence.
Australian Curriculum and Australian Qualifications Framework
Teachers interviewed for a 2014 study by Deakin University generally believed that the DP provides better university preparation than the Australian Curriculum. Additional benefits of the DP curriculum included real-world application, greater depth, clear global dimensions and the development of intercultural understanding.
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