Canada: alignment of the DP with the Ontario Secondary School Diploma

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This study evaluates the alignment between DP mathematics (analysis and approaches and applications and interpretation) and sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) compared to Ontario1 Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) courses (grade 11 and 12 mathematics courses2 and biology, chemistry and physics). Overall, DP HL mathematics and science subjects tend to surpass the OSSD subjects in terms of content, while both DP SL and HL courses are frequently more demanding than the OSSD subjects.

Specific findings

Learning outcomes

  • There is high alignment between all DP SL and HL mathematics and science subjects and OSSD subjects.

Content alignment

  • For mathematics, there is more substantial overlap between grade 12 OSSD and DP courses compared to grade 11 OSSD courses. Typically, and especially at HL, DP courses contain more content than the OSSD mathematics courses.
  • OSSD chemistry and biology have somewhat more content than DP SL chemistry and biology, while OSSD physics has more depth than DP SL physics in some areas. However, all DP HL science subjects cover more content and go into more detail than do OSSD subjects.


  • DP mathematics courses, both at SL and HL, generally surpass the OSSD courses in demand level. The difference is much more pronounced between OSSD and HL courses.
  • DP SL science subjects have similar demand levels to the OSSD science subjects, while the DP HL courses significantly surpass the OSSD courses in demand across all categories.

Full report (PDF, 3.4 MB)


1 The province of Ontario was selected for study because it has the largest number of IB World Schools in Canada.

2 Grade 11 functions, university preparation; Grade 11 functions and applications, university/college preparation; Grade 12 advanced functions, university preparation; Grade 12 calculus and vectors, university preparation; Grade 12 mathematics of data management, university preparation.