Curriculum alignment between the Diploma Programme and national systems: Germany and Switzerland (2015)

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Dr. Daniel Faas and Irene Friesenhahn, Trinity College Dublin

These reports examine the ways in which the DP written curriculum align with national standards in selected regions in Germany and Switzerland with regard to content, cognitive demand and philosophical underpinnings, and how the intended non-scholastic attributes compare in DP and German and Swiss curriculums. Researchers used a mixed-method approach, drawing primarily on documentary analysis, content analysis and the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum Model (Porter 2002; Porter 2005; Porter, Smithson, Blank and Zeidner 2007). The studies compare and contrast the following subject curriculums: mathematics, a modern foreign language (Spanish), geography, history and biology. The findings of both studies suggest that while there is a high level of content alignment between the DP and Swiss and the DP and German curriculums in the natural sciences (biology and mathematics), there is less alignment in the social sciences and humanities (history and Spanish). The researchers also note that the Swiss and German curriculums emerge from local and national roots, compared to the global focus of the DP, which could account for differences in the humanities. The DP also appears to offer greater flexibility than the Swiss and German curriculums, allowing students to pursue their academic interests.

Full report: Germany (PDF, 447 KB)

Full report: Switzerland (PDF, 445 KB)