Alignment of the Diploma Programme with the Spanish Bachillerato

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This study evaluates the alignment between Diploma Programme (DP) courses, at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL), and comparison courses from the Spanish Bachillerato (SB).

Specifically, the study compares the following courses from the two curricula along three dimensions: learning outcomes, content alignment and demand.


Subject area

DP courses

SB courses


Analysis and approaches (AA) at SL and HL

Applications and interpretation (AI) at SL and HL

Mathematics I

Mathematics II1


Biology at SL and HL

  • Biology, geology, and environmental sciences
  • Biology

Chemistry at SL and HL

  • Physics and chemistry
  • Chemistry

Physics at SL and HL

  • Physics and chemistry
  • Physics2

Philosophy at SL and HL

Theory of knowledge (TOK) core component

Business management at SL and HL

Business and business model design

Specific findings

Learning outcomes

  • Findings indicate that there is high alignment in learning outcomes across all courses examined (mathematics, sciences, economics and business).

Content alignment

  • For both SB mathematics I and II, there is greater content overlap with DP AA (at SL and HL) than with DP AI (at SL and HL).
  • In general, DP science courses have greater content overlap with the SB science courses studied during the second year, which is unsurprising given the multidisciplinary nature of year-one SB science courses. Additionally, SB science courses have greater content overlap with DP SL science courses than with DP HL science courses.
  • While there is considerable content overlap between DP SL economics and SB economics, there is less overlap between DP HL economics and SB economics, as DP HL covers content in more depth.
  • There is moderate content overlap between DP SL business management and SB business and business model design, but limited overlap between the DP HL and SB business courses, as DP HL covers additional content areas and often in more depth.


  • DP SL and HL mathematics courses are about as demanding as SB mathematics I and SB mathematics II, respectively.
  • For biology, chemistry and physics, the DP HL courses exceed the demand of their SB equivalents.
  • DP SL economics is slightly less demanding than SB economics, while DP HL economics exceeds the demand of SB economics.
  • Both DP SL and HL business management courses surpass the demand of SB business and business model design.

Summary (PDF, 321 KB)

Full report (PDF, 3.3 MB)


1 Mathematics II requires prior study of mathematics I.

2 In the first year of the SB, science courses are studied in combination (i.e. SB biology, geology and environmental sciences and SB physics and chemistry). In the second year of the SB, science courses are subject specific (i.e. SB biology, SB chemistry and SB physics).