Australia: alignment of the DP with the Victorian Certificate of Education

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This study evaluates the alignment between DP mathematics (analysis and approaches and applications and interpretation), sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) and history courses compared to Victorian1 Certificate of Education (VCE) courses (foundation mathematics, general mathematics, further mathematics, mathematical methods, specialist mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and history). Overall, DP SL courses tend to be comparable to VCE courses, while DP HL courses tend to surpass VCE courses in both content and demand.

Specific findings

Learning outcomes

  • While there is low to moderate alignment of DP and VCE mathematics courses, there is high alignment between DP and VCE science and history courses.

Content alignment

  • For mathematics, there is little content overlap between DP mathematics courses and the VCE courses of foundation mathematics, general mathematics and further mathematics. There is substantial overlap with DP SL content and mathematical methods, but DP HL courses exceed mathematical methods in breadth and depth. While specialist mathematics has greater breadth of content, overall, there is substantial overlap with both HL courses.
  • There is significant overlap between the VCE and DP SL science courses. However, all three DP HL science courses surpass the VCE courses in content breadth and depth.
  • There is substantial overlap in the content covered by VCE history and DP history at both SL and HL.


  • DP SL mathematics surpass the demand of all VCE subjects except for specialist mathematics. DP HL mathematics courses surpass the demand of all VCE subjects.
  • The demand of the VCE science courses is comparable to that of the DP SL science courses, while the DP HL courses are considerably more demanding than the VCE courses.
  • VCE history has a similar demand profile to DP SL history. DP HL history demand exceeds that of VCE history in all areas except the score for Bloom’s cognitive skills, which is equal.

Full report (PDF, 3.6 MB)


1 The state of Victoria was selected for study because it has the largest number of IB World Schools in Australia.