Finland: alignment of the DP with the Finnish National Core Curriculum for general upper secondary education

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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) courses compared to Finnish National Core Curriculum (FNCC) courses (basic mathematics, advanced mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics). Overall, in terms of demand, DP SL mathematics and sciences tend to be comparable to FNCC courses, while DP HL courses are substantially more demanding.

Specific findings

Learning outcomes

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

Content alignment

  • For mathematics, while the FNCC’s basic mathematics course has some overlapping content with DP SL courses, the DP SL courses surpass it in breadth and depth. Additionally, overall, the DP HL courses have greater breadth and depth than the FNCC advanced course.
  • There is some topic overlap between the DP and the FNCC science subjects, for both SL and HL, with more overlap in chemistry and biology than in physics. For all DP courses, the HL content surpasses the FNCC content in breadth and depth.


  • The FNCC basic mathematics course is less demanding than DP subjects in mathematics, scoring less than DP SL courses for all categories except Bloom’s cognitive skills. The FNCC advanced course is more comparable in demand to DP SL courses than to DP HL courses.
  • In the sciences, the FNCC physics, chemistry and biology subjects score comparably to the respective DP SL courses.
  • Overall, DP HL mathematics and sciences courses are substantially more demanding than the respective FNCC comparison subjects.

Full report (PDF, 2.8 MB)