Mary Dixon, Claire Charles, Julianne Moss, Peter Hubber and Penelope Pitt—Deakin University
This study investigated the extent to which the Diploma Programme (DP) aligns with the standards, principles and practices outlined in the Australian Curriculum (AC) as well as the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for the senior secondary level. Researchers from Deakin University conducted a robust mapping of relevant curriculum documents related to the educational goals of the DP and the AC as well as four discipline areas: mathematics, science, English and history. Curriculum mapping was supplemented by qualitative data from educators in DP schools. Findings suggest that the core elements of the DP (theory of knowledge, creativity, action, service and the extended essay) are major features that assist with the alignment of the DP with the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians and the AC. The DP curriculum was noted as being globally rather than nationally focused, creating both distinctive benefits but also a small number of gaps with the AC. However, the study found that gaps in the DP tended to be addressed in the enacted curriculum at the school level. With a few exceptions, the DP curriculum generally provided greater depth than local alternatives and supported the development of critical knowledge and skills. Lastly, most teachers believed that the DP is more rigorous and provides better preparation for university studies.