Year 11 and Year 12 students at TIGS are in the unique position of being able to choose between two highly respected pathways of study. The NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) is a world class Australian credential which offers flexibility, opportunity for specialisation and a range of career pathways. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) emphasises academic breadth and suits all-rounders aspiring to tertiary study in Australia or overseas.

The HSC and DP have much in common and each is a rigorous and well-regarded qualification in its own right. The decision to undertake either the HSC or the DP is important for students and parents alike. A well-thought out decision involves taking the time to understand each course and for students and their parents to talk through these differences in conjunction with the students individual learning style, strengths and aspirations. Staff at TIGS are more than willing to support students and their parents with information sessions, informal coffee mornings and one-on-one meetings all available to inform and guide families through this process.

One of the fundamentals of effective teaching is to recognise that each of us learn in different ways. We are all individuals and therefore bring different skills, attributes and background to our learning. At TIGS, this has long been built into the way we educate students, but in 2017 this will take on even greater significance for our students.

To allow our students to get the best out of the learning, they will have the opportunity to choose between two highly successful and effective programmes depending on which suits the learning styles of our students.

The HSC is a proven programme that allows students to be more selective with the subjects they take and ultimately they have more say over what they learn. The HSC delivers specific content with each subject and challenges students with their knowledge and understanding of what they learn. The only compulsory subject under the HSC is English and students can choose to weight their programme towards their areas of strength for example by studying extension mathematics and several science subjects.

The HSC comprises 50% external examination and 50% internal assessment as compared to the DP which involves 75% external examinations. Unlike the DP, students cannot fail the HSC as long as they complete the tasks required including examination attendance, completing all assessments and achieving a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. This will allow an ATAR to be obtained for entry into an Australian university.

The DP emphasises academic breadth and promotes international mindedness. It is an internationally recognised style of learning that allows students to question what they learn and how they learn. It equips students with the necessary skills to allow them to reflect on their learning and to critically question knowledge and how we learn.

The DP requires students to take an active role in the decisions made for their learning. To choose what they learn based on the skills that they have been equipped with. It also takes this learning and applies it to a wider range of situations and scenarios. Students are expected to engage in extra-curricular activities and service and to reflect on what they have learnt through these. Every student is required to study a second language in order to increase their understanding of several cultures and explore globally significant ideas and issues through different languages.

If a student is interested in tertiary education and employment beyond Australia’s borders, then the DP is ideal preparation, as long as the student has the independence and academic breadth necessary. The DP has several elements which foster university preparation including the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge while the study of languages and international mindfulness provide a launching platform for those with global aspirations.

The DP is accepted at all universities across the world, including all Australian universities. Most universities have a direct entry pathway for DP graduates. A growing number of Australian universities now allocate courses on the basis of a student’s DP score and do not make a conversion to an ATAR score.

Students who choose to undertake the DP may qualify for advanced standing or credit at particular universities for achieving a score of 6 or 7 in a subject studied at High Level (HL).

The decision of whether to study the HSC or DP should predominantly be based on the interests and strengths of the individual student. Career goals are also important, but these can change over time.

The long term aspirations of a student often vary over the course of the senior years at high school. Even once at university many students change their planned major study or their choice of degrees. Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2009) is forecast by McCrindle Research to work 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime.

This is an important decision facing students and their families. The teaching staff at TIGS are more than happy to meet with students and their parents as they gather information and assess the path that best aligns with the capabilities and aspirations of each individual. The key points of contact are Mr David Meredith, Diploma Programme Coordinator, and Mrs Kerri Baird, Director of Teaching and Learning. Appointments can be made with Mr Meredith or Mrs Baird by contacting TIGS on 4220 0200