The Diploma Programme: Grades 11&12

Preparing Students for Success in Higher Education and Life in a Global Society

One of the unique aspects of Aspengrove is the relationships that are built between students and teachers. Our small class sizes and individual attention naturally help with this, but it is the culture of support and encouragement that allows students to thrive here.

There are two routes of study for Grades 11 and 12 at Aspengrove School: the full IB Diploma or Certificate route. Students are well-prepared through the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) to pursue the full Diploma route. However, the IB Diploma Programme is organised to allow students to access the courses from a variety of school backgrounds. When considering the correct pathway through Grades 11 and 12, students will consider their strengths, post-secondary goals, and personal goals.  The same class choices are offered in each route. The primary difference is the completion of an Extended Essay at the end of Grade 12 for students in the Diploma Programme.  Both routes of study are enriching and transformative and highly regarded by post-secondary institutions:

ib diploma route

Students complete all BC Ministry and IB requirements

Students earn an IB Diploma and a BC Dogwood Diploma

Select six courses 

Complete Extended Essay 

ib certificate route

Students complete all BC Ministry requirements and a select IB program

Students earn an IB Certificate and a BC Dogwood Diploma

Select five or six courses 


What is the Diploma Programme?

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is a life changing school experience that allows students to grow into young adults who will act confidently as compassionate, knowledgeable and principled global citizens The DP is a holistic programme that creates a rich environment of learning that allows students to flourish physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

Students at Aspengrove study six different subject areas and delve into each subject to truly understand that particular subject. Each teacher at Aspengrove is a passionate educator who is a specialist in their chosen field. They go above and beyond to create a stimulating experience in the classroom each and every day. The relationship between teachers and students is one of Aspengrove’s greatest assets

As part of the programme, each specialist teacher guides their students in pursuing an area of interest in their respective subjects. Thus, each student at Aspengrove has a personalized experience and has excellent breadth and depth of knowledge across all subjects. They also explore the “nature of knowledge” through the programme’s unique Theory of Knowledge course (TOK). By examining global issues, students develop an interest in the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives. They critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible, and purposeful lives.

The DP is regarded as the global standard of education. Our graduates leave Aspengrove to enter post-secondary studies ready to engage and succeed. Our students discover their passions and all go on to pursue post-secondary choices that match their unique talents and interests. Typically, our students attend University in Canada but also in the UK, Europe, and the USA. Our graduates are well prepared for whatever endeavours they pursue after they leave us. 

The Diploma Programme Core


The extended essay asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. Students choose an area of interest and conduct original research culminating in a 4000 word research essay

Theory of knowledge develops a coherent approach to learning that unifies the academic disciplines. In this course on critical thinking, students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) Programme is at the heart of the DP and allows students to enrich their lives beyond the academic subjects. Each student undertakes a series of experiences that have a profound effect on their development and social, emotional and physical well being. Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking. Action seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. Service within the community offers a vehicle for a new learning with academic value.

Student support & university counselling

In addition to support from their classroom teachers, students at Aspengrove also participate weekly in the Advisory Programme. Advisory was developed to further support the students’ academic programme. Students in Grades 11 & 12 undertake sessions that include University Counselling, Social-Emotional Learning, Career Guidance, and Service Learning.  The opportunities for one-on-one meetings are available as needed by students and the access to academic support is unparalleled. 



Creativity, activity, service (CAS) experience

What is CAS? 

  • Creativity: arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • Activity: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work 
  • Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student

What is the Significance of CAS?

CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience.  It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work.  At the same time, CAS is an important counterbalance to academics. 

Students can choose from a wide variety of projects as a part of their CAS experience. Below are some recent examples of students’ experiences:

  • Organize school-wide Mental Health Week (including daily themes and activities and guest speakers)
  • Run a Sign Language Club for Grades 5 and up
  • Volunteer to tutor math at the local library
  • Research and advocate for Land acknowledgment during school events
  • Compete in local and national level swimming
  • Take self-defense classes in the community
  • Make and donate baby blankets to local women’s shelter
  • Design and paint wall mural in Senior School Building  



Extended Essay

Learning to research and write well is an integral part of an Aspengrove education. At the end of Grade 12, all students who pursue the Diploma Program complete a 4000 word “Extended Essay”.  They choose an area of interest and conduct original research. Many alumni express that this experience makes the transition to university much easier.  An example of a student’s Extended Essay can be found here.




Students take written examinations  at the end of the programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks at school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then marked by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners.

Assessment is criterion-related, which means student performance is measured against pre-specified assessment criteria based on the objectives of each subject, rather than the performance of other students taking the same examinations. The range of scores that students have attained remains statistically stable – and universities value the consistency of the Diploma Programme assessment practice.

Academic course offerings

English Language and Literature 

French B

Spanish ab initio

School Support Self-Taught Mother Tongue






Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches

Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations

Visual Arts

Performing Arts

University acceptances

Aspengrove students are accepted into top universities globally.  Below are some of their recent acceptances.  The graduating class of 2020 was offered over $650,000 in university scholarships.



 Acadia University

Brock University

Capilano University

Carleton University

McGill University

McMaster University

Queen’s University

Ryerson University

Simon Fraser University

University of Alberta

University of British Columbia

University of the Fraser Valley

University of Calgary

University of Ottawa

University of Saskatchewan

University of Toronto

University of Victoria

University of Waterloo

University of Western Ontario

Vancouver Island University


Cornell University

University of Pennsylvania

New York University

Northeastern University

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of Illinois at Chicago

College of William and Mary



University of St. Andrews

Queen’s University, Belfast

University of Liverpool

Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics

Ecole de hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland

Did you know that the IB Diploma is also a predictor of University Success?


Khayla, 2020 grad

“Aspengrove has taught me what it’s like to be heard, respected, and seen as an equal — and given me a sense of what unity and community should feel like.”


anneke, 2020 grad

“The teachers and staff are constantly looking out for opportunities for students, and I have been on the receiving end of these many times. The Aspengrove community has equipped me with the skills needed to feel confident looking forward, no matter what direction I’ll be heading.”


Aujin, 2020 Grad

“Aspengrove has given me many unique opportunities for personal growth and leadership throughout my 12 years at the school. The communication, time management, and collaborative skills fostered through the IB program is something I will take with me into the future.”


Thank you for your interest in Aspengrove School!

If you would like information about grade availability, programming or to book a campus tour, please fill out an inquiry form and we will get in touch with you shortly. 

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