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Dubai American Academy

Dubai American Academy

Dubai American Academy’s entry into the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com’s Happiest School in the UAE” video competition.

Dubai American Academy, part of the GEMS school group, currently has 2,348 students on its roster aged from 3 to 18 years of age (KG to Grade 12). This is largely flat over the previous year (a small increase) – the school is “at capacity”

In total an impressive 99 nationalities are represented within the student body, with the biggest numbers coming from the US (22.07%), Canada (9.49%), India (6.84%), S. Korea (5.96%) and Egypt (4.09%). There is a 50:50 male to female ratio.

The school employs 193 teachers and 62 teaching assistants with staff employed at recruitment fairs in the UK, US and Thailand. The majority of teachers come from the US. The student:teacher ratio is 1:22 in Grades 6-12, and 1:12 on average across grades. All teachers are degree educated, and a majority hold Masters degrees or above. The school had a teacher turnover of 25% over the previous year – average to high for the UAE, and up 5% on the previous academic year,

For the official Which School Advisor Dubai American Academy questionnaire, go here.

DAA is fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and has been since 2004. 

In addition, DAA offers the IB Diploma Program for parents wanting a broader, more internationally focused qualification.

It is presently the only school in Dubai following an American, standards-based curriculum to have been awarded an “Outstanding” rating by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (2013-14). It is the fifth year in a row DAA has made the grade after three years of a Good rating.


According to the KHDA Dubai American Academy provides an Outstanding quality of education. Strengths include attainment and progress in English, mathematics and science in all phases. The quality of teaching for effective learning is Outstanding in Kindergarten, elementary and middle school. The ethos of the school is said to be Outstanding, supported by the equally Outstanding curriculum.

The school has introduced initiatives to improve the curriculum in Islamic Education and Arabic. However, progress in these areas was said to be “still inconsistent” (2011), a comment continued into its 2012-2103 to 2014/15 reports. In the latest report the KHDA inspection team does however note improvements, but that inconsistency is still evident: “Progress had improved in Islamic education and the Arabic language for first language and additional language speakers in some higher phases in the school. However, it is clearly still very much work in progress.

Dubai American Academy provides information on where its students head for university – although the information does not appear to have been updated for two years. In 2013/14 students made over 850 university applications with 500 acceptances from nearly 400 universities. In 2012/13 over 1,000 university applications were made, again with over 500 acceptances from nearly 400 universities. Students head for nine countries, with the largest percentage going to the United States, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Students in the class of 2012 received acceptances from University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, McGill University, University of California Berkeley, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, London School of Economics (UK), Warwick University (UK), and Queen Mary University (UK).

Although only 50-70% of applications are successful, the school claims to achieve “100% entry to higher educational institutions, including the best universities and colleges around the world” in the WSA Q and A. Go here. In further correspondence with DAA, the school notes that 2% of students opt to take a gap year.

Dubai American Academy used to provide details on its IB performance – and deserved praise for doing so. However, as a group GEMS Education stopped providing details of performance in 2015. This is the last data we have available to us. A 33 IB rating would be a relatively good score for a Dubai IB school, but not out of the ordinary.


2010 2011 2012 2013  2014 
Total No. of
IB Diploma Students
87 91 94 95 95
Mean Score Worldwide
per Exam Session
29.55 29.61 29.76 29.81 29.9
Mean Score at DAA
per Exam Session
31.0 33.0 32.0 32 33
Mean Grade Worldwide
per Exam Session
4.65 4.66 4.67 N/A N/A
Mean Grade at DAA
per Exam Session
4.96 5.27 5.14 N/A 5.28
Pass Rate Worldwide 78.06% 77.75% 78.16% 78.54%
Pass Rate at DAA 87.4% 90.0% 88% 87.5%


In 2014 nine DAA students achieved a score of 40 or higher – only 4.4% of students worldwide earn 40 points or more, which puts this impressive accomplishment into perspective. Oxbridge has an entry requirement of 38 points.

GEMs Education has worked on the SEN provision within its schools in recent years and for the 2013/14 academic year, 124 students had been identified as having some form of Special Educational Needs, a figure growing to 249 last year. SEN students make relatively good progress at the school.

The academy houses a wide range of facilities on its twenty three acres: Notably, computer labs, a weight room, science labs, drama and music rooms, art studios, and two library media centres. It also has two swimming pools, a football pitch, tennis courts, and large gyms.

Fees at the school are in the premium range, with fees of 57,2013 in KG2  and rising to 80,640 AED by Grade 12.


The Buzz

DAA is known for its friendly, participatory approach to teaching. Children are said to be a happy bunch, and look forward to going to school. The school is also noted for a strong programme for children who don’t have English as a first language. A highly recommended school in the WSA school survey, with some questioning relative ‘Good Value‘.


The JWI Test
What’s it like to Just Walk In?

Friendliness/Warmth: B
Able to provide information: C-
Overall: B-

Our consultant left her ID with security at the gate and was directed straight to reception. The site is a large, walled open campus with cream and beige block buildings fairly stark outside with a few bushes and potted plants. The reception area is bright and light blue with a cabinet of trophies and a large poster of happy children. She was greeted by a helpful receptionist and directed to a well-appointed waiting area which also had child sized seats and tables with toys. The room was nicely decorated with paintings on the wall and there were fresh flowers on the table, fresh fruit, newspapers and even a plate of cookies available. There were lots of posters on the wall promoting the school and a video was running showing school activities. The registrar was present but not able to see our consultant so we cannot comment on how much information the registrar is able to provide. The receptionist suggested we contact the Parent Relations Executive if we required more information.

DAA looked like a new and impressive site.


KHDA Rating

2008-2009 Good click here
2009-2010 Good click here
2010-2011 Good click here
2011-2012 Outstanding click here
2012-2013 Outstanding click here
2013-2014 Outstanding click here
2014-2015 Outstanding click here
2015-2016 Outstanding click here



KG 1 21781
KG 2 57203
GRADE 1 80640
GRADE 2 80640
GRADE 3 80640
GRADE 4 80640
GRADE 5 80640
GRADE 6 80640
GRADE 7 80640
GRADE 8 80640
GRADE 9 80640
GRADE 10 80640
GRADE 11 80640
GRADE 12 80640



Dubai American Academy is located in Al Barsha, just off the 4th Interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road. GPS coordinates 25.114289 and 55.207618.

If you are heading towards Jebel Ali, take the 4th interchange and head left. Take the first right after the ENOC Petrol station, then right into Dubai American Academy.

If you are heading towards Dubai, take the 4th interchange and head right. Take the first right after the ENOC Petrol station then right into Dubai American Academy.

The front building is middle school and high school. The back building is elementary school, where you will find additional parking.




General Information

School Name GEMS Dubai American Academy
Curriculum US/IB
Telephone 04-3479222
Fax 04-3411047
P.O.Box Al Barsha
Email Superintendent_daa@gemsedu.com
Website www.gemsaa-dubai.com



If you are the principal or the owner of the school, and you would like to update the information and/or advise WSA on any thing that is factually incorrect, please do not hesitate to contact us at editor@edu2021.com


Update on May 15, 2016 | Reviewed by David on July 7, 2012

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