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In-progress studies

OpenImplementation and impact of the International Bacalaureate Middle Years Programme in Malaysian national secondary schools (in-progress)

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

This research will examine the implementation of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Malaysian national secondary schools. The aim of the first component of the project is to inform the ongoing establishment of the MYP at Malaysian national schools, as well as to identify promising practices and key lessons that will support future growth of the MYP at other government secondary schools. The second major component of the study will set in place procedures for recording change and impacts (attributable to MYP implementation) that occur at participating schools.

OpenYear 3 continuation study of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (in-progress)

Julie H. Wade and Natalie L. Wolanin

This project builds on the findings of two earlier studies conducted in the same US school district: "Student performance and student engagement in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme" (Wade, 2011) and "Continuation Study of Student Performance and Engagement in the Middle Years Programme" (Wade and Wolanin, 2013). The IB has partnered with a large, socio-economically diverse US school district, including rural, urban and suburban communities. The objective of this project is to examine the influence of the MYP on students' performance and course enrollment during their junior and senior years in high school, as well as to gain an understanding of the emphasis on critical thinking within the MYP experience, from both student and teacher perspectives.

OpenThe relationship between MYP student moderation performance and DP student performance (in-progress)

IB Global Research department

The purpose of this research is to investigate if IB Diploma Programme (DP) students benefit from previously completing the IB Middle Year Programme (MYP). The assessment data collected from over 6,000 students who participated in both the MYP external moderation and the DP end of programme exams will be analyzed. Research outcomes will provide some empirical insights into the extent to which the MYP prepares students for success in the DP.

Completed studies

OpenImplementation practices and student outcomes associated with the learner profile attribute “open-minded” (2014)

Howard Stevenson, Pat Thomson and Stuart Fox, The University of Nottingham


The focus of this study was the learner profile attribute “open-minded”. The research was conducted at five Middle Years Programme (MYP) schools and one school not affiliated with the International Baccalaureate (IB) in the United Kingdom. This study aimed to examine the open-mindedness of a sample of MYP students and to investigate how IB World Schools develop open-mindedness among their students. Based on a mixed-methods approach, the study included an online survey designed to generate quantitative data on students’ open-mindedness and qualitative data from interviews and focus groups with school leaders, teachers and students. Findings indicated that both IB students and teachers tended to have a well-developed understanding of open-mindedness. Additionally, there was some evidence that attending an MYP school encouraged receptiveness to certain types of open-mindedness. The study suggests that the IB should consider broadening its definition of open-mindedness to a more multi-dimensional approach and that increased professional dialogue could help to foster open-mindedness in students. The researchers develop the concept of the “open-minded school” to illustrate a number of institutional factors which can encourage open-mindedness.

Research summary
Full report

OpenInternational Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme: Student social-emotional well-being and school success practices (2014)

Grace Skrzypiec, Helen Askell-Williams, Phillip Slee and Adrian Rudzinski, Flinders University


This study explores the social, emotional and psychological well-being of International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) students. A mixed method design was used to address the research questions, including measures that provide an indication of students’ flourishing; social, emotional and psychological well-being; empathy; global self-concept; reflection; resilience; relationships; school satisfaction; and mental ill-health. The results suggested that just over half (54.1%) of MYP students had a sense of well-being “almost every day” or “every day” and were therefore flourishing. The researchers found that over half (60.1%) of MYP students were experiencing a positive outlook and just over half (52.4%) were experiencing a positive emotional state “quite a lot” or “all of the time”. The measures of student satisfaction indicated that most MYP students were happy (approximately 70%) and satisfied (approximately 80%) with school. Females in the upper years of the MYP tended to have the lowest scores on measures of positive outlook, a positive emotional state, global self-concept, relationships and resilience. The results found that, except for females aged 14–16, MYP students did not differ significantly from the Australian norms for mental health difficulties.

Research summary

Full report

OpenContinuation study of student performance and engagement in the Middle Years Programme (2013)

Julie H. Wade and Natalie L. Wolanin

This study adds to the findings of "Student performance and student engagement in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme," (Wade, 2011) by further examining MYP student performance, course enrollment and global mindedness as well as teacher perceptions of programme components and professional development. The study found some degree of evidence that students who attended an MYP school were more likely to enroll in advanced-level science and mathematics courses in high school than their peers who attended a non-MYP school. Additionally, previous enrollment in the MYP did appear to have a positive impact on global mindedness. Overall, there were few differences between MYP students and their non-MYP peers with respect to course grades and performance on state-mandated tests in science and mathematics. The majority of teachers felt that MYP professional development met their needs and impacted their teaching strategies. Additionally the majority of teachers stated that they engage their students in critical thinking and real-life issues. Teachers also reported a number of challenges such as competing district priorities as well as a larger workload associated with MYP.

Research Summary

Report - Phase 1
Report - Phase 2
Report - Phase 3

OpenInternational Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in the UK (2013)

National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)-UK

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) conducted an investigation into the teaching and learning benefits of the IB MYP in the UK. The aim was to provide a rich qualitative picture of the programme implementation in the UK, including the impact of the MYP on non-scholastic attributes such as international mindedness and civic engagement, classroom learning environments and school culture. The research design included a comparison of IBMYP, GCSE and IGCSE curriculum and assessment documents, online surveys of teachers, students and parents, and four detailed qualitative case studies. The documentary review reveals that the curriculums cover similar content, but with some notable differences. Teachers, students and parents were overwhelmingly positive about the programme and its benefits, although did acknowledge some challenges, especially in regard to public recognition in the UK. Findings from the study also suggest that the MYP in the UK promotes a valued teaching style and school ethos,
develops students as independent learners, critical thinkers and active citizens, encourages involvement in local and global communities, positively impacts school culture and classroom environments, promotes feedback and reflection, and is engaging and motivating for students and teachers. Furthermore MYP students demonstrate greater awareness of global issues, greater interest in understanding other cultures and greater self efficacy and sense of civic responsibility (local and global) than other students in the UK.

Research Summary
Full Report

OpenPYP and MYP student performance on the International Schools' Assessment: Phase II 2010-2011 (2012)

Ling Tan & Yan Bibby, Australian Council for Educational Research

In 2009 the IB commissioned ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research) to report on how PYP and MYP students performed on the ISA (International Schools' Assessment). The ISA assesses performance in Grades 3 to 10 on math, reading, and expository and narrative writing. The reading and mathematical literacy portions are based on the internationally endorsed frameworks of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). As a follow up to this study, IB again commissioned ACER to further document student performance on the ISA from 2009-11, as well as investigate perceptions, attitudes and wellbeing of IB students through student questionnaires. The study sample included 270 schools (117 with the PYP and 86 with the MYP), and a total of 50,714 international students, of which 68% were IB students. An analysis of student performance showed evidence that, on a global level, the PYP and the MYP students performed better than students from non-IB schools in all 4 assessment areas at many grade levels. The grade 9 and grade 10 ISA scores of IB students also averaged significantly higher than the PISA 2009 OECD means in mathematics and reading. A multilevel analysis found that between-school variations across IB schools were smaller than the between-school variations across non-IB schools in all four ISA domains, implying that IB schools were more similar to each other than the non-IB schools with respect to the four domains of ISA performance. Across all dimensions of the primary-year and secondary-year student questionnaires, high proportions of agreement were observed among IB PYP and MYP students.

Research Summary
Full Report

OpenStudent engagement and performance in the Middle Years Programme (2011)

Julie Wade

This study compares five middle schools with the IB MYP and five demographically similar middle schools without the MYP. All ten schools come from the same large, socioeconomically diverse, public school district comprised of rural, urban, and suburban communities in the U.S. Analysis was conducted of student engagement and performance, student and parent perceptions of school climate, and principal interviews from each school. In analyses of performance and engagement, differences were controlled for race/ethnicity, receipt of Free and Reduced-price Meal System services, receipt of special education services, enrollment in English for Speakers of Other Languages classes, gender, and when possible, previous test performance. Some evidence was suggested of improved performance in mathematics and science for MYP students. Ratings of student engagement, for the most part, were similar for students in MYP and comparison schools. Overall rating of school environment, however, was higher for MYP students, and a higher percentage agreed that "Overall, I feel good about being in this school". All 5 MYP principals noted interdisciplinary learning as a positive influence, and 4 identified teacher training and the support of the MYP coordinator as important benefits. Findings suggest the following recommendations: Continue to examine the performance of MYP students through their years of participation in the program, survey students with questions directly addressing their experience in MYP, solicit feedback and input from teachers in MYP schools, and assess teachers' perceptions of the MYP training.

Research Summary
Full Report

OpenEvaluation of International Baccalaureate programmes in Texas schools (2010)

Jacqueline R. Stillisano et. al., State of Texas Education Research Center at Texas A&M University

This study examines the impact of the PYP and MYP in Texas classrooms. No significant differences were found between IB schools and their comparison schools in math and reading achievement as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. However, structured classroom observations indicated that favorable instructional practices and student behaviors and activities occurred more frequently in IB classrooms than in non-IB Texas classrooms. Researchers concluded that while this is suggestive that the overall quality of instruction is higher at IB schools, implementation varied from school to school, and some of the favorable instructional practices are used more often in some IB schools than in others. Positive outcomes of the IB as identified by teachers and administrators in case studies included increased teacher collaboration, authentic assessment, increased student motivation for learning, development of critical thinking skills, and increased student global and cultural awareness. Challenges identified by teachers and administrators included staff recruitment and retention, balancing the IB with state and district requirements, the additional time needed for collaborative lesson planning and paperwork, the difficulty and workload for students, student mobility, and lack of support from districts parents or teachers.

Research Summary

OpenPYP and MYP student performance on the International Schools' Assessment (2010)

Ling Tan & Yan Bibby, Australian Council for Educational Research

This study, undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), investigated how International Baccalaureate (IB) students enrolled in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) performed on the International Schools' Assessment (ISA), relative to non-IB students. The ISA assesses student performance in Grades 3 to 10 across four domains: Math Literacy, Reading, Narrative Writing, and Expository Writing. The math and reading components of the assessment are based on the reading and mathematical literacy frameworks of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The study sample included IB students (N=23,575) and non-IB students (N=14,317) across Asia and Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Americas, who participated in the ISA in 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. On the whole, despite some regional differences, the results indicate that IB PYP and MYP students outperformed their non-IB peers on the ISA across all four domains in a majority of grade levels, with the strongest effects noted in Year 10 Math and Expository Writing. IB students' ISA scores in Grades 9 and 10 also compare very favourably to PISA benchmarks in Math and Reading. On the other hand, there was insufficient evidence to suggest that IB schools authorized for a longer period produce better student outcomes, and no clear patterns were noted in student performance across IB full continuum schools and single or dual programme schools.

Research Summary

OpenTo be IB: Creating support structures and services for Title I high schools implementing the International Baccalaureate Programme (2010)

Leslie Siskin, Meryle Weinstein & Robyn Sperling, Institute for Education and Social Policy, New York University

This study evaluated a grant funded project to design, develop and deliver new support structures and services that would improve access to the IB Diploma Programme in Title 1 eligible schools. The study examined the experience of four pilot sites that implemented MYP to DP pathways in their middle and high schools, and tested and gave feedback on the new supports. The study found that schools' challenges included 1) building an MYP pathway across middle and high schools in different buildings with different organizations, 2) meshing the MYP and DP philosophies and pedagogies, 3) getting past preconceived notions of IB as a selective honors programme, 4) funding DP exams and fees, 5) the pressure to focus time, attention and resources on state exams and expectations at the expense of the IB, 6) developing safety net supports for students who needed additional motivation and academic preparation, and 7) high principal and teacher turnover. The most successful support service was facilitating access to IB professional development, including on- and off-site workshops. Guidance counselor training and involvement was particularly important to expanding access to IB and to the college admissions process. Participation in the grant itself, with direct support and advocacy from the IB regional office and access to the network of peer schools was also key. The effects of on-site coaching were mixed, but most effective when coaches had both expertise in IB and experience in urban schools. Professional Learning Groups, adopted with assistance from the coaches, were useful in making meetings more productive, in spreading IB to more staff, and in distributing leadership more widely. The study noted while schools saw progress in expanding enrollment, implementing organizational change, and increasing test scores, a fully constructed MYP to DP pipline would take at least 6 years to take the first cohort of students through the diploma. In keeping with this, only the school that had the fully functioning pipeline by the end of the study showed a strong pattern of increase in diplomas awarded.

Link to report on NYU website

OpenHigh school student engagement among IB and non-IB Students in the United States: A comparison study (2009)

International Baccalaureate Global Policy and Research in collaboration with The Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University.

In 2009, the IB recruited eight schools to participate in the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE). The HSSSE is a national survey measuring the academic, social, and emotional engagement of high school students. Two broad sets of analyses were conducted - the first compared non-IB students and IB students in the targeted sample of eight schools (n=7,692), and the second compared non-IB students and IB students in a national sample of more than 100 schools (n=42,754). In both sets of comparisons, IB students rated their levels of academic, behavioral, and emotional engagement significantly higher than non-IB students.

Info sheet
Research summary

Open Supplemental survey: creating support structures and services for Title I high schools implementing the International Baccalaureate Programme (2008)

Leslie Siskin & Meryle Weinstein, Institute for Education and Social Policy, New York University

A survey of the Middle Years Programmes (MYP) and the Diploma Programmes (DP) at U.S. schools eligible for federal "Title I" aid was conducted as part of an evaluation of the IB's attempts to increase access to the DP by providing greater support to these schools. The survey sheds light on the nature of IB student enrollment at Title I schools, with participation in the MYP showing broader access than in the DP, where schools often have selection criteria in place. The profile of IB coordinators and teachers at these schools is also described, as are various supports available to IB students. Challenges to IB implementation at these schools include resources, time and the difficulty of coordinating professional development between their district and the IB. In addition, motivation, academic preparation, and competing activities all impact students' participation and success in IB. Schools stress the need for more support that will address their specific concerns as diverse, urban schools. Strengthening the pathway between the MYP and the DP may provide important support, but that pathway is still under construction, and is particularly challenging for Title I schools given their context.

Concise research summary
Link to report on the NYU website

OpenThe district role in International Baccalaureate (2008)

Leslie Siskin & Meryle Weinstein, Institute for Education and Social Policy, New York University

In order to provide insights into the nature of the district's role in adopting and implementing the IB, the evolution of that role, and whether increased involvement can ultimately benefit students and schools, this study analyzes one site where the district has played a key role in the successful expansion of IB programmes. In this large and extremely diverse district with a reputation for academic excellence, the IB has evolved from two "stand-alone" programmes to a cohesive set of programmes governed and administered with active district strategies, policies, and personnel. District support for the IB initially combined solid financial backing for the Diploma Programme (DP) with a flexible stance which did not mandate the programme. The district took on a more active role when the Middle Years Programme (MYP) was introduced, by building formal mechanisms to connect those involved with IB across schools, taking advantage of economies of scale, and creating two director-level positions to coordinate IB, among other measures. The relationship between this district and the IB has become so strong that the district's new set of goals for all students mirror the goals and philosophy of IB programs. There is evidence to show that when the district takes on an active role in this way, student IB participation and performance increases, schools benefit, and the district itself is also strengthened. The district indicated that scores have risen particularly rapidly on state assessments and SATs in IB schools.

Concise research summary
Link to report on the NYU website

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