DP studies

The effectiveness of literature on acquisition of language skills in the high school context (2017)

Sam Duncan and Amos Paran

Institute of Education, University College London

This study explored the use of literature to support language aquisition in International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) language B classrooms. In conducting the study, the researchers aimed to learn more about how teachers choose literary texts, how they use these texts in the classroom and their views on the impact of using literary texts in language B teaching. The mixed-methods study involved case studies at three different IB World Schools in Europe and an online survey distributed to nearly 500 schools offering the DP across the world. In general, teachers and students were overwhelmingly in favour of using literature in language teaching, with teachers citing the general contribution of literature in education as well as the linguistic benefits. The main skills that teachers believed could be enhanced in students by using literary texts in language B teaching included vocabulary development and the development of reading skills. Analyses indicated that the amount of training that teachers had received from their initial teacher education programmes favourably impacted their attitudes toward and likelihood of using literature for language teaching.

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Higher education outcomes for International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme mathematics higher level students (2016)

Matt Homer and John Monaghan

School of Education, University of Leeds

This study examined students’ experiences with higher level (HL) mathematics in the Diploma Programme (DP), their mathematical self-confidence and self-efficacy and their perceived preparedness for the study of mathematics at university. Additionally, higher education (HE) data was analysed to examine the value-added of studying mathematics HL in comparison to other pre-university mathematics courses. The study involved an online survey of DP mathematics HL alumni from 64 countries and a secondary data analysis of HE outcomes in the United Kingdom (UK), comparing degree outcomes for DP mathematics HL students with students who had studied other pre-university mathematics courses, such as A-level mathematics. Findings indicate that DP mathematics HL alumni have high levels of mathematical self-confidence and self-efficacy across a variety of topics. Generally, the alumni survey indicated that students felt well prepared to study mathematics at the university level. Moreover, data on HE outcomes indicated that mathematics HL alumni were more likely to obtain a first-class degree compared to students who had other qualifications.

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Language proficiency for academic achievement in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Keira Ballantyne and Charlene Rivera, The George Washington University, Center for Equity and Excellence in Education, 2014

This study aimed to investigate the factors which enhance academic success for Diploma Programme (DP) candidates who are studying in school settings where examinations and instruction are not in the student’s mother tongue. The study employed a literature review, an analysis of demographic and performance data and a survey of 300 schools to explore practices related to second language instruction in DP schools. The population of second language learners in the DP grew by approximately half (51%) over the five years considered in this study (2008–2012). Findings indicate that candidates spoke as many as 207 mother tongues. Spanish was the most commonly spoken mother tongue, accounting for 20% of the second language candidates. In terms of academic performance, in the May examination session, second language learners generally performed better than the group of all students. In the November examination session, however, the group of all students generally outperformed second language candidates. The survey portion of the study suggests a need for additional resources for mother tongue instruction and that professional development should provide all teachers with preparation in academic language pedagogy, not only language teachers.

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Curriculum development in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Sandra Leaton Gray, David Scott and Euan Auld, Institute of Education, University of London, 2014

This report examines the development and revision of curriculum in countries, regions and jurisdictions around the world. In addition, it provides examples to inform the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) own curriculum development. The researchers identified thirteen countries and jurisdictions that would serve as productive locations for learning in relation to curriculum development and reform: Finland; Massachusetts, USA; Scotland; Ontario, Canada; Netherlands; Mexico; Germany; England; Chile; Singapore; New Zealand; Victoria, Australia; and Queensland, Australia. The first phase of the study included the collection of information about the characteristics of curriculum reform in these sites. In the second phase, the researchers investigated the characteristics of the IB’s curriculum development in relation to the selected sites. The study suggests that, in the six locations, reform processes are generally ad hoc and initiated by governments to address particular problems. In contrast, the IB employs a defined and structured seven-year curriculum review process. The authors, however, caution against review guidelines that are overly complex and detailed, which may result in a form of “guideline exhaustion”.

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Use of technology in secondary mathematics

Paul Drijvers, John Monaghan, Mike Thomas and Luc Trouche, 2014

This study aims to provide insight into the use and integration of technology into the curriculum, classroom practice and learning in secondary mathematics courses. The report includes a literature review on a comprehensive range of studies on the use of technology in senior secondary mathematics education as well as a comparison of the IB’s intended and implemented Diploma Programme (DP) mathematics curriculum with the intended and implemented curriculum from six different countries. The report contains sections on: curriculum, types of technology used, learning, student skills and competencies, pedagogy and assessment. The study indicates that: curriculum documents from the IB and all six countries mention technology as an explicit element in the mathematics curriculum; the most commonly referenced technology is the graphic display calculator; and teachers want professional development that models planning and pedagogy so they can meaningfully integrate technology into their lessons to help students learn mathematical concepts.

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Discussion document for the curriculum review of creativity, action, service

Catherine Elliott, Cheryl Keegan and Cathryn Berger Kaye, 2011

The document aims to revisit the theoretical and practical perspectives embedded in the DP creativity, action, service (CAS) framework, and explicate the implications and applications of service learning for the development of the course.

Discussion document

Perspectives on a curious subject: What is IB theory of knowledge all about?

Eileen Dombrowski, John Mackenzie and Mike Clarke, 2011

This document aims to review the evolution of the theory of knowledge (TOK) course and its role in the DP and students’ learning. It encourages reflective dialogue between school leaders, teachers of TOK and others.

Discussion document