PYP studies

Student thinking and learning in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) transdisciplinary framework: Case studies from PYP schools (2016)

Carol McGuinness, Robert Swartz and Liz Sproule, Queen’s University Belfast and the Center for Teaching Thinking

This study focuses on how the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) transdisciplinary framework can advance deep thinking and learning for PYP students aged 3–12. The study extends prior research by the authors to examine the relationship between thinking and learning, as well as how progression in thinking might best be articulated. To conduct the study, the researchers used a combination of a literature review, theoretical analyses and empirical findings from seven PYP case study schools around the world. The case study schools differed in the degree to which they prioritized thinking as an explicit curriculum objective, and whether thinking was given specific instructional attention above and beyond the other PYP transdisciplinary skills. The most common approaches that the researchers observed for developing student thinking skills in the case study schools utilized: questioning, thinking organizers, metacognitive thinking and collaboration among students. The authors conclude with a series of recommendations for further strengthening thinking and learning practices within the PYP.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Social constructivist approaches to language learning in multilingual early and elementary years classrooms (2016)

Sally Humphrey, Honglin Chen and Lucy Macnaught

Australian Catholic University and the University of Wollongong

This study, conducted in two phases, investigated professional learning practices in language education. In the first phase, the researchers conducted a comprehensive literature review and developed preliminary design principles for the professional learning of PYP teachers. The second phase of the study involved applying and testing the principles that emerged from the literature review. During this phase, the researchers examined teachers’ knowledge about language before professional learning, as well as any shifts that occurred as a result of their professional learning experience. A key finding from the literature review was that metalanguage (language about language), informed by systemic functional linguistics, supports students’ confidence in composing texts and facilitates their understanding of language use across curriculum contexts. Based on the case studies, researchers identified the importance of enacting ongoing “elbow to elbow” professional learning (professional learning involving close collaboration between the instructor and the student) within teaching and learning contexts, which are immediately relevant to teachers. Lastly, positive impacts were found in students’ language use after the professional learning intervention, particularly in writing for scientific inquiry.

Research summary pdf
Literature review pdf
Full report pdf

The potentials of K–12 literacy development in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) (2016)

Misty Adoniou, Grette Toner and Moosung Lee, The University of Canberra

The purpose of this study was to investigate literacy development across the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) and to inform programme development. The full report consists of a literature review and an analysis of key PYP and MYP documents. The literature review revealed five key themes: theoretical perspectives, basic literacy skills, disciplinary literacy, new literacies and multilingualism. These themes were then incorporated into coding matrices to analyse how the MYP programme guides published in 2015 and the current PYP curriculum map onto the research. Based on the document analysis, the researchers offer 10 recommendations to further strengthen literacy development across the PYP and MYP. A number of these recommendations involve additional guidance and documentation from the IB to support the scaffolding of learning, basic and disciplinary literacy skills and multilingualism.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Assessment of student development and learning in International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme schools (2016)

Dianne Toe, Josephine Lang, Louise Paatsch, Bonnie Yim, Wendy Jobling, Brian Doig and George Aranda, School of Education, Deakin University

The aim of this study is to examine how International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) schools define the purpose of educational assessment in their assessment policies and practices. Educational assessment in this study is broadly defined to include standardized tests, and formative and summative assessment. This investigation offers a deeper understanding of the assessment cultures of eight PYP schools and provides insights into the current assessment literacy of teachers. The researchers employed a multiple case-study approach, with two phases of data collection: an online survey of teachers and detailed teacher focus groups and coordinator interviews to follow-up on themes identified in the survey. Assessment in the PYP case-study schools was described as holistic and ongoing, and involved a wide range of assessment strategies. Assessment as learning, however, emerged as an approach still in development in the schools. Teachers enthusiastically supported the development of learner profile attributes, although assessing progress in any particular attribute was regarded as challenging. Finally, while teacher feedback and student self-assessment were common practices, teachers were more equivocal about peer assessment. The authors conclude the report with a number of recommendations for further improving PYP assessment practices.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

An exploration of the policy and practice of transdisciplinarity in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (2015)

Susan M Drake PhD, Michael J Savage PhD, Joanne L Reid, Michelle L Bernard and Jacqueline Beres, Brock University

The purpose of this study was to investigate how Primary Years Programme (PYP) teachers, coordinators and administrators conceptualize and apply transdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. The researchers also conducted a comprehensive literature review to explore different transdisciplinary models and to present results on the effectiveness of various approaches. One of the conclusions from this review was that students who experience an integrated curriculum are as successful academically, and often more successful, than their counterparts, and are also able to develop the skills and values necessary to be successful in a globalized world. Twenty-four participants (eight from each of the IB’s three regions) participated in the study. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews with participants. Three major themes emerged from the participant interview portion of the study: the PYP as a framework; the PYP as collaborative engagement; the PYP as a learning journey. All the participants identified the PYP as a framework that was designed to promote transdisciplinary teaching and learning. Participants also suggested that, in order for the PYP to function as a transdisciplinary programme, teachers, administrators and parents needed to “get on board”. Despite some of the challenges in implementing transdisciplinary teaching and learning in the PYP, all participants stated the PYP benefited students and aided them in “their learning journey”.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

A review of current thinking and practices in assessment in relation to the Primary Years Programme

Wynne Harlen and Sandra Johnson, 2014

Assessment Europe

The principal purpose of this research project was to contribute to a substantial review of the Primary Years Programme (PYP), by critically reflecting on the PYP curriculum framework in light of the approaches, strategies and tools of assessment of 21st century primary education. The assessment review focused on both ongoing formative assessment (assessment for learning) and summative assessment (assessment of learning). It was supported by findings from a broad review of the literature, which covered writings on assessment published during the past five years, including theoretical pieces on the nature of assessment.

Research summary pdf
Literature review pdf
Annotated bibliography pdf

Additional language teaching and learning in International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme schools

Carol Van Vooren, Chun Lai, Sue Ledger, Ángeles Bueno Villaverde and Verónica Steffen, 2013

This study focuses on additional language (AL) teaching and learning in a range of diverse Primary Years Programme (PYP) settings. It explores aspects and practices in relation to school language policies, cultural influences, teacher beliefs and pedagogical strategies, professional development, assessments, and student learning outcomes as well as their alignment with PYP principles and practices in language and learning. The qualitative case study design provided an opportunity to collect rich and meaningful data in six PYP schools in six different countries: two from the IB Americas region; two from the IB Asia–Pacific region; and two from the IB Africa, Europe, Middle East region. The research findings provide insight into the effectiveness of AL teaching and learning in PYP schools, demonstrate how language-related curriculum documents can be used to support AL curriculum planning and implementation, and inform the development of policy documents and support materials to provide guidance to IB schools and teachers.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

How schools evaluate the success of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

Dr Peggy Kong and Dr Jill Sperandio, College of Education, Lehigh University, 2013

This study aims to investigate schools’ definitions of the “success” of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and how they evaluate their definitions of success in relation to the following: 1) school leadership, 2) teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and practices, 3) parent satisfaction with the PYP, 4) student learning outcomes, 5) students’ demonstration of IB learner profile attributes, 6) development of international-mindedness and 7) school ethos and culture. Between October 2012 and May 2013, questionnaires were distributed to all PYP schools that had gone through their first evaluation, followed by site visits to six schools from the three regions to gather in-depth information about schools’ perceptions of “success” and their journeys to successful programme implementation in context. The study provides an understanding of the most valued aspects of the PYP from the perspective of stakeholder groups in different school contexts and identifies the indicators these groups use to measure successful programme implementation. The study also suggests areas for future programme development and offers recommendations on how this development could be approached.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Primary education: A literature review

Dr. Tony Eaude, 2013

This literature review project focuses on the written and taught curriculum for students aged six to twelve years and aims to address the following research questions: 1) What have been the main political, social and cultural influences, and the key trends evident across different countries and jurisdictions, in relation to the written and taught curriculum in the primary years since 2003? 2) What are the key theoretical lessons from research about children's learning in the primary years, and their implications for the written and taught curriculum? and 3) How might the aims of the IB and the PYP be affected by the influences and trends identified and how could the IB best learn from research about young children's learning? The outcomes of the project will inform a review and further development of the Primary Years Programme (PYP).

Research summary pdf
Literature review pdf