DP studies

International Baccalaureate students studying at UK higher education institutions: How do they perform in comparison with A level students? (2016)

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

This study examined the higher education enrollment and achievement of matched cohorts of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and A level students who entered higher education in the United Kingdom (UK). The first section of the report provides an overview and descriptive statistics of the IB and A level cohorts, and the second section examines higher education enrollment and outcomes of IB diploma and A level students matched using propensity score matching. Analysis showed that IB diploma students were significantly more likely than their A level peers to attend a top 20 higher education institution in the UK, after controlling for differences in academic ability. Additionally, IB diploma students had a significantly greater likelihood of earning a first-class honours degree than did A level students. A level students, however, were more likely than IB diploma students to take a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) course during their first year of higher education. First to second year university continuation rates were similarly high for IB diploma and A level students. Lastly, diploma students were significantly more likely to be engaged in further study after leaving higher education while A level students were significantly more likely to join the workforce after graduating.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

International Baccalaureate programmes in Title I schools in the United States: Accessibility, participation and university enrollment (2015)

Melissa Gordon, Emily VanderKamp and Olivia Halic

IB Global Research

Low-income and underrepresented minority students have less access to social and economic capital, which can hinder educational attainment and exacerbate the cycle of poverty. US schools with a high proportion of low-income students are eligible to become Title I schools, which allows for the allotment of federal resources to attempt to close this achievement gap (US Department of Education, 2014). This study identifies trends in Title I schools offering IB programmes, explores issues of access to the IB, and examines the postsecondary trajectories of IB students from these schools. Overall, 60% of all public schools that offered one or more IB programme in the US were designated Title I in 2012–2013. The findings indicate that Diploma Programme (DP) students from Title I schools, including low-income and minority students, enroll in college at much higher rates than national averages. Moreover, DP students from Title I schools enroll in college at the same rate as DP students from US public schools generally. Additionally, results show that African American DP students from Title I schools enroll in college at higher rates than any other racial group, and this is even the case for African American DP students from low-income families.

Research brief pdf
Presentation on the research 

Diploma Programme students’ enrollment and outcomes at US postsecondary institutions 2008–2014 (2015)

Liz Bergeron

University of Wisconsin, La Crosse

This study examines patterns of college enrollment, retention and graduation rates of Diploma Programme (DP) students who graduated from public and private high schools in the United States in 2008. Data from two sources were used: the IB information system (IBIS) and the National Student Clearinghouse’s (NSC) student tracker system. Findings show that 92% of DP students graduating from US high schools in 2008 enrolled in US postsecondary institutions between 2008 and 2014, while 78% of students enrolled immediately. The first year retention rate of DP students enrolled in four-year institutions was 98%. The average four-year graduation rate of all DP students (both diploma earners and non-earners) was 79%. Furthermore, DP students (both diploma earners and non-earners) have notably higher six-year graduation rates (83%) than the 2009 national average of 56% (NCHEMS n.d.).

Research brief pdf
Full report pdf

Alignment between the DP and MoNEP in Turkey and the effects of these programmes on the achievement and development of university students (2015)

Armağan Ateşkan, Jale Onur, Sila Sagun, Margaret Sands and M Sencer Çorlu

Bilkent University

There were two principal aims of this study: 1) to explore the alignment between the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) and the Ministry of National Education Programme (MoNEP) in Turkey and 2) to investigate the effects of both programmes on the achievement of graduates at the university level. This multidimensional, mixed-methods study involved analysis of major policy papers and written high school curriculums, data from universities related to entry scores and academic performance, and analysis of student perceptions. The results suggested that generally the cognitive demand of the DP was higher than that of MoNEP, particularly for the Turkish and English subject areas. While DP graduates performed less well on the Turkish national university entrance exam compared to non-DP graduates, DP graduates generally had higher course grades in the five subject areas examined in this study as well as a significantly higher cumulative grade point average overall. The data also indicated a higher graduation rate among the DP cohort. DP students reported feeling well-prepared for university studies, particularly in the use of English and academic skills such as writing and managing independent work.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Exploring the benefits of the International Baccalaureate extended essay for university studies at the University of Virginia (2013)

Center for Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, University of Virginia (UVA)

This mixed methods study, conducted at the University of Virginia (UVA), USA, uses student records, surveys and semi-structured interviews to better understand the research experience of former International Baccalaureate (IB) students, describe student perceptions of the value of the extended essay (EE) experience and determine if any correlations exist between EE grades and university academic success. For the survey, former IB students (n=1,045) and a comparison sample of former Advanced Placement (AP) students (n=1,046) were selected for participation. The total number of respondents was 953. Respondents generally felt academically prepared for college-level courses. Former IB students felt strongly that their EE experience prepared them to conduct the various facets of the research process. When compared with former AP students, IB students were significantly more likely to indicate that they: felt prepared for college-level coursework involving research; had executed a research project at UVA; were proud of their research; intended to conduct future research; and found their research skills to be important to future success. The 21 focus group and individual interviewees indicated specific skills that were augmented by completing the EE project. Finally, findings showed a statistically significant relationship between EE score and college grade point averages (GPAs), after controlling for background characteristics.

Research Summary
Full Report

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Implementation and impact of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) in Spanish state schools (2017)

Javier M Valle, Maripé Menéndez, Bianca Thoilliez, Rocío Garrido, Soledad Rappoport and Jesús Manso

Autónoma University of Madrid

In the context of growing interest in the Diploma Programme (DP) in Spain, this study was undertaken to investigate the impact of DP implementation in 26 Spanish state schools. Moreover, with the aim of developing understanding of the medium- and long-term impact of the DP on students, the study also investigated the experiences and professional paths of DP alumni from Spanish state schools. Overall, the implementation of the DP is perceived to be yielding positive outcomes, including a beneficial shift in the school culture and climate, a change in teaching and learning approaches, and the development of certain competencies in students. DP alumni reported that in undertaking the programme they developed specific competencies, including research skills and critical thinking, and were well prepared for both university and work life. The main challenges reported about the implementation of the DP in Spanish state schools included increased teacher workload and the Spanish Ministry of Education’s poor equivalence of the DP’s grading and assessment systems. Important questions around equity and access in a public education system are also raised.

Research summary pdf

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP): Alignment with the Pakistan National Curriculum for years XI and XII (2017)

National Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC)

UK NARIC conducted a comparative analysis to identify similarities and differences in the content, structure, assessment and cognitive demand of the DP and Pakistan’s Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC), in addition to the aims and objectives that underpin the Pakistani education system, as outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP). The study also compared the recognition of the DP and HSSC for the purpose of undergraduate admission. Overall, the study revealed many similarities between the DP and HSSC and the principles and aims that underpin them. This was particularly evident in the recommendations for teacher training and teaching strategies, and at a subject level, in the key content studied. Some of the differences identified reflect the distinct contexts for which the programmes have been designed, specifically having a national versus an international focus. More substantial differences were identified in the comparative analysis of assessment demand and recognition by universities. In general, the DP assesses subjects at a higher level of cognitive demand. Additionally, the DP has greater recognition than the HSSC in relation to the entrance requirements of universities worldwide.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Benchmarking selected International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme language courses to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (2016)

The National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC)

UK NARIC was commissioned to undertake an independent comparative study of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) English language courses and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The purpose of the study was to establish how the level of English language competency expected at different DP course grades (1–7) compared to levels on the CEFR, and aid higher education institutions in determining language proficiency requirements for DP students without the need for additional testing. The methodology, drawing on the manual published by the Council of Europe, was designed to ensure a robust and transparent evaluation of the seven DP English language courses against the CEFR scales and sub-scales for reading comprehension, written production, and spoken interaction and production. The review involved an objective, desk-based review of the DP language guides, past papers, question types, associated markschemes and level descriptors, cross-referencing with individual assessments and grade boundaries over three to four exam sittings, as compared with CEFR. Overall, the study found DP English language courses to develop all four key language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) with sound assessment in place to assess students’ reading comprehension, written production, and speaking interaction and production skills. All DP courses have at least one grade that can be considered comparable to CEFR B2, the level most commonly required for admissions by universities. A full equivalency table is available in the research summary and full report.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Developing academic persistence in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Educational strategies and associated personality traits (2016)

Andrei Holman, Emilia Alexandra Pascal, Cristina Bostan, Ana Maria Hoşbotă and Ticu Constantin

Department of Psychology, Alexandru I. Cuza University

The objective of this study was to identify the components of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) that support academic persistence and the individual traits associated with it. The first two phases of the study entailed the qualitative investigation of relevant IB documents and DP teachers’ perspectives on the instructional strategies and personality traits that have the potential to foster academic persistence. The quantitative research phase consisted of the development and administration of a questionnaire to DP students in five Eastern and Central European countries (n = 226). For comparative purposes, the questionnaire was also administered to grade 11 and grade 12 non-IB students from top-ranking Romanian high schools (n = 328). Data analyses included t tests, regression analyses and structural equation modelling. The study found that the DP fosters students’ academic persistence to a higher degree than does the traditional education system (at least the Romanian system). This effect is mostly due to a set of distinct instructional strategies that foster academic persistence both directly, through the adapted and comprehensive curriculums, and indirectly, through the development of certain psychological traits supporting academic persistence. Moreover, IB students’ academic persistence further stimulates their academic performance and decreases their intention to drop out of school.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Implementation and impact of the dual language International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) in Japanese secondary schools (2016)

Beverley A Yamamoto, Takahiro Saito, Maki Shibuya, Yukiko Ishikura, Adam Gyenes, Viktoriya Kim, Kim Mawer and Chika Kitano

Osaka University and Nara University of Education

In 2011, the Japanese government announced its plans to introduce the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) into 200 Japanese secondary schools. This study examines the implementation of the dual language (Japanese and English) DP in Japanese secondary schools to identify enabling practices as well as barriers and disablers. Secondly, researchers developed an instrument to understand the skills, competencies, expectations and attributes of DP and non-DP students. Data was collected in five case study schools (candidate DP schools) as well as in IB workshops and existing IB World Schools. Allowing a proportion of DP subjects to be taught and assessed in Japanese was identified by schools as key to the DP being a viable option. Other main enabling factors that the researchers identified were: networking with existing IB World Schools, supportive leadership in the case study schools and a tradition of creativity regarding curriculum development that these schools had already embraced. Taken as a whole, the case study schools highlighted the need for more practical help in addition to general advice from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the IB as well as greater flexibility with regard to determining curricular equivalency. The baseline data indicated that DP students had higher ratings than non-DP students for being “internationally-minded” and had higher expectations of acquiring problem-solving and leadership skills while at high school.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

研究摘要 pdf

A study of “reflection” in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (2016)

Jacqueline Stillisano, Kim Wright, Anna Boriack, Tracey Hodges, Sunni Sonnenburg, Sandra Metoyer, Kayla Rollins and Hersh Waxman

Education Research Center, Texas A&M University

The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation of the “reflective” attribute of the IB learner profile by exploring how reflection is interpreted, integrated into instruction and assessed, and how it benefits Diploma Programme (DP) students. The research team employed a four-stage, mixed-methods research design for this study. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from surveys of DP teachers and administrators in 31 schools across the United States (US) and Canada, as well as interviews with teachers and administrators, surveys of DP students and classroom observations of DP classes at six case-study sites. DP teachers and administrators tended to interpret “reflection” in three ways: as a tool for academic growth, personal growth and/or metacognition. Respondents identified a number of strategies for incorporating reflection into the curriculum, including collaborative learning, class discussion, critical writing and student self-evaluation. Lastly, despite the challenges of encouraging students to be reflective thinkers, teachers and administrators agreed that “reflective” was “one of the most important attributes” for the academic and social development of their DP students.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Teaching the theory of knowledge course in International Baccalaureate World Schools (2016)

Liz Bergeron and Leslie Rogers

University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

This study used a mixed-methods design to investigate the impact, perceptions and implementation of the theory of knowledge (TOK) course in International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools across all regions. To address the research questions, the researchers analysed quantitative survey data from 1,534 participants and conducted focus groups with 33 TOK teachers from schools in nine countries. Overwhelmingly, survey results indicated that teachers enjoy teaching the TOK course. Teachers identified the main purposes of TOK as helping students to develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed and to assist students with making connections across academic disciplines. Teachers believed the primary benefits for students are the ability to critically evaluate knowledge and to identify and reflect on personal assumptions. Teachers strongly agreed that teaching TOK has been a valuable professional development experience for them. Specifically, they indicated it enhanced their own critical thinking and developed their interdisciplinary understanding. Survey results and focus groups suggest that the main challenges associated with TOK implementation are assessment, timing and administrative issues, such as scheduling and class size. 

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

International Baccalaureate mathematics comparability study: Curriculum and assessment comparison (2016)

The National Recognition Information Centre, United Kingdom (UK NARIC) and Adriana Alcántara, PhD

With Liz Bergeron, PhD, University of Wisconsin La-Crosse

In this study, the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) four Diploma Programme (DP) mathematics courses are compared with five mathematics qualifications from around the world (Alberta Diploma, Advanced Placement, GCE A levels, Singapore-Cambridge GCE A Levels and Gāokăo). The study includes two distinct components: a curriculum comparison and an assessment comparison. Of the curriculums examined, the DP offers the greatest number of mathematical course options for students with different needs. Based on the criteria used for this analysis, the IB’s further mathematics HL was determined to be the most cognitively demanding course of the curriculums examined, followed by A level Further Mathematics and Singapore H3 Mathematics respectively. With regard to assessment, the DP and GCE A level provide partial credit for accurate methods used; this is considered beneficial as it offers a more comprehensive record of student understanding. Lastly, the DP courses allow for the most granular level of differentiation in student achievement by grade, which can help to identify the highest levels of student achievement for competitive higher education admissions purposes.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Establishing a STEM pipeline: Trends in male and female enrollment and performance in higher level secondary STEM courses (2015)

Liz Bergeron and Melissa Gordon

The purpose of this study was to understand enrollment and performance differences between males and females in higher level International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) STEM courses. This study analyzed the performance and enrollment of 355,688 DP students in higher level STEM courses. The research also explored country level differences. The enrollment research questions are evaluated using chi-square tests, frequency tables, and histograms. Performance research questions are analyzed with hierarchical linear regression and ANOVA with post hocs and Cohen’s d effect size measures. Results suggest that females enroll much less frequently in higher level DP STEM courses. Females and males perform equally well. 

Link to the study

International Baccalaureate: National trends for low-income students, 2008–2014 (2015)

Kyra Caspary, Katrina Woodworth, Kaeli Keating and Janelle Sands

SRI International

This study examines the postsecondary trajectories of low-income International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) candidates and course takers from public schools in the United States from 2008–2014. The study incorporates findings from three sources: IB exam data from the IB information system (IBIS), National Student Clearinghouse college participation data, and qualitative data collected during five site visits to high schools serving large populations of low-income DP students. The findings indicated that while the participation of low-income students in the DP has increased, overall student performance in the DP has remained fairly constant. Furthermore, postsecondary results for low-income DP candidates in particular were promising. Low-income DP candidates had high immediate enrollment rates in two- and four-year postsecondary institutions (82%), high first-year retention rates (87%) and high graduation rates (72% after six years). These results were substantially higher than the rates for low-income students nationally and were comparable to higher-income DP students. Although DP course takers tended to perform less well than DP candidates, their graduation rates were also higher than low-income students nationally.

Research brief pdf
Full report 

The use of multilevel modeling and the level two residual file to explore the relationship between Middle Years Programme student performance and Diploma Programme student performance (2014)

Melissa Gordon and Liz Bergeron, IB Global Research department

Multilevel modeling has recently found a substantial niche in the context of educational research, although several details about the methodological application of these models have yet to be explored in an achievement data framework. This paper makes use of data provided by the International Baccalaureate (IB) to investigate modeling decisions in an effort to increase understanding about the way these models function. The focus of this research is on the relationship between performances in two IB programmes: the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP). Using data collected from 2007–2011 and limiting the sample size to students who remained in the same school district for their MYP and DP education resulted in a total sample size of 4,924, with data collected across 42 countries. Results revealed that a one-unit increase in MYP moderation performance was associated with a .5 unit increase in DP performance, and that MYP performance explained 44% of the variation in DP performance. Empirical findings suggest that students who perform better during MYP moderation tend to perform better on DP exams, even after controlling for school membership.

Link to journal article 

The International Baccalaureate bilingual diploma: Global trends, pathways, and predictors of attainment (2014)

Olivia Halic, Liz Bergeron, Alexandra Kuvaeva and Alison Smith

IB Global Research department

This study explored global patterns and pathways in the award of the International Baccalaureate (IB) bilingual diploma (BD) and examined the relationship between several variables and the award of the BD. The sample comprised students from 139 countries, who earned the IB diploma between 2007 and 2012. The most common combination of languages studied in pursuit of the BD was English and Spanish. Results of logistic regression analysis revealed that a student’s native language is the strongest predictor of earning a BD. Non-native English speaking students are 17.7 times more likely than native English speaking students to earn a BD. Students from schools outside of the US are 3.5 times more likely to earn a BD than students from the US.

Research summary pdf
Journal article

International Baccalaureate implementation study: Examination of district-wide implementation in the US (2015)

Asher Beckwitt, Debbie Van Camp and Jennifer Carter

Asher Consulting, LLC

In 2013, three programmes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) were adopted and implemented district-wide in three school districts in the United States (US). This study explores IB implementation in two of the three districts, with a focus on outcomes in the Diploma Programme (DP). An exploratory, mixed methods case study was used to understand district-wide implementation in the two districts, using student performance data, surveys, interviews, focus groups and classroom observation. The study found that DP students frequently rate higher than available norm data on key non-academic student outcomes such as student engagement, global competence and cultural awareness, study habits, motivation and college readiness. Administrators and teachers believed that district-wide implementation assisted with “horizontal” communication among teachers, fostered a common IB language and structure, and facilitated “vertical” alignment among the programmes. Some of the challenges associated with district-wide implementation included the cost of IB programmes and aligning IB and state requirements. DP students reported a number of benefits from IB participation, including gaining critical thinking, research and study skills, but also noted that the programme was challenging and could be stressful.

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

The integration of technology in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (2015)

Lucy Cooker, Charles Crook and Shaaron Ainsworth

The University of Nottingham

This study examined how digital technology is being used in IB World Schools in the United Kingdom (UK) to support teaching and learning in the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum areas of mathematics and sciences. The study aimed to: 1) document teacher and student technology adoption, comfort and skills; and 2) identify examples of good practice of technologies in context to enhance learning in DP sciences and mathematics courses and to inform IB policy and teacher practice. The study included surveys, telephone interviews, observation and document analysis in state and private schools across Scotland, England and Wales. The findings suggested that “bring your own device” policies and using technology to encourage inquiry-based learning were generally beneficial. Although there were a number of instances of good practice in technology integration, there were also opportunities for further developing innovative practice, particularly related to collaborative and inquiry-based learning, simulation and community-building among IB World Schools. The researchers argued that while the technology available for use in educational contexts is fast developing in quantity and quality, the pedagogy driving the technology must remain at the forefront. Research summary Full report

Research summary pdf
Full report pdf

Curriculum alignment between the Diploma Programme and national systems: Germany and Switzerland (2015)

Dr. Daniel Faas and Irene Friesenhahn, Trinity College Dublin

These reports examine the ways in which the DP written curriculum align with national standards in selected regions in Germany and Switzerland with regard to content, cognitive demand and philosophical underpinnings, and how the intended non-scholastic attributes compare in DP and German and Swiss curriculums. Researchers used a mixed-method approach, drawing primarily on documentary analysis, content analysis and the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum Model (Porter 2002; Porter 2005; Porter, Smithson, Blank and Zeidner 2007). The studies compare and contrast the following subject curriculums: mathematics, a modern foreign language (Spanish), geography, history and biology. The findings of both studies suggest that while there is a high level of content alignment between the DP and Swiss and the DP and German curriculums in the natural sciences (biology and mathematics), there is less alignment in the social sciences and humanities (history and Spanish). The researchers also note that the Swiss and German curriculums emerge from local and national roots, compared to the global focus of the DP, which could account for differences in the humanities. The DP also appears to offer greater flexibility than the Swiss and German curriculums, allowing students to pursue their academic interests.

Full report: Germany pdf
Full report: Switzerland pdf

A comparative study of international-mindedness in the Diploma Programme in Australia, China and India (2014)

Arathi Sriprakash, Michael Singh and Qi Jing

University of Sydney and University of Western Sydney

This qualitative study explored the concept of international-mindedness in the Diploma Programme across six IB World Schools in Australia, China and India. The research focused on four main areas of inquiry, including: students’, parents’ and teachers’ conceptualizations of international-mindedness; the relevance of international-mindedness to post-school trajectories; possible assessment approaches; and cross-case comparison by school. Using a multi-site approach, the researchers interviewed 196 students, parents and teachers and also conducted observations and document analysis. Although participants expressed the belief that international-mindedness is complex and can be interpreted in multiple ways, generally conceptions were clustered into three main categories: international-mindedness as a tool for individual gain; as an orientation towards shared understanding; and as a way to push boundaries for change. Participants considered the ideas of international-mindedness to be highly relevant to students’ internationally oriented university pathways and career aspirations. Lastly, the authors present several recommendations to inform school engagement, curriculum planning and assessment practices related to international-mindedness.

Research summary
Full report

Factors influencing students to earn a bilingual diploma (2014)

Charlene Rivera, Tracy Runfola Tressler, Jennifer McCreadie and Keira Ballantyne

The George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education

In addition to the standard diploma of the Diploma Programme, the International Baccalaureate also offers a bilingual diploma (referred to in this study as BD), which includes additional language requirements. The aims of this study were to examine the context of BD implementation in schools, to investigate academic outcomes for BD students and to explore perceptions and factors that encourage or discourage students from pursuing the BD. This multi-method study included three phases: a survey of IB World School staff, analysis of student record and performance data and an in-depth study of BD implementation in a small number of schools. The study suggested that students are more likely to pursue the BD if they are already bilingual or if their mother tongue is not English. Students reported that key factors encouraging them to pursue a BD included the desire to be multilingual, future career opportunities and school promotion of the BD.  Conversely, students identified competing demands of other coursework as an impediment to pursuing the BD. Data on student performance indicated few differences between the performance of BD and standard diploma candidates.

Research summary
Full report

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Alignment with the Australian Curriculum and Australian Qualifications Framework (2014)

Mary Dixon, Claire Charles, Julianne Moss, Peter Hubber and Penelope Pitt

Deakin University

This study investigated the extent to which the Diploma Programme (DP) aligns with the standards, principles and practices outlined in the Australian Curriculum (AC) as well as the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for the senior secondary level. Researchers from Deakin University conducted a robust mapping of relevant curriculum documents related to the educational goals of the DP and the AC as well as four discipline areas: mathematics, science, English and history. Curriculum mapping was supplemented by qualitative data from educators in DP schools. Findings suggest that the core elements of the DP (theory of knowledge, creativity, action, service and the extended essay) are major features that assist with the alignment of the DP with the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians and the AC. The DP curriculum was noted as being globally rather than nationally focused, creating both distinctive benefits but also a small number of gaps with the AC. However, the study found that gaps in the DP tended to be addressed in the enacted curriculum at the school level. With a few exceptions, the DP curriculum generally provided greater depth than local alternatives and supported the development of critical knowledge and skills. Lastly, most teachers believed that the DP is more rigorous and provides better preparation for university studies.

Research summary
Full report

Case studies of learner profile implementation and impact in the United States (2014)

Shelley H Billig, Linda Fredericks, Lyn Swackhamer and Emma Espel

RMC Research Corporation

This study examined the implementation and impact of the learner profile in different types of schools offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in the United States. Specifically, the study compared the ways in which the attributes influence curriculum, assessment, school policy, school culture and non-academic activities in three traditional public schools, an international school and a faith-based school. This mixed-methods study utilized in-depth case studies and included a combination of focus groups, interviews and surveys. Students and educators tended to interpret the attributes similarly, although teachers expressed greater familiarity with the learner profile than students. Administrators and teachers at all sites thought that having the learner profile as part of the Diploma Programme fostered positive results, particularly in helping students to develop critical thinking, expand knowledge of global issues and explore new ideas. With the exception of the attribute “open-minded”, there were few variations in implementation of the attributes across sites.

Research summary
Full report

International Baccalaureate learner profile: A comparative study of implementation, adaptation and outcomes in India, Australia and Hong Kong (2014)

Fazal Rizvi, Daniela Acquaro, John Quay, Richard Sallis, Glenn Savage and Nima Sobhani

The University of Melbourne

This study investigates how the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile (LP) has been implemented in the Diploma Programme (DP) across three sites with significantly different cultural traditions—India, Hong Kong and Australia. Using student and teacher surveys, qualitative interviews and focus groups as well as document analysis, the researchers examined how the LP, and its ten attributes, are interpreted and adapted to cultural contexts and contribute to outcomes in nine IB World Schools. The data collected for this study points to a wide variety of student and teacher perspectives on the LP. Students generally perceived the LP to be an important aspect of their studies, yet some expressed the view that the LP is not strongly embedded within the DP. Moreover, survey and interview findings suggest that a number of students were unfamiliar with the LP. On the whole, teachers were supportive of the LP but expressed uncertainty on how LP attributes should be scoped and implemented in subjects, particularly given the focus on content knowledge and examinations in the DP. The researchers recommend that teacher collaboration and professional development could improve the integration of the LP into the DP curriculum, and that it is critical for school leadership and the IB to encourage discussion of the LP within schools.

Research summary
Full report

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Examining college readiness (2014)

David Conley, PhD, Charis McGaughy, PhD, Whitney Davis-Molin, Rachel Farkas and Erin Fukuda

The Education Policy Improvement Center

This three-phase study explored the impact of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) on college readiness by examining the academic and non-academic preparation of DP graduates in the United States. The study examined both DP and non-DP graduates at the University of Oregon’s Honors College. Although analysis detected no differences in grade point averages between groups, former DP students were more likely to persist and to complete college. The qualitative data suggested that students who participated in the DP during high school were more academically adjusted to the rigour and expectations of college courses once they arrived on campus. DP graduates also highlighted a number of skills gained through participation in the DP that helped them in college, such as time management, critical thinking, problem-solving and research skills. On the whole, former DP students indicated they held the DP in high regard and would recommend it to their fellow students.

Research summary
Full report (also available on EPIC website)

Academic civic-mindedness and model citizenship in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (2014)

Anna Rosefsky Saavedra
The RAND Corporation

This study examines the development of students’ “academic civic-mindedness” and “model citizenship” in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) at four sample schools in California, USA. Research methods included teacher and student interviews and student surveys. According to all student and teacher interviews, the DP’s heavy pedagogical reliance on discussions, debates, oral presentations, written assignments and teamwork enables students to develop many of the skills necessary for civic engagement. The student survey results show that, compared with nationally representative samples of 12th grade students, the DP sample scored higher on 9 of 10 items that tested their knowledge of US government structure, functioning and history. The interview data suggest that the DP strongly promotes students’ knowledge of US public policy and understanding of effective advocacy techniques. With regard to student conceptions of model citizenship, survey responses indicate that they most strongly identify with a social justice citizen orientation.

Research Summary
Full Report

Theory of knowledge (TOK): Exploring learning outcomes, benefits and perceptions (2014)

Associate Professor David R Cole, Associate Professor Susanne Gannon, Dr Jacqueline Ullman and Mr Paul Rooney, University of Western Sydney

This mixed-methods study examined one of the central elements of the IB Diploma Programme (DP), the theory of knowledge (TOK) course, within the Australian context. Researchers from the University of Western Sydney investigated IB alumni and current DP student ratings of their critical-thinking abilities. The study also explored student perceptions of the role of TOK in supporting critical thinking, as well as TOK teacher ratings of their capacity to teach the TOK course. Quantitative findings revealed apparent gains in the use of critical-thinking skills between the two successive years of the DP. Further, second-year DP students reported a higher likelihood of using an array of critical-thinking skills. Overall, teachers reported high self-beliefs with regard to teaching TOK, with self-beliefs linked to their overall years of study as well as the number of years they had taught the course. Challenges identified by the study included student ambivalence about the value of TOK for real-world application and a lack of integration of TOK at the school level.

Research Summary

Full Report

A study of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in China: Impact on student preparation for university studies abroad (2014)

By Moosung Lee, Lynette Leung, Ewan Wright, Teng Yue, Adrian Gan, Lei Kong and Jun Li

This project aimed to investigate the impact of the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in China, with a focus on student preparation for university studies abroad. To achieve this, the research team from the University of Hong Kong undertook a mixed-method, four-phase study. The four phases explored the impact of the DP on student learning outcomes in terms of university entrance, preparation, and performance. Study findings suggested that graduates of IB World Schools in China attend the world’s top 500 universities, and that the United States is the primary university destination country. In rating various components of the Diploma Programme, the highest rating related to the DP’s overall ability to prepare students for university studies, while the core components received the lowest rating by DP graduates. Teachers and administrators were confident that the DP provided first-rate university preparation due to the rigor and breadth of the curriculum. Some school leaders, however, expressed concern that CAS was not seen as a priority by students in comparison to grades and Diploma Programme scores.

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International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Study of North and South American students' civic-mindedness (2013)

Shelley H. Billig, Ph.D. and Brandie M. Good
RMC Research Corporation

This study examined the extent to which participation in the CAS requirement helped students to develop civic-mindedness among samples of schools in Canada, the United States and South America. The study was conducted in two phases—a qualitative exploratory study and a quantitative investigative study. Interviews with CAS coordinators and focus groups with Diploma Programme students were employed during the exploratory phase, and two surveys—one for students and one for alumni—were conducted during phase two. Although many students did not have a clear understanding of civic- mindedness, most believed that they should engage in activities to help the community. The majority of students and alumni were motivated to serve for altruistic or affective reasons rather than for practical ones, such as improving one’s resume. While the majority of students agreed their service activities were meaningful, students reported a small impact of CAS on their civic-mindedness. Reflection activities were occasional and were more often low-depth rather than high-depth.

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Postsecondary educational attainment of IB Diploma Programme candidates from US high schools (2013)

IB Global Research Department

This study examines the patterns of college enrollment, destination, and completion of students who sought an IB Diploma and graduated from public and private high schools in the US in 2005. Data from two sources were used: the IB student data system (IBIS) and the National Student Clearinghouse’s (NSC) Student Tracker system. The NSC offers data on postsecondary student enrollment, graduation, and degree attainment across multiple institutions in the US. Findings show that, overall, 92% of the DP candidates enrolled in US postsecondary institutions between May 2005 and November 2011, and 77% enrolled directly from high school. The rate of first-year retention of DP students enrolled at 4-year institutions was 98%. Seventy four percent of the DP students graduated within four years. At each institution comprised in this sample, the graduation rate of DP candidates was consistently higher than the institutional rate.

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Research on the implementation of the Diploma Programme in Ecuador's state schools (2013)

NCREST, Columbia University

The purpose of this study is to examine the implementation and impact of the IB Diploma Programme in Ecuador with a focus on supports for IB state schools, changes in school practice, and student outcomes. The mixed methods research design used school visits, interviews, surveys, and student-level data analysis. Findings suggest the Government and the Ministry highly value the DP, but challenges presented by the current system of teacher assignment and compensation do exist. The pedagogy offered in DP was noticeably different from that in the non-DP classrooms. In general, DP students were offered well-organized, imaginative lessons with lots of student-teacher interaction. A large majority of surveyed state teachers reported changes in their own pedagogical practices due to their involvement with DP. Students in state school Diploma Programmes performed comparably to those in private schools on language exams in 2012—both in English and Spanish—and performed better than private schools on the English A/AB exam. In other subject area exams, private schools generally performed better. However, students are gaining from participating in the DP in a variety of important ways including reported university performance, communication skills, critical thinking, maturity, and self-confidence.

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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Mexico as preparation for higher education (2013)

Rand Corporation

This project examines the relationship between Mexican students’ enrollment in the Diploma Programme (DP) and their college preparedness at four Mexican case study schools. This mixed-methods case study uses interviews, focus groups, and analysis of school data to describe: 1) Mexican IB DP students, 2) the relationship between Mexican DP students’ performance and postsecondary admissions, and 3) specific aspects of the DP that prepare Mexican IB students for postsecondary education. Across the four schools, academically stronger students choose to enroll in the DP. This decision seems to stem from students’ lack of satisfaction with other options and from their desire to take on a new challenge. Administrative data show that DP students enroll in the top ranking university-major combinations in Mexico. Researchers found significant correlations between performance in the DP (total score) and earning a university scholarship. Sample IB students, teachers and administrators believe that the DP prepares students for the challenge of college course work. However, they do not think that enrollment or performance in the DP gives IB students an admissions advantage to Mexican universities.

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Student perceptions of the value of the International Baccalaureate extended essay in preparing them for university studies (2013)

University of Warwick (UK)

The overall aim of this project was to explore the learning benefits and outcomes attributable to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme’s (DP) extended essay (EE) in terms of knowledge, skills, abilities, engagement, and other aspects that might prepare students for university studies. This qualitative study from the University of Warwick (UK) analyzes data from semi-structured interviews with 43 students (24 former DP and 19 former A-levels) and 14 tutors at two UK universities. Themes of analysis centred around overall reactions, learning experiences, criticisms, and impact of the students’ EE and A-levels experiences. The findings of this project suggest that most of the aims of the EE had been met, that former DP students had enjoyed and valued their EE experience, and that it had taught them a lot, especially in terms of being critical and independent. They were also more positive about their pre-university education than the former A-level students. However, the majority of the former IB students in this study indicated there were few opportunities at their universities to use the skills they had developed through doing their EE.

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Exploring the learning benefits and outcomes of the IB extended essay in preparing students for university studies in Canada (Phase 1 and Phase 2)

Mark W. Aulls and David Lemay and Mark W. Aulls and Sandra Peláez

This two-phase, mixed methods research study explored the impact of the Diploma Programme (DP) extended essay (EE) experience on student success at university. The first phase of the research project examined the relationship between IB EE experiences and undergraduates’ epistemic beliefs, approaches to learning, values of the importance of inquiry demands and inquiry self-efficacy in comparison with non-IB schooled undergraduates. The second phase explored the learning benefits of the DP extended essay and the extent to which the EE helped DP graduates during their freshman year of university study. In Phase 1, former IB students indicated higher ratings of inquiry learning that represent self-regulation of the inquiry process; additionally, on average, IB students were less likely to view learning primarily as memorization. In Phase 2, IB students reported that most of the knowledge learned through EE participation helped them to successfully cope with university academic demands. However, the results also show that first year students experienced research primarily through reading it, writing about it and occasionally discussing it, but rarely through actually doing it as part of their coursework.

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Phase 1
Phase 2

Exploring the benefits of the International Baccalaureate extended essay for university studies at the University of Virginia (2013)

Center for Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, University of Virginia (UVA)

This mixed methods study, conducted at the University of Virginia (UVA), USA, uses student records, surveys and semi-structured interviews to better understand the research experience of former International Baccalaureate (IB) students, describe student perceptions of the value of the extended essay (EE) experience and determine if any correlations exist between EE grades and university academic success. For the survey, former IB students (n=1,045) and a comparison sample of former Advanced Placement (AP) students (n=1,046) were selected for participation. The total number of respondents was 953. Respondents generally felt academically prepared for college-level courses. Former IB students felt strongly that their EE experience prepared them to conduct the various facets of the research process. When compared with former AP students, IB students were significantly more likely to indicate that they: felt prepared for college-level coursework involving research; had executed a research project at UVA; were proud of their research; intended to conduct future research; and found their research skills to be important to future success. The 21 focus group and individual interviewees indicated specific skills that were augmented by completing the EE project. Finally, findings showed a statistically significant relationship between EE score and college grade point averages (GPAs), after controlling for background characteristics.

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An investigation of postsecondary patterns and pathways of IB graduates in the Australian tertiary education sector (2012)

Daniel Edwards and Catherine Underwood, ACER

 

This study aims to investigate the enrolment, progression, achievement, and postsecondary patterns of IB Diploma Programme students at two Australian universities. There are two data collections for this project. The first is a longitudinal analysis, tracking 154 students through their application, enrolment and progression through university. The second is a snapshot analysis of 2007 and 2010 data on applications and graduations in the student population aimed at giving us an idea of the characteristics of the applicant pool and the post-tertiary pathways of the graduates. Findings from the study suggest that IB DP graduates progress through university studies at higher rates than non-IB cohorts and that IB DP graduates are more likely than non-IB DP graduates to complete their degree within five years. From 2006/07 to 2010/11, IB applicants to the universities increased by an average of 67%, and these applicants were more likely to be offered admission by the universities. At the one university which had comparative data for a non-IB group, analysis indicates that: after controlling for student characteristics, the two groups had similar GPAs; IB scores converted to ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) had higher correlations to GPAs than non-IB group scores; and both groups had similar rates of continuing on to further study, but IB students had slightly higher rates of full- or part-time employment.

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Working to my potential: Experience of CPS students in the IB Diploma Programme (2012) 

Consortium for Chicago School Research, University of Chicago

 

In the 1990s Chicago Public Schools (CPS) implemented International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programmes (DP) in 12 neighbourhood high schools throughout the city serving predominantly low income, racial/ethnic minority students with little to no history of college-going. As part of the multi-year Chicago Postsecondary Transition project, this study examines the impact of Chicago’s IB programmes on the postsecondary outcomes and experiences of CPS graduates. Quantitative analysis was used to examine whether DP students are more likely to enroll in four-year colleges, enroll in more selective four-year colleges and persist for at least two years in a four-year college than students not enrolled in the DP but with similar characteristics. Qualitative analysis of student interview data was used to better understand the DP students’ experiences in college, self-reports of their capability to succeed in college-level coursework and their broader challenges during their transition to college.  The sample used for the post-secondary analysis included 18,075 CPS graduates from 122 CPS high schools between 2003 and 2007.Included in this sample were 1,888 DP students and 2,589 students who started the “pre-IB” cohort in the 9th grade but did not continue into DP in the 11th grade. Data for the qualitative analysis focused on a sub-sample of 25 students in the DP, selected to reflect the racial/ethnic diversity of IB students across the city. Findings indicate that students who are in the DP are more likely to enroll in college, more likely to enroll in a more selective college and more likely to stay enrolled, compared to matched non-IB students. When controlling for college characteristics, analysis suggests that IB students are both going to better colleges at higher rates and performing better once there. Overall, the DP students interviewed generally felt that they were academically well-prepared to engage and succeed in college coursework, and described strong analytical writing and math preparation, motivation, work habits, organization and time management as strengths. This research suggests DP students in CPS experience stronger, more demanding and more supportive learning environments than similar students in honours programmes or selective enrollment high schools.

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International Baccalaureate students studying at UK higher education institutions: How do they fare? (2011)

Analytical Services Team, Higher Education Statistics Agency, UK

 

This report sources data from the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) on students studying at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK. The report identifies characteristics and trends of IB students compared with students holding the more traditional A level and similar qualifications. Data has been restricted to full-time first degree students attending, qualifying or leaving HEIs in the UK in the academic year 2008/09 with some comparisons with 2007/08. The report provides an overview of IB student characteristics and analysis of enrolment patterns at the ‘top’ HEIs, chosen fields of study, achievement and non-continuation rates, as well as activities approximately six months after leaving HEIs. Findings indicate that IB entrants were more likely to be enrolled at a top 20 HEI, and 91% of IB entrants holding 44-45 exam points attended a top 20 HEI. IB students were, in most subject areas, also more likely to achieve first class honours and to leave with an award. After university, IB students were more likely to go onto further study, and more likely to be employed in graduate level jobs and in higher paid occupations.

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Postsecondary enrollment patterns of IB Certificate and Diploma Candidates from US high schools (2011)

Kyra Caspary, Center for Education Policy, SRI International

To better understand the postsecondary destinations and outcomes of IB students, this study combines data from multiple sources including the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education, and International Baccalaureate. It tracks enrollment and graduation rates from U.S. postsecondary institutions for two cohorts of IB students who completed high school in the United States in 2000 and 2001. The majority of these students enrolled full time directly in a 4-year institution (67.1%) rather than a 2-year college (3.8%), and 64.4% enrolled directly into institutions classified as somewhat selective or more selective. Diploma candidates were more likely than certificate candidates to attend more selective institutions. At institutions with high IB enrollments, graduation rates for IB students were generally higher than the institutional average. Overall, 81% of IB students graduated within 6 years of enrolling full-time at a 4-year institution, compared to the national average of 57%.

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Postsecondary enrollment patterns of IB Certificate and Diploma Candidates from international high schools (2011)

Kyra Caspary, Center for Education Policy, SRI International

To better understand the postsecondary destinations and outcomes of IB students, this study combines data from multiple sources including the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education and International Baccalaureate. It tracks the enrollment and graduation rates of two cohorts of IB students who attended IB World Schools outside of the United States in 2001 and 2002, and went on to study at postsecondary institutions in the U.S. Overall this was a very high achieving group, taking an average of 5.2 exams, and with 60% scoring a 6 or higher on at least 3 exams. 84% of students who came to study in the U.S. enrolled full-time directly in a 4-year institution, and 68% of these enrolled in a more selective institution. The top four destinations were University of Pennsylvania, Colby College, Harvard, and NYU. Of students that enrolled full-time at a 4-year college, 69% graduated within 4 years, and 84% within 6 years. These percentages were even higher for Diploma holders.

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First college courses taken by Florida IB students (2011)

Kyra Caspary & Jennifer Bland, Center for Education Policy, SRI International

 

To examine the relationship between performance on IB exams and college course performance in the same subjects, this study used data for 4,845 IB students from Florida who graduated from high school between 2000 and 2005 and entered the University of Florida the next fall. Florida was chosen because of the state's heavy participation in IB programmes and comprehensive data collection efforts. This analysis focused on seven subjects: physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, English, Spanish, and French. Analyses reveal a positive association between students’ scores on a given IB subject exam and students’ grades in their first college courses in that subject.  Overall, 59% of students who scored a 6 or 7 on an IB exam in a given subject earned an A in their first college course in that subject compared to 39% who scored a 4 or 5, and 22% who scored below a 4. In the 3 sciences and Spanish, the highest-frequency first course was the same for students who took HL or SL exams; in mathematics, English and French, the highest-frequency first course differed by IB exam level. In general, the first college course taken varied more by exam performance than by level of exam taken, with higher scoring students taking more advanced classes.

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Academic performance of IB students entering the University of California system from 2000-2002 (2010)

International Baccalaureate Global Policy and Research (based on data provided by the University of California President's Office )

This report documents the college performance of 1,547 U.S. high school students who participated in the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme and subsequently enrolled in the University of California (UC) system between 2000 and 2002. Performance of IB students is compared to the UC population at large, as well as a comparison group of 5,253 non-IB students matched on year of enrollment, race/ethnicity, family income (within a range of +/- $10,000), and high school academic performance (formula using high school GPA and highest SAT or ACT score). Descriptive analyses indicate that students participating in the IB earned higher grade point averages and graduated at higher rates than comparison group students as well as students in the University of California system overall. This trend was observed across all income groups. In addition, regression analyses, controlling for socio-economic status, high school GPA, and SAT/ACT scores, demonstrated a positive relationship between indicators of high school IB participation and performance and college performance. Performance in the Diploma Programme was the best predictor of college performance, accounting for around 25% of the variance (depending on the specific model). Among subject group exams, scores on the experimental sciences IB exams were the best predictors of college GPA, explaining around 17% of the variance. The data show that IB students in the UC system tend to perform better than a matched comparison group and students overall, and that performance in the IB programme in high school significantly predicts achievement in college.

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To 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

High school student engagement among IB and non-IB students in the United States: A comparison study (2010)

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.

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International Baccalaureate standards development and alignment project (2009) 

David Conley & Terri Ward, Educational Policy Improvement Center, University of Oregon

This study, which analyzes the alignment of the IB Diploma Programme standards and the Knowledge and Skills for University Success (KSUS) college-ready standards, found IB standards to be highly aligned with the KSUS standards. In particular, the key cognitive strategies emphasized in the Diploma—critical thinking skills, intellectual inquisitiveness and interpretation—were found to be fully aligned with the expectations of university faculty. The study also confirmed that IB Diploma Programme standards demonstrate a very high degree of alignment with the KSUS standards in all subject areas. In math, complete alignment was found between the IB Diploma’s mathematical studies and the KSUS’ algebra, trigonometry and statistics standards. In science, the 47 IB chemistry standards, 19 biology standards and the concepts of environmental science embedded in all three IB science courses aligned completely with KSUS.

Research summary (also available on EPIC website)

Case studies of participation and performance in the IB Diploma Programme (2009)

Jennifer A. Bland & Katrina R. Woodworth, SRI

This report analyzes the experience of two U.S. schools that have been particularly successful in recruiting low-income and minority students to the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and in ensuring their success. It discusses the DP’s history, structure, and availability at each school; students’ preparation, recruitment, selection, enrollment, persistence, and achievement in each case; and school-level, district, and state supports that appear to facilitate successful outcomes for DP students. Recommendations stemming from these case studies include structuring IB programmes as magnets that target underrepresented groups in diverse school districts, aligning schools’ 9th and 10th grade curriculum with the IB to provide early preparation for the DP, developing recruitment strategies that specifically target underrepresented applicants, evaluating schools’ capacity to adequately support struggling students if they decide to expand access, carefully monitoring students’ progress, and ensuring adequate district-level support. Efforts should also be made to share best practices among district leaders and to continue to advocate in favor of state-wide policies that foster broader IB participation.

Concise research summary

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 Middle Years Programmes (MYP) and 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

The 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

Perceptions of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme among Australian and New Zealand universities (2007) 

Hamish Coates, Chris Rosicka & Marita MacMahon-Ball, Australian Council for Educational Research

The IB commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research to undertake a study of University perceptions of the IB. Administrators from 40 Australian and 7 New Zealand universities were surveyed, with a response rate of 24.7%. The survey was followed by in-depth telephone interviews with select respondents. Asked to rate aspects of the IB on a scale of very low to very high (assigned values of 1 to 5), creativity, action, service (CAS) and theory of knowledge (TOK) had an average response of 3.3., the extended essay an average of 3.6, the two- year span of the course of study 3.4, the broad curriculum with six subject areas 3.9, the range of assessment strategies 3.9, and studying at least three subjects in depth 4.0. More than three-fourths of the 159 respondents felt the IB Diploma prepared students well for university while the remaining 23% responded that they did not know enough about the programme to be sure. Of 107 comments in response to an open ended question asking whether the IB prepared students in advantageous ways for success at university, 70% responded positively. Most of the advantages described could be categorized broadly as indicating that participating in the IB enhanced students’ academic competence and capability. In-depth interviews indicated that IB graduates were seen as academically independent and mature. A reccurring theme in interviews was recognition of the fact that an IB education is good preparation for an internationalized university experience. Interviews also indicated strong support for the extended essay and the TOK course. There was some perception that the IB is “elitist” and correspondingly, that academically capable students self-selected into the IB programme and therefore that benefits of the programme could not be separated from attributes of the students.

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School-university transition project (2007)

IB Research Unit at the University of Bath (the IB Research Unit at Bath was closed in 2008)

From 2003-2005, the IB Research Unit at the University of Bath attempted to ascertain how academic performance in the IB Diploma Programme relates to university performance and whether university students with IB degrees display the values associated with international-mindedness. Results showed there was little difference in dropout rates between IB diploma holders and non-IB students but that IB students were less likely to drop out for academic reasons and were more likely to transfer than to drop out completely. In the IB Latin America region, IB graduates received better university grades and a positive correlation was found between IB grades and university grades. Students surveyed felt academically prepared for university studies; however, while they felt creativity, action, service (CAS) prepared them to develop an appreciation for community service, they did not feel it prepared them in terms of the arts or sports. In comparing IB students from IB World Schools to non-IB students (most of whom were also from IB World Schools) in terms of their international values, only in questions related to “challenge” (prepared to change their opinion when challenged, prepared to challenge others views, prepared to compromise their own views) did IB students rate themselves significantly higher than non-IB students.

Summary report

Perceptions of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: A report of an inquiry carried out in 2003 at UK universities and institutions of higher education (2003)

Colin Jenkins (formerly Deputy Director General IBO, Principal of United World College of the Atlantic, Head of College United World College of South East Asia Singapore)

In 2003, Colin Jenkins carried out a study surveying UK institutions of higher education. Surveys were completed by 122 respondents from 71 universities, and in-depth follow-up interviews were conducted with 34 respondents from 20 of these universities. 96% of respondents appreciated broad curricula and liked this aspect of the IB, 91% approved of theory of knowledge (TOK), and 70% approved of creativity, action, service (CAS). 57% of respondents believed that participation in the IB Diploma Programme give incoming students an advantage and 40% felt it conferred neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. When asked to compare IB to A-Levels in the areas of critical thinking, communication, self management, and motivation a majority of the 78 respondents who answered the question rated the IB Diploma Programme higher than A-Levels in these areas.

Executive summary
Report