MYP studies

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) implementation in the United Arab Emirates (2017)

Howard Stevenson, Saeeda Shah, Lucy Bailey, Lucy Cooker, Emily Winchip and Maamon Karak

School of Education, University of Nottingham

This study focused on school experiences of providing the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in the context of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The intention of the study was to generate an overall picture of the value schools, students and parents place on the MYP in the UAE. The research was undertaken in seven schools offering the MYP: five schools in Dubai and two schools in Abu Dhabi. At each school, researchers conducted individual or group interviews with school leaders, teachers, students and parents. Some of the main benefits of the MYP that participants highlighted included the flexibility of the programme, its adaptability to the local context and its focus on international-mindedness. One of the main challenges that the study identified was integrating two curriculums and sets of requirements simultaneously while also attempting to foster a unified school culture.

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Implementation and outcomes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Spanish schools (2017)

Javier M Valle, Maripé Menéndez, Jesús Manso, Rocío Garrido and Bianca Thoilliez, Autónoma University of Madrid

With a growing number of Spanish schools undertaking the MYP authorization process, and increasing interest in the MYP within the state system, this study was undertaken to investigate the implementation and impact of the MYP in eight Spanish private schools. The study included a comparison between the Spanish curriculum and the MYP that acknowledged areas of difference but also identified benefits of integrating the two programmes. The benefits include introducing concept-based learning, the learner profile and a more comprehensive assessment system. Overall, the implementation of the MYP is perceived to support a range of changes.

Implementation of the MYP required significant changes to the school environment, teaching and learning, as well as to aspects of organizational management, all of which facilitated school transformation. Moreover, due to the implementation changes, specific programme outcomes were reported by participants, including the development of competences such as research skills and critical thinking. The main challenges in implementation of the MYP are around the open content in the MYP curriculum framework, balancing two programmes, and workload concerns.

Research Summary PDF

Middle Years Programme (MYP) implementation in Turkey (2016)

Armağan Ateşkan, Öykü Dulun and Jennie Farber Lane

Graduate School of Education, Bilkent University

The purpose of this study was to investigate the implementation and outcomes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Turkish schools. The study involved an analysis of the MYP implementation process and the alignment of programme materials from the Turkish Ministry of National Education Program (MoNEP) and the IB. Researchers employed an embedded multiple case-study approach to conduct an in-depth analysis of three schools that have been implementing the MYP for at least two years. Study respondents described their MYP students as reflective and inquirers who also have very good communication, research and organization skills. Even for experienced teachers, participants reported that the MYP helped them to hone their skills and incorporate new, creative strategies into their practice. Results from a national examination indicated that, on average, 42% of the grade 8 MYP students were among the top 4% ranked students in Turkey, suggesting that the MYP is supporting student academic achievement. Lastly, although MoNEP is more content based than the MYP, the document analysis found many areas of alignment between the two programmes that facilitate integration.

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A comparison of MYP and non-MYP students’ participation and performance in high school (2015)

Julie H Wade and Natalie L Wolanin

This study examined the impact of participation in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) on high school course enrollment and student achievement. The study used data collected in a large, socio-economically diverse school district in the United States. The samples of MYP and non-MYP students were matched on student demographic variables (such as gender, race/ethnicity, family income and English proficiency), using propensity score matching to control for selection bias into the programme. The researchers used logistic regression analyses to examine the effect of MYP enrollment on outcomes of interest. Findings indicated that students previously enrolled in the MYP were 34% more likely to take at least one Advance Placement or IB Diploma Programme (DP) exam in high school. Moreover, MYP enrollment significantly increased the likelihood of achieving at least one “college-ready” score on a college preparatory exam (by 39%). Former MYP and non-MYP students took on average a similar number of DP courses. For students who took at least one DP exam, former MYP students earned more scores of 4 or higher, compared with their non-MYP counterparts.

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP): Comparing IB Diploma Programme outcomes of students who complete the MYP and other middle years courses of study (2015)

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

This study investigated the impact and influence of middle years curriculums on student outcomes in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) comparing students from 22 schools across China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Japan. The researchers compared DP outcomes achieved by students who completed their middle years studies in the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), a state or national curriculum, or another international programme.

Researchers examined total DP scores and results in the core requirements and also compared the thoughts and perspectives of IB students and teachers regarding the extent to which completing the MYP or other middle years curriculums contributes to student outcomes in the DP.

MYP students performed significantly better than non-MYP students in both overall diploma points and in courses in language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies and mathematics. While MYP students performed significantly better in theory of knowledge (TOK), differences between the two cohorts were not statistically significant for the extended essay.

Overall, MYP students reported using higher-order thinking skills, such as critical thinking and analytical skills, more frequently than non-MYP students and also displayed strong writing and English language skills. The MYP cohort, however, appeared to have less content knowledge in mathematics and the sciences as well as less experience with high stakes assessments.

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Comparative analysis of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) in the context of the Indian education system (2016)

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

The International Baccalaureate (IB) commissioned the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) to undertake a comparative analysis of two of its programmes—the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP)—within the context of the Indian education system. The purpose of this study was to compare the underpinning philosophies, aims and principles of the IB and Indian education systems. The researchers conducted a desk-based document analysis, using Indian and IB-published curriculum guides, syllabuses and assessment framework documents. Overall, the findings from the three analyses undertaken by the researchers demonstrate clear similarities between the PYP and MYP and the Indian education system. Moreover, there are many shared principles and aims, as well as framework compatibility, that should enable IB World Schools in India to deliver the PYP and MYP in a way that is well-matched with the aims, values and curriculum requirements of the Indian National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and central education boards.

Research Summary PDF
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A study of critical thinking skills in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (2016)

Julie Wade, Natalie Wolanin and Trisha McGaughey

This study examined the extent to which critical thinking skills are emphasized in teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP). The study was conducted within a large, socio-economically diverse district in the United States. Researchers employed student and teacher surveys as well as classroom observations to investigate students’ critical thinking skills and teachers’ use of strategies that aim to foster critical thinking. Researchers found that high percentages of students and teachers from both MYP and non-MYP schools reported the use of many critical thinking skills and classroom strategies to develop critical thinking. Comparisons of MYP students’ survey responses with those of non-MYP students showed similar levels of critical thinking skill use and goal setting behaviors with no significant differences. Likewise, most comparisons of MYP and non-MYP teachers’ survey responses showed no significant differences between the two groups. MYP classroom observations revealed a number of techniques that can foster critical thinking among students.

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

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

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

Research summary PDF
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Implementation practices and student outcomes associated with the learner profile attribute “open-minded” (2014)

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

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

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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 

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

National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)-UK

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

Research Summary PDF
Full Report PDF

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

Julie H. Wade and Natalie L. Wolanin

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

Research Summary PDF
Report - Phase 1 PDF
Report - Phase 2 PDF
Report - Phase 3 PDF

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

Ling Tan & Yan Bibby, Australian Council for Educational Research

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

Research Summary PDF
Full Report PDF

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

Julie Wade

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

Research Summary PDF
Full Report PDF

Evaluation of International Baccalaureate programmes in Texas schools (2010)

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

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

Research Summary PDF

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

Ling Tan & Yan Bibby, Australian Council for Educational Research

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

Research Summary PDF

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 (2009)

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

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

Info sheet PDF
Research summary PDF

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

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

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

Concise research summary PDF
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 PDF
Link to report on the NYU website