DP and CP students have excellent higher education outcomes


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Research shows that Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) students have excellent higher education outcomes compared to national benchmarks in multiple countries. DP and CP students are more likely to enrol in a higher education institution, persevere with their studies, and graduate.

Studies from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom examine the pathways of IB graduates and non-IB graduates from high school to higher education institutions (HEI) and beyond. Here are some of the key findings from IB research.

  • IB students studying at HEI in the UK have greater odds of achieving positive higher education outcomes than their A level peers, according to a study comparing student performance. Students with an IB diploma were three times more likely than matched A level students to enrol in a top 20 HEI in 2013-2019.

  • DP students enrol, persist and graduate at higher rates than the national average in a study about postsecondary outcomes of DP graduates in the United States. Eighty-two percent of DP graduates in the US enrolled in a HEI immediately after graduating from high school, compared to 66% of all US high school graduates in 2013.

  • DP students in a study on Chicago Public Schools (CPS)—serving predominantly low-income, minority students—are more likely to attend and persist in four-year colleges, and more likely to choose a more selective college, compared to non-IB students. DP students graduating between 2003-2007 were more likely (77.2%) to attend a four-year college compared to their non-IB peers (53.3%).

“The DP in Chicago Public Schools appears to be meeting the challenge of providing a rigorous and highly demanding academic programme for students. On average, although they enter high school with somewhat lower elementary school grades and test scores, DP students graduate from high school with skills and qualifications that resemble those of students in Chicago’s highly-regarded selective enrollment and magnet high schools.”—Consortium on Chicago School Research

  • DP students have more favorable university outcomes than French Immersion graduates and graduates with standard high school diplomas in Toronto (the Ontario Secondary School Diploma) and Vancouver (the Dogwood Diploma) in a study about Canadian university outcomes. DP graduates were more likely to enrol in a science programme (60%) compared to non-IB graduates (22%) in 2018.

  • CP graduates enrol, persist and choose a four-year over two-year college at higher rates compared to the US national average in a study about US higher education outcomes. CP students immediately enrolled in four-year institutions at higher rates (59.6%) than US secondary school graduates in 2014 (43.7%).

  • A study on employability skills in the DP and CP curricula shows that several key competencies for future employability are well integrated into the DP and CP, including:
    • communication
    • ethics
    • mindfulness
    • critical thinking. 

Integrating the development of employability skills into traditional classroom subjects is an important step in developing 21st century competencies.