Developing academic persistence in the Diploma Programme (2016)

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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.

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