Ursula Aldana, Anysia Mayer and Jongyeon Ee
This study examined the high school and post-secondary experiences of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students in Californian public schools serving students from predominantly low-income households. Researchers employed a mixed-methods case study approach focusing on three large high schools in California with a substantial proportion of low-income students. The study included surveys and interviews with DP students, quantitative analysis of data from former IB and non-IB students in the University of California (UC) system, and interviews with DP alumni enrolled in higher education. The findings from the study indicate that DP students experience more rigorous classes, are more motivated, and are more engaged than their non-IB peers. Data from the UC system showed positive and significant effects of IB participation on college retention rates and five- and six-year graduation rates. Lastly, DP alumni reported that the DP helped prepare them for the challenge of college coursework, particularly in the areas of writing, critical thinking, study skills and time management.