Year: 2017

Author: Lee, Moosung, Spinks, John, Wright, John, Dean, Jenny, Shrimpton, Brad

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the last decade, the number of schools adopting the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) around the world has increased dramatically in response to burgeoning demand for an internationally oriented education and an internationally validated path to higher education institutions (Lee et al., 2014). However, despite the growth of IBDP schools, empirical studies exploring the impact of the IBDP on the learning outcomes in higher education settings are scarce and little is known about the post-secondary outcomes of IBDP alumni studying at leading universities around the world. This research gap is important, given that annually, many IBDP students send transcripts to the world's leading universities (IB, 2014; Lee et al., 2014).

Within this context, we have investigated the following questions.
? What is the longitudinal relationship between the IBDP exam scores of IBDP alumni and their post-secondary academic performance?
? What is the change in GPA of IBDP alumni in comparison to a matched sample of non-IB alumni over time?
? Are there any significantly differences in non-academic outcomes (e.g., intercultural understanding) between IBDP alumni and the matched sample of non-IB alumni?

Consistent with our research goal, we chose three leading universities in East Asia and Australia meeting the following criteria: 1) academically reputable universities (i.e., top 100 universities commonly ranked by world ranking tables), 2) substantial number of IB graduates' enrollment, and 3) universities located in Asia Pacific.

We conducted a sequential, explanatory mixed-method study. To document IBDP alumni academic performance, we explored university-based longitudinal data. To investigate non-academic outcomes (e.g., critical thinking skills, intercultural understanding), we collected 800+ surveys. Finally, we interviewed IBDP alumni regarding the contribution of the IBDP to their post-secondary studies.

Our preliminary findings include:
- The IBDP score was a strong predictor of GPA of the first semester during their university studies.
- There was no significant difference in the change of GPA between IB graduates and non-IB counterparts over time, even though IB graduates' GPA growth rate was slightly faster.
- Of the 10 domains covering non-academic outcomes (e.g., critical thinking, creativity, leadership, intercultural understanding), the two student groups showed significant differences in intercultural understanding, time management, and global-mindedness with IB graduates' ratings significantly higher than their peers.
- IB graduates' perceptions about their IBDP were much more positive than non-IB graduates' perceptions about their secondary education curriculum.

In our presentation we will discuss implications of the findings for research and practice.