Decoding the IB Teacher Professional: A Comparative Study of Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States

Over the last decade, the number of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs adopted by schools around the world has increased dramatically in response to burgeoning demand for both an internationally oriented education and an internationally validated pathway to higher education institutions (Lee & Walker, 2018). Despite the growth (and by implication, popularity) of IB schools in recent years, empirical studies exploring the characteristics and practices of IB teachers are still scarce. The dearth of empirical research on professional characteristics and pedagogical practices of IB teachers warrants further investigations about who IB teachers are, what common (or distinctive) traits they have, how they enact their professional practices, how they perceive their professional capacity, and whether they are satisfied with their profession and organizational support. To fill this gap in the existing research literature, this project aims to document and detail IB teachers’ characteristics and practices in eight countries/jurisdictions – Australia, Canada-Alberta, China-Shanghai, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, South Korea, Turkey, and the U.S.-California. Funded by the IBO, this project examines IB teachers’ professional characteristics and pedagogical practices that they demonstrate in their everyday context.

The research team focuses on comparing IB teachers with the TALIS samples in each jurisdiction/country. We use the TALIS 2018 teacher survey questionnaire, which has been widely validated (Ainley & Carstens, 2018), in order to compare IB teachers with TALIS teachers. Based on the gathered data from the 297 IB schools, we scrutinize psychometric properties by investigating the soundness of factor structure (confirmatory factor analysis), reliability of factors (i.e., latent constructs), and construct validity (i.e., convergent and discriminant validity) in order to validate the adopted survey questionnaire from TALIS 2018. After the validation study of key constructs, we conduct latent mean analysis (Aiken, Stein, & Bentler, 1994) in order to examine patterns and levels of certain constructs across sub-groups of the sample IB teachers (Aiken et al., 1994; Cole, Maxwell, Arvey, & Salsa, 1993; Hancock, 1997). Next, we conduct the multi-level, multi-group SEM through which we test the hypothetical model(s), developed from our systematic literature review.By doing so, we aim to provide better understandings of the structural relationships among professional characteristics and pedagogical practices and whether there are commonalities or differences in those relationships between IB and non-IB teachers in each jurisdiction and across the eight jurisdictions. Key findings from the analysis of cross-national data will be presented at AARE and implications for research and practices will be discussed.