IB Primary Students in Australia Demonstrate Science Literacy Above and Beyond National Achievement Scores

Released: 20-Mar-2014 1:15 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: International Baccalaureate
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Newswise — The International Baccalaureate (IB) released new research findings today that illuminate the excellence of its Primary Years Programme (PYP) for children 3-12 years old. Conducted by a research team at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, this new study suggests that, compared to a nationwide sample of students, Australian PYP students achieve particularly well in science literacy based on Australia’s national assessment program.

“Primary education standards are high in Australia,” acknowledges Ian Chambers, IB Director for Asia Pacific, “yet the PYP demonstrates its transformational power on both student performance and teaching and learning. The PYP provides a strong foundation, nurtures curiosity and prepares students for their educational journey and the challenges of life.”
The researchers administered Australia's 2012 National Assessment Program (NAP) in Science Literacy (SL) to Year 6 students in 10 schools that have delivered the PYP for at least three years. (The assessment is normally conducted triennially with a randomly selected national sample of students.) The testing instrument included both an ‘objective test’ component and a ‘practical task’ component. In results that combined assessments of both components, fully 83.3% of PYP students tested at or above the suggested science proficiency level for Year 6. Nationally, only 51.4% of children were at or above the suggested proficiency level for Year 6, with 48.6% of students falling below the suggested proficiency level. In addition, 23.6% of PYP students performed at levels characterized as ‘exemplary’. This compared with 9.3% of the national sample performing at the ‘exemplary’ level.

In addition to performing well on Australia’s NAP-SL test as a group, PYP students demonstrated science literacy that met or exceeded national proficiency levels by gender. PYP girls achieved a mean achievement score 56 points higher than the national mean score for girls. Most PYP girls--79%--performed at or above their anticipated science proficiency level for Year 6, compared to 51% of girls in the national sample who performed at or above the anticipated proficiency level. Meanwhile, boys achieved mean achievement scores nearly 70 points higher than the national mean score for boys. While 80% of PYP boys achieved results at or above their anticipated proficiency level, only 52% of boys in the national sample did so. Both PYP boys and girls performed above their expected proficiency levels in higher proportions than those in the national sample.

“PYP places a strong focus on inquiry-based learning,” says Helen Barrett, head of PYP programme development. “The PYP is developed collaboratively between specialist and generalist teachers, with a transdisciplinary approach to inquiry. When the programme concludes [at approximately age 12], rather than being tested, students demonstrate their ability to identify, investigate, and offer solutions to real-life problems through a collaborative Exhibition project.”

Find a research summary of this study online: www.ibo.org/research/policy/programmevalidation/pyp/documents/NAP-SLEngweb.pdf
Download the full research study:
www.ibo.org/research/policy/programmevalidation/pyp/documents/IBNAPSL_Report_Final.pdf


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