Educator David Conley and EPIC Research Team Find IB Diploma Programme Students Better Prepared for University

Research examines college readiness of Diploma Programme alumni

Released: 9-Jul-2014 8:45 AM EDT
Embargo expired: 9-Jul-2014 8:50 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: International Baccalaureate
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Newswise — A new research study conducted by Dr. David Conley and a team of researchers from the Education Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) compared two groups of university students—International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme alumni and non-Diploma Programme alumni—to examine the extent of their academic, social and emotional preparation for college as they transitioned from high school. The findings suggest that IB Diploma Programme students are better able to cope with demanding workloads, better able to manage their time and better able to meet expectations placed on them. Statistically, more Diploma Programme students persisted through college than students in the non-IB group (98% vs. 91%, respectively).

Dr. Conley, a widely recognized expert on college readiness, author and professor at University of Oregon, along with the EPIC research team, found that Diploma Programme (DP) students managed their learning more independently and used risk and experimentation strategies to overcome challenges. As a group, the DP students reported deeper understanding of the structure of knowledge and large concepts and how content crosses over and connects disciplines. These common responses indicate that the DP students develop an appreciation for learning and skill in higher-order thinking that supports them as university students.

Adjusting to college
When they reported their early experiences at university, all the Diploma Programme (DP) students agreed that they were academically adjusted “the moment they stepped on campus”. They indicated that they were not intimidated by the heavy workload required of them in college honors courses. The Diploma Programme, they cited, taught them how to balance coursework and manage their time. Because the DP students had experience with a final exam accounting for a large part of their course grade, they were not surprised by the similar grading structure at college. The non-DP group, however, reported mixed attitudes and more pronounced academic adjustments required of them: they were less able to manage their time or study for culminating exams.

When asked to rate the most valuable and challenging elements of their secondary education in relation to their preparation for college, Diploma Programme students identified the following:
• Extended Essay: This project was identified for teaching skills such as finding relevant sources, determining the credibility of sources, organizing information, producing a coherent long-form paper and citing sources, skills found to be very useful in college, and which left DP students feeling more prepared to conduct research than many of their classmates.
• Language A: DP respondents cited their literature courses as helpful in preparing them to write quality essays, handle heavy reading loads, use academic sources and gain a level of comfort while presenting material in class.
More than half of the DP respondents rated the entire Diploma Programme as ‘most valuable’ and ‘challenging’.

When the EPIC team examined the value students placed on their experience in an accelerated learning community, 16 of the 18 DP student respondents recommended the Diploma Programme for other students. They called the DP “worthwhile” and expressed pride and a sense of accomplishment from completing challenging work. Their non-DP peers in the study, mostly AP students, recommended their course of study with a caveat: only if students wanted to take tests to receive college credit.

Find this and other research studies about the Diploma Programme on www.ibo.org/research/policy/programmevalidation/diploma
Download a summary of this research at http://ibo.org/research/policy/programmevalidation/diploma/documents/CollegeReadinessSummaryEng.pdf

About the IB
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for profit foundation that offers four high quality and challenging education programmes for a worldwide community of schools. IB programmes have gained a reputation for rigour and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century and for developing citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than one million IB students attend nearly 3,500 schools in 147 countries. In the Americas, approximately 90,000 students are enrolled in the Diploma Programme.


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