Newswise — Bethesda, MD, May 23, 2012-- A research study completed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), on behalf of the International Baccalaureate (IB), examined student performance among IB and non-IB students on the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) and determined that IB Primary Years Program (PYP) and IB Middle Years Program (MYP) students, in most instances performed as well or better than their non-IB peers across all four ISA assessment domains, including math literacy, reading, narrative writing, and expository writing. Particularly strong differences were observed in grade 10, the final year of the IB MYP. The study, conducted with data collected from 2009-11, included 270 schools—117 with the PYP and 86 with the MYP—and 50,714 international students, of which 68% were IB students.

This study follows up on an earlier project undertaken by ACER to report on how PYP and MYP students, grades 3 to 10, at international schools worldwide performed on the ISA relative to non-IB students, from 2007-09. The new study analyzes more recent data, digs deeper into specific areas of study and queried students on their perceptions, attitudes, and well-being.

In their findings, ACER researchers Ling Tan and Yan Bibby, explain: “This research performed drill-down analysis on sub-strands of ISA assessment areas. The sub-strands analysis found that IB students performed better than non-IB students for ISA Reading in all sub-strands at all grade levels except grade 8. IB students demonstrated higher performances in Mathematical Literacy in grade 6, grade 9, and grade 10. In expository writing categories, IB students outperformed non-IB students in grades 4, 9 and 10 with effect sizes ranging from very small to moderately large.”

The ISA math and reading components are based on reading and mathematical literacy frameworks established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams. The OECD promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Other findings of note: IB students in grades 9 and 10 averaged scores significantly higher in mathematics and reading than OECD averages in the 2009 PISA. A multi-level analysis found that ‘between-school variations’ across IB schools were smaller than among non-IB schools in all four ISA domains, implying that IB schools were more similar to each other than the non-IB schools were, with respect to the four domains. Across all dimensions of the primary- and secondary-year student questionnaires, high proportions of agreement were observed among IB PYP and MYP students.

Full text of the research study, “Performance Comparison between IB School Students and Non-IB School Students on the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) and on the Social and Emotional Well-being Questionnaire” appears

About the IB:The International Baccalaureate, a nonprofit foundation, offers four challenging, quality education programs for a worldwide community of students and schools. Since 1968, IB programs have prepared students to live productive lives in a globalized and interdependent society, and to assert leadership roles in creating a more peaceful, harmonious world. The IB currently operates learning programs in more than 3,340 schools in 140 countries. To learn more, visit