Cross programme studies

Universal design for learning (UDL) and inclusive practices in IB World Schools (2016)

Kavita Rao, Rachel Currie-Rubin and Chiara Logli

CAST Professional Learning

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is committed to ensuring that inclusive education is practised in IB World Schools. Universal design for learning (UDL) focuses on creating accessible learning environments for all learners, including students with disabilities, students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and students who are gifted and talented. This exploratory study examined how IB educators implement inclusive practices and UDL in their classroom and school settings. Data was collected using an online survey and participant interviews to gather information on how inclusive practices are being implemented by teachers and administrators across all three IB regions (Africa, Europe, Middle East; Asia-Pacific; the Americas). The results indicate that IB educators are implementing inclusive practices at high levels, although their degree of knowledge about the UDL framework itself varies. IB teachers and administrators are familiar with various strategies to differentiate instruction, integrate flexible options during instruction, and implement instructional strategies to engage and motivate all learners. The strategies these educators use are consistent with IB approaches to teaching and learning and align with UDL guidelines.

Research summary
Full report

Social and emotional well-being in International Baccalaureate World Schools (2016)

Lucy Cooker, Lucy Bailey, Howard Stevenson and Stephen Joseph

The University of Nottingham

This global study explored the social and emotional well-being of students (ages 3–19) in International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools, and examined how well-being is manifested in the curriculum and enacted in school practices. The researchers drew upon a student survey and interviews with school administrators, teachers, counsellors and students. The survey indicated that students in IB World Schools have good relationships with others, report positive attitudes towards themselves and their friends and family, and rated positively the support given to them by their teachers. The scores of Primary Years Programme (PYP) students were significantly higher on the well-being measures than those of students in other programmes. Educators perceived specific curriculum elements to be helpful in supporting well-being, in particular: the learner profile, approaches to learning (ATL) and the creativity, activity and service (CAS) component of the Diploma Programme (DP). Rather than identifying specific components or documents from the curriculum, interviewees felt that it was the ethos of the IB and the way the programmes had been conceptualized that allows schools to focus on social and emotional well-being. In all schools visited by the researchers, the development of well-being was considered significant and an important role for the school.

Research summary
Full report

Developing and assessing thinking skills (2014)

Robert Swartz and Carol McGuinness

This study aims to create a research-informed and coherent framework for teaching and assessing thinking and to evaluate IB programmes against this framework. The findings are presented in two reports. The first report identifies emerging pedagogical principles that have been found to be successful for teaching thinking, as well as specific practices and techniques. The authors draw on systematic reviews, both narrative reviews and quantitative meta-analysis, summarizing trends and findings, and closely examine the approaches adopted by specific programmes that have made a positive impact on students’ thinking and learning. The second report evaluates the extent to which three of the IB programmes, the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP), align with the principles and practices identified in the first report. Generally, the authors suggest that the IB should articulate thinking skills more clearly in their curriculum materials and provide guidance on how to make thinking skills more explicit and visible in teaching and assessment practices in the classroom.

Report part 1
Report part 2

Developing and assessing students' collaboration in the IB programmes (2014)

The Education Research Center at Texas A&M University

To identify theoretical approaches and practical aspects of student collaboration, researchers conducted a best-evidence synthesis of research literature on student collaboration in K-12 settings across core content areas, including reading/writing, humanities, mathematics and sciences. This study describes interactions between teaching, learning and assessment practices involved with the collaborative process across K-12 settings, with additional attention given to practices involving technology and various cultural or linguistic contexts, including international studies and those involving students learning in a non-native language. The synthesis aims to accomplish two objectives: 1) to identify research-based practices of teaching with, learning through and assessing student collaboration, and 2) to use research-based themes in an analysis of IB curriculum documents in order to assess the extent to which the IB’s collaborative teaching and learning practices align with research.

Literature review

Investigating language policies in IB World Schools (2014)

Molly Fee, Na Liu, Joanna Duggan, Beatriz Arias and Terrence Wiley, Center for Applied Linguistics

This study investigated language policy development and implementation in eight International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools to illuminate the exemplar practices, common struggles and contextual factors that play a role in language policy design and enactment. The researchers employed in-depth, multiple-site case studies utilizing a combination of document analysis, interviews and observations in the eight schools. Schools were selected from all three IB regions and included both continuum and non-continuum schools as well as both public and private schools. Study findings suggested that widespread participation, buy-in and ownership among teachers and staff are critical for developing and maintaining a relevant and effective school language policy. Additionally, respondents reported that professional development was valuable in implementing a language policy, and the researchers recommended that a minimum amount of professional development related to language policy should be required of all teachers and staff. Lastly, the study indicated that the national and regional linguistic context in which a school is situated has a substantial influence on how schools interpret language and develop their language policies.

Research summary
Full report

See more studies:

What is effective schooling? A review of current thought and practice (2014)

Professor Jaap Scheerens

University of Twente, the Netherlands

Full report

21st Century international-mindedness: An exploratory study of its conceptualization and assessment (2013)

Michael Singh & Jing Qi

Centre for Educational Research School of Education University of Western Sydney

This study provides an account of the conceptualization of international-mindedness and existing assessment instruments and further works toward the development of an interpretation of international-mindedness that is relevant to current situations of 21st century education. The study involves research in four areas: 1) an analysis of official IB documents to describe and make inferences about international- mindedness in the IB, 2) a comprehensive literature review on international-mindedness and other related constructs, 3) an examination of models based on contemporary theories, issues and tools in the field, and 4) the identification of instruments for assessing international-mindedness within the context of grade K-12 education worldwide.

Literature review

Conceptualizing and assessing international-mindedness (IM): An exploratory study (2013)

Paloma Castro, Ulla Lundgren and Jane Woodin

This exploratory study aims to document and reflect on a range of articulations of international-mindedness (IM), related constructs and the conceptualizations of these constructs through a document analysis and literature review. The study addresses three principal questions: 1) how is IM conceptualized in the IB curricular context? 2) how are constructs related to IM defined and theorized in the research fields of international and intercultural education? and 3) how are IM and related constructs assessed within and outside the IB context? The study aims to increase understanding of international-mindedness as it is currently used both by the IB and others and to provide recommendations for future developments in thinking around IM.

Literature review

Approaches to learning: Literature review (2012)

Na Li

This literature review examines theories and practices related to learning approaches in the curriculum of various educational systems, how issues of culture and ageappropriateness are addressed and unpacked, and draws implications for the implementation and development of IB programmes.

Literature review

International Baccalaureate learner profile: Literature review (2011)

Kate Bullock

This literature review discusses learning theories that underpin contemporary thinking on the characteristics and processes of young people’s learning, and determines how these theories relate to the learner profile attributes.

Literature review

Curriculum alignment, articulation and the formative development of the learner: Literature review (2011)

Richard Watermeyer

This literature review examines various theoretical aspects of, practical approaches to and issues with curriculum articulation and alignment. It analyses possible impacts of credentialism, assessment and marketization of education, as well as implications for an IB education.

Literature review