School-based curriculum development in the IB PYP (2022)

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Susan McKenney, Nienke Nieveen, Rochelle Hurenkamp, Veit Wasserfuhr and Magdalena Balica – University of Twente

To better support school efforts in implementing Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum frameworks in their own context, the International Baccalaureate (IB) seeks to understand specific curriculum design practices at the school level as well as the role of teachers as curriculum designers in the process. This study describes how PYP schools develop curriculum and perceive their own capacity to undertake the challenging yet invigorating task of school-based curriculum development (SBCD). It also explores how the IB may further support schools in their curriculum development journey. The study involved three phases, specifically, a literature review, an investigation of SBCD practices in PYP schools, and a synthesis of findings. With regard to research methods, the research team conducted a literature review, two large international surveys of PYP school personnel and case studies in five PYP schools. Three main findings emerged from the study. PYP schools are often more alike than different in terms of their curriculum design practices. PYP schools report having the curricular freedom to design for their context, but can lack support and expertise. Lastly, PYP schools report needing more support with a prototyping approach to SBCD.

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