Continuum studies

Completed studies

A distributed perspective on middle leadership in International Baccalaureate continuum schools in North-East Asia (2019)

Darren Bryant, Allan Walker, Yiu Lun Wong, Anthony Adames and Kokila Katyal

This study aims to enhance understanding of mid-level (“middle”) leadership in four International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum schools from a distributed leadership perspective. In IB World Schools, middle leaders can include programme coordinators, subject area coordinators, cross-school leaders or grade-level leaders. Data for this study were derived from interviews and focus groups, documents, observations and surveys. Additionally, four comparative case studies were conducted at continuum schools in Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Japan. The findings indicated that middle leaders collectively account for the largest proportion of leadership activities within schools. Given their potential roles in programme implementation, pedagogical improvement and innovation, it is important for schools to develop middle leaders through coaching, professional development, mentoring and appraisal systems. Researchers found that membership in a consortium or network of schools tended to enhance the impact of middle leaders beyond their own school. Lastly, unique aspects of IB programmes can broaden the scope of opportunities for middle leadership.

Research summary PDF
Full report PDF

International Baccalaureate Educator Network: Success case study (2019)

Kristine Chadwick, Michael Thier and Jandee Todd, Inflexion

The International Baccalaureate Educator Network (IBEN) trains educators to serve in a variety of critical roles to support the development and implementation of IB programmes. This study was designed to examine the benefits of IBEN participation as well as factors that may support or hinder successful dissemination of IBEN learnings within a school. The study design is based on Brinkerhoff’s (2002) Success Case Method, which enables evaluators to discover what is working well in a program and the factors that facilitate or inhibit success. Drawing on a global survey of IB educators (IBEs), seven case study schools from around the world were selected to explore the benefits of IBEN involvement and factors that support positive school outcomes. Findings indicated that educators value IBEN participation because it develops their knowledge, builds their confidence as highly skilled educators and benefits their students. School leadership also appeared to be an important factor influencing the ability of schools to achieve benefits from IBEN participation. Additionally, schools with a critical mass and distribution of IBEs across departments and grades were more likely to see benefits. Researchers made a number of recommendations based on the findings, including to strengthen recognition and awareness of the IBEN “brand” within the IB community.

Impact of the IB Educator Network (video)
Research snapshot PDF
Research snapshot in Chinese (科研快讯) PDF
Research snapshot in Japanese (調査概要報告) PDF
Research snapshot in Korean (리서치 스냅샷) PDF
Research summary PDF
Full report PDF

Interim report: A study on the impact of the International Baccalaureate’s professional development (2018)

Centre for Program Evaluation, The University of Melbourne

This research summary provides interim findings from an ongoing study on the impact of the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) professional development (PD) model, practices and services. The first portion of the summary highlights findings from the literature review. The second section presents outcomes from pre- and post-surveys of educators who had participated in select IB professional development workshops along with a comparison group who had not. Based on the literature review, the researchers identified nine features of high-quality professional development. Some of these features include the importance of practice when implementing new skills and the importance of engaged and supportive school leadership. Based on the surveys, for those who had participated in IB professional development, positive changes were particularly pronounced for measures of self-efficacy, with medium to large effect sizes. In general, similar changes were not observed for the comparison group. After attending IB professional development workshops, participants, on average, reported significantly higher feelings of general self-efficacy, context-specific self-efficacy, and collective self-efficacy. Lastly, this phase of the study also identified factors that contribute to success before, during and after PD workshops.

Research summary PDF

The international-mindedness journey: School practices for developing and assessing international-mindedness across the IB continuum (2017)

Elisabeth Barratt Hacking, Chloe Blackmore, Kate Bullock, Tristan Bunnell, Michael Donnelly and Sue Martin, Department of Education, University of Bath

International-mindedness is an overarching construct related to intercultural understanding, global engagement and multilingualism. The objective of this global study was to examine how International Baccalaureate (IB) World Schools conceptualize, develop and assess international-mindedness and to understand related challenges. Additionally, the researchers aimed to identify promising practice in developing international-mindedness across IB programmes. Nine case study schools, identified as being strongly engaged with international-mindedness, were selected for an in-depth examination of their practice and thinking related to international-mindedness. The IB curriculum, and particularly components such as creativity, activity, service in the Diploma Programme, was perceived as key to developing students’ international-mindedness. Teachers also play a significant role in fostering students’ international-mindedness through their choice of resources and examples and by serving as role models. Lastly, this study has also shown that it is important for schools to make international-mindedness their own, suited to their own communities and contexts.

Research summary  PDF
Full report  PDF

“Caring” across the International Baccalaureate continuum (2016)

Howard Stevenson, Stephen Joseph, Lucy Bailey, Lucy Cooker, Stuart Fox and Alicia Bowman, The University of Nottingham

This study aimed to develop a better understanding of the role of “caring” across the continuum of IB programmes in nine schools located in South-east Asia, Europe and the Middle East/North Africa. The study had two broad objectives. First, it aimed to establish the extent to which students in IB World Schools are caring, and secondly, it sought to understand how IB World Schools attempt to develop a disposition of caring among their students. Research methods included student surveys, website analysis, focus groups with staff and students and interviews with various staff members in the case study schools. Survey data showed that students scored highly when rated on the extent to which they demonstrated perspective taking, empathic concern and a range of attitudes and behaviours linked to caring. Moreover, the vast majority of students agreed or strongly agreed that their school teaches them to be more caring. Additional findings indicated that: the IB curriculum offers opportunities to make caring a focus; a caring disposition among young people is best developed in schools where caring is woven into the fabric of the institution and leaders have a critical role in setting the tone within their institution.

Research summary PDF
Full report PDF

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International Baccalaureate programmes: Longer term outcomes (2015)

Katie Wright, University of Melbourne

This in-depth qualitative study investigated longer-term outcomes of participation in International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes on the lives of former IB students. The study explored IB alumni perceptions of their professional pathways, involvement in community service activities, attitudes towards lifelong learning, as well as the ways in which the IB may have shaped their personal values, beliefs about diversity and overall worldview. In-depth interviews were conducted with 23 individuals aged from 20 to 63 years who participated in IB programmes in a range of school settings, including international, public sector and private schools, from the late 1960s to the early 2010s. The findings from this study suggest a multiplicity of influences for the majority of former IB students interviewed, including profound and long-lasting effects for some. These encompass impacts on academic and career trajectories, the development of international-mindedness, critical thinking, analytical and writing skills and positive dispositions towards lifelong learning. More instrumental dimensions, notably advantages for university admission and the gaining of advanced credits, were also frequently mentioned, as was the benefit of IB studies for university preparedness.

Research summary PDF
Full report PDF

The International Baccalaureate continuum: Student, teacher and school outcomes (2014)

Allan Walker, Darren Bryant and Moosung Lee, Hong Kong Institute of Education

The purpose of this study is to explore and document the impact of the International Baccalaureate continuum on students, teachers and schools in five Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The authors used surveys, student examination results, interviews and document analysis to address the research questions. The study found no significant differences between the examination results of continuum students compared with those of students who only participated in the Diploma Programme (DP). The sample students (both continuum and non-continuum) showed moderately positive perceptions of their capacity on the learner profile attributes. Although there were no significant differences between student self-ratings of the attributes “knowledgeable”, “inquirers” and “open-minded”, non-continuum students rated themselves significantly higher on “caring”. In the qualitative portion of the study, both students and teachers reported a narrowing of the curriculum as students progressed through the continuum. Both case study schools suggested, however, that a set of core skills developed in the Primary Years Programme and the Middle Years Programme helped to prepare students for facets of the DP pertaining to: organization and time management, inquiry-based learning, problem solving and criterion-referenced assessment. Lastly, the continuum provides some clear benefits for in-school professional development and teacher collaboration.

Research summary
Full report PDF

The IB teacher professional: Identifying, measuring and characterizing pedagogical attributes, perspectives and beliefs (2013)

IB Global Research Department

This research project aims to provide empirically-grounded insights into what constitutes the International Baccalaureate (IB) Teacher Professional, in both theory and practice. A mixed methods design, including an online survey, focus groups, and document review, was employed to improve current understanding of the essential attributes, perspectives, and beliefs pertinent to IB teachers. The online survey was comprised of the 45 item Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) (Collins & Pratt, 2003), demographic items, and four open-ended items. Invitations to complete an online survey were emailed to 14,407 IB teachers who previously participated in an IB workshop; 3,845 surveys were completed. Focus group sessions were held in Spain, Peru, Hong Kong, and the United States with a total of 72 participants. The content analysis involved the systematic review of 73 IB documents. Analysis of the TPI suggests that IB teachers are similar to the TPI preK-12 sample. Both groups have Nurturing as the dominant perspective with ‘back up’ perspectives of Apprenticeship and Developmental. However, IB teachers have higher scores on Social Reform, Developmental, Apprenticeship, and Transmission. The focus group produced the following themes: 1) global, 2) open minded 3) flexibility, 4) teaching approach/skills/beliefs, 5) collaboration, 6) good teaching, and 7) love of teaching. The overall themes identified in the content analyses include ‘Approaches to Teaching’, ‘Beliefs about Teaching’, and ‘Tools to Facilitate Effective Teaching’.

Research summary PDF
Full report PDF

A study of successful practices in the IB Continuum (2010)

Philip Hallinger, Allan Walker & Moosung Lee, Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd)

In this study, the Hong Kong Institute for Education illuminates key strategies and practices that promote successful programme implementation and transition within full continuum IB schools. The mixed methods study analysed data from a global survey of 235 IB coordinators and case studies of five full continuum schools in the Asia-Pacific region. The study found that schools employed leadership practices and management strategies to address issues and challenges emerging from programme transitions. Commonly and saliently identified leadership practices and management strategies included 1) various strategies for the purpose of articulation, 2) cross-programme interaction, and 3) strategic staffing. Among the three major leadership and management strategies, articulation promoted a better transition through building consistency and coherence between programs. Consistency between programmes in terms of teaching, learning, and assessment was critical to a smooth transition. In a similar vein, coherence of curriculum between programmes was another key pillar for a smooth transition. Finally, support for students was also directly associated with better program transitions.

Research Summary PDF
Link to the report on the HKIEd website