Therese N. Hopfenbeck, Samantha-Kaye Johnston, Caroline Cresswell, Kit Double and Joshua McGrane – Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment, University of Oxford.
This study examines the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Career-related Programme (CP) in Kent in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2012, the IB launched a four-year pilot initiative between the IB and Kent County Council to offer students from more disadvantaged areas the opportunity to participate in a programme to prepare them for higher education and/or careers. This mixed method study, which involved 31 schools offering the CP in Kent, used interview data from students, school staff and other key stakeholders; survey data from students and staff; IB examination data; and school register data. The CP, with its focus on local knowledge, civic responsibility and personal growth, appears to have successfully inspired school leaders, teachers, coordinators and students in Kent. Overall, students and staff rated their experiences of participating in the CP as positive and beneficial for their own development. Participating in the CP provided students with a range of opportunities to enter diverse pathways, including academic and vocational fields, and teachers benefitted from the professional development opportunities afforded by the CP. While there was support and buy-in for the CP at the student and school level, the study revealed opportunities to strengthen implementation through buy-in at the parent and university level.