Exploring the learning benefits and outcomes of the IB extended essay in preparing students for university studies in Canada (2013)

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Mark W. Aulls & David Lemay and Mark W. Aulls & Sandra Peláez

This two-phase, mixed methods research study explored the impact of the Diploma Programme (DP) extended essay (EE) experience on student success at university. The first phase of the research project examined the relationship between IB EE experiences and undergraduates’ epistemic beliefs, approaches to learning, values of the importance of inquiry demands and inquiry self-efficacy in comparison with non-IB schooled undergraduates. The second phase explored the learning benefits of the DP extended essay and the extent to which the EE helped DP graduates during their freshman year of university study. In Phase 1, former IB students indicated higher ratings of inquiry learning that represent self-regulation of the inquiry process; additionally, on average, IB students were less likely to view learning primarily as memorization. In Phase 2, IB students reported that most of the knowledge learned through EE participation helped them to successfully cope with university academic demands. However, the results also show that first year students experienced research primarily through reading it, writing about it and occasionally discussing it, but rarely through actually doing it as part of their coursework.

Research Summary (PDF, 230 KB)

Phase 1 (PDF, 2.7 MB)

Phase 2 (PDF, 1.4 MB)