Charlene Rivera, Tracy Runfola Tressler, Jennifer McCreadie and Keira Ballantyne—The George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education
In addition to the standard diploma of the Diploma Programme, the International Baccalaureate also offers a bilingual diploma (referred to in this study as BD), which includes additional language requirements. The aims of this study were to examine the context of BD implementation in schools, to investigate academic outcomes for BD students and to explore perceptions and factors that encourage or discourage students from pursuing the BD. This multi-method study included three phases: a survey of IB World School staff, analysis of student record and performance data and an in-depth study of BD implementation in a small number of schools. The study suggested that students are more likely to pursue the BD if they are already bilingual or if their mother tongue is not English. Students reported that key factors encouraging them to pursue a BD included the desire to be multilingual, future career opportunities and school promotion of the BD. Conversely, students identified competing demands of other coursework as an impediment to pursuing the BD. Data on student performance indicated few differences between the performance of BD and standard diploma candidates.