Ursula Aldana and Anysia Mayer
This report highlights interim findings from a longer-term study that is currently underway (2015–2019). The study examines the high school and post-secondary experiences of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students in US public schools serving students from predominantly low-income households with little or no history of college-going. This study employs a mixed-methods case study approach, focusing on three DP schools in California with a significant proportion of low-income students. The study includes three main components: surveys of current DP and non-DP students, interviews with current DP students and interviews with DP alumni enrolled in higher education. Overall, the survey data suggests that DP students have a qualitatively different high school experience from their non-DP peers. The survey analysis found statistically significant differences, in favour of DP students, in seven out of the eight outcome variables examined in this study. DP students described feeling a strong sense of belonging in their school that they attributed to their teachers and peers, and to their involvement in the DP. Lastly, the interview data indicates that both DP students and alumni demonstrate many qualities of academic resilience.