International Baccalaureate (IB): National trends for low-income students, 2008–2014 (2015)

Kyra Caspary, Katrina Woodworth, Kaeli Keating and Janelle Sands—SRI International

This study examines the postsecondary trajectories of low-income International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) candidates and course takers from public schools in the United States from 2008–2014. The study incorporates findings from three sources: IB exam data from the IB information system (IBIS), National Student Clearinghouse college participation data, and qualitative data collected during five site visits to high schools serving large populations of low-income DP students. The findings indicated that while the participation of low-income students in the DP has increased, overall student performance in the DP has remained fairly constant. Furthermore, postsecondary results for low-income DP candidates in particular were promising. Low-income DP candidates had high immediate enrollment rates in two- and four-year postsecondary institutions (82%), high first-year retention rates (87%) and high graduation rates (72% after six years). These results were substantially higher than the rates for low-income students nationally and were comparable to higher-income DP students. Although DP course takers tended to perform less well than DP candidates, their graduation rates were also higher than low-income students nationally.

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