A study of critical thinking skills in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (2016)

Julie Wade, Natalie Wolanin and Trisha McGaughey

This study examined the extent to which critical thinking skills are emphasized in teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP). The study was conducted within a large, socio-economically diverse district in the United States. Researchers employed student and teacher surveys as well as classroom observations to investigate students’ critical thinking skills and teachers’ use of strategies that aim to foster critical thinking. Researchers found that high percentages of students and teachers from both MYP and non-MYP schools reported the use of many critical thinking skills and classroom strategies to develop critical thinking. Comparisons of MYP students’ survey responses with those of non-MYP students showed similar levels of critical thinking skill use and goal setting behaviors with no significant differences. Likewise, most comparisons of MYP and non-MYP teachers’ survey responses showed no significant differences between the two groups. MYP classroom observations revealed a number of techniques that can foster critical thinking among students.

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