Ewan Wright, Darren A. Bryant, Chrysa Keung, Allan Walker, Kanwal Syeda Hassan and Leo Wong Yiu Lun – The Education University of Hong Kong
A central feature of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is the personal project, in which, guided by a supervisor, students develop a self-selected project over an extended period of time through a process of inquiry, action and reflection. This study investigated the experiences and outcomes of the personal project at IB World Schools globally. In the quantitative phase, the research team analysed data from 66,698 students worldwide to identify how students’ personal project scores are associated with subsequent performance in the Diploma Programme (DP). In the qualitative phase, the researchers gathered interview data from 107 participants (heads of schools, coordinators, supervisors, and students) in six IB World Schools across six jurisdictions (Hong Kong, Peru, Qatar, South Korea, the United States of America, and Zambia). The research team found personal project scores in the MYP to be a meaningful predictor of DP examination and extended essay scores. Additionally, personal project participants attained higher scores on DP examinations and the extended essay than their DP peers who did not participate in the personal project. Typically, participants described the personal project as a “passion project” that enables students to complete a long-term independent project. Participants also felt the personal project could help to develop approaches to learning skills, bridge gaps between the MYP and DP and potentially prepare students for the extended essay.