Ling Tan and Yan Bibby—Australian Council for Educational Research
This study, undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), investigated how International Baccalaureate (IB) students enrolled in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) performed on the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA), relative to non-IB students. The ISA assesses student performance in Grades 3 to 10 across four domains: Math Literacy, Reading, Narrative Writing, and Expository Writing. The math and reading components of the assessment are based on the reading and mathematical literacy frameworks of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The study sample included IB students (N=23,575) and non-IB students (N=14,317) across Asia and Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Americas, who participated in the ISA in 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. On the whole, despite some regional differences, the results indicate that IB PYP and MYP students outperformed their non-IB peers on the ISA across all four domains in a majority of grade levels, with the strongest effects noted in Year 10 Math and Expository Writing. IB students’ ISA scores in Grades 9 and 10 also compare very favourably to PISA benchmarks in Math and Reading. On the other hand, there was insufficient evidence to suggest that IB schools authorized for a longer period produce better student outcomes, and no clear patterns were noted in student performance across IB full continuum schools and single or dual programme schools.