Jane Jarvis et al.,—Flinders University (Adelaide, Australia)
This study explores the extent to which students participating in the IB programme in target South Australian schools demonstrated the characteristics articulated in the IB learner profile (LP) and the skills reflected in the approaches to learning (ATL) component of the IB curriculum framework. Three studies were implemented. The first (1) and second (2) studies compared students with and without prior IB experience on characteristics described in the learner profile and approaches to learning component in both mathematics and humanities. The third study (3) examined how students conceptualized, planned and reflected on their MYP personal project. The schools and University agreed that four elements of the LP should be the primary focus of the research inquiry: (a) open-minded (b) thinkers (c) reflective and (d) inquirers. In the first and second studies, year 8 students in the target schools were given problems in mathematics and humanities and were observed in “think aloud” exercises recorded verbatim by the researchers. Comparison of the groups of students with previous IB experience and those new to the IB did not reveal a consistent difference in level of problem solving action in the mathematics findings. The second study resulted in similar findings for the humanities exercise. In relation to the personal project analyses, the researchers found that year 9 and 10 students did demonstrate elements of inquiry, reflection, thinking and openness reflective of the learner profile and approaches to learning framework.