The effects of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme on schools: A systematic review of the literature

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  • The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is a rigorous secondary curriculum offered in schools around the world. In Canada and the Unites States, the IB DP often runs additional to local curricula, is viewed as an added challenge, and is often treated as a high achievement program. Despite the popularity of the IB DP, its overall effects on schools and their populations remain only partially understood. This systematic review of the IB DP literature has the purpose of answering two questions. One, to what extent have the effects of the IB DP been represented and discussed in the literature so far? And two, what can we learn about the IB DP in Canada and the United States by looking at the effects of the program that have been studied in the literature so far? Thirty-five papers on the IB DP in Canada and the Unites States were included in this study. These papers were annotated and their findings were coded for the types of effects of the IB DP that they included. These types of effects were qualitatively grouped into themes, and quantitatively analyzed for frequency. Based on the findings, the IB DP seems to positively impact academics and the college experience, but still has potential weaknesses in areas of school climate and non-academics. Issues of access for marginalized groups of students are not yet well enough studied or understood. Schools wishing to implement the IB DP for its benefits should also carefully consider its drawbacks and ensure appropriate supports are in place.

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    Research Material
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    Attribution 4.0 International