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How does the Middle Years Programme prepare students for college?

We’ve just released a new research study that looks at the high-school performance of former Middle Years Programme (MYP) students in the United States in comparison with their non-MYP peers.

A comparison of MYP and non-MYP students’ participation and performance in high school investigates the impacts of participation in the MYP on both high school enrollment and achievement with very positive results. The study gathered data from a large, economically-diverse school district in the US.

Students Working in a Computer Lab

The results show that participation in the MYP increases a student’s likelihood of both participating in and performing well in college preparatory courses, such as the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and Advanced Placement (AP).

The researchers used logistic regression analyses and matched students based on demographic variables (propensity score matching) to compare high school outcomes between those who had attended an MYP school and those who had attended a non-MYP school. They looked specifically at participation and performance in AP and DP exams, in college admissions tests, and in the uptake of DP courses.

Here are some of the highlights:

Participation and performance on AP and DP exams

Former MYP students were 34% more likely to take at least one DP or AP exam in high school, and their exam performance was significantly better. They were also 39% more likely to achieve a “college-ready” score (three or higher for AP, four or higher for IB) than their non-MYP peers.

Participation and performance in the DP

Looking more specifically at their participation and performance in the DP, former MYP and non-MYP students took, on average, a similar number of DP courses while in high school. However, among those students who took, at least, one DP exam, former MYP students earned more scores of four or higher than students not previously enrolled in the MYP. On average, former MYP students earned one more score of four or higher than non-MYP students.

As we have discovered in previous studies, enrollment in the MYP prepares students for the DP through developing inquiry and organizational skills, as well as promoting a greater understand of criterion-based assessment.[1]

SAT and ACT outcomes

Previous MYP enrollment did not appear to have a significant effect on students’ ACT and SAT scores (ACT and SAT are standardized tests that are widely used for college admissions in the US.) The study also found that similar percentages of both MYP and non-MYP students took the ACT or SAT. Additionally, SAT scores were not significantly different for former MYP and non-MYP students.


Overall, this study suggests that previous enrollment in the MYP positively impacts the likelihood of enrolling in college preparatory coursework and achieving strong results on AP and DP exams.

For more information, please see the research summary or full report.

[1] Walker, A, Bryant, D, and Lee, M. 2014. The International Baccalaureate continuum: Student, teacher and school outcomes. Report prepared for the IB.