Top Nav Breadcrumb

Global research on IB student outcomes at university

students-happy-clapping

Research is at the core of the IB–it is fundamental to the way the programmes are designed and assessed. We conduct research ourselves and also work in partnership with leading universities and research institutions globally. We want to share more of that research with you in the IB community and have organized some key global findings in the tabs above.

From China and Australia, to Turkey, Mexico, the US and more, the research content here has an overall focus on the following two questions about DP/CP graduates:

  • How do they fare in terms of university outcomes and performance?
  • What factors help IB students to succeed?

Take a look at each of the tabs above, leave a comment, start a discussion.

University admissions (China and Australia) 

Slide 6

Graduates of DP schools in China tend to attend the world’s top 500 universities.[1]

A study from two universities in Australia indicated that IB applicants were more likely to be offered admission than non-IB applicants.[2]


[1] A study of the IB Diploma Programme in China: Impact on student preparation for university studies abroad

[2] An investigation of postsecondary patterns and pathways of IB graduates in the Australian tertiary education sector

University Enrollment (United States)

Slide 8-01

Former DP students versus a matched comparison group on postsecondary outcomes

Postsecondary outcomes:

  • DP graduates were more likely to enroll in college, to enroll in selective colleges, to stay enrolled and to perform better once there than a matched (similar characteristics) comparison group.
  • DP students interviewed generally felt that they were academically well-prepared to succeed in college coursework, and described writing and math skills, motivation, work habits, organization and time management as strengths.[3]

Slide 9-2-01

Slide 9-1-0192% of DP students graduating in 2008 enrolled in US postsecondary institutions between 2008 – 2014, while 78% of students enrolled immediately. [4]


Slide 11-01Examining the outcomes of low-income DP students, this study found that 82% of low-income DP candidates enrolled immediately in a two- or four-year postsecondary institution compared to 46% nationally. [5]


University enrollment by race and ethnicity (US)

Slide 12-01Low-income African American DP students from Title I schools have the highest college enrollment rate among the racial/ethnic groups examined in this study (84%), while nationally the college enrollment rate of African American students is the lowest (57%). [6]


University enrollment and performance (United Kingdom)

university-enrollment-and-performance-united-kingdom

  • Results showed that DP students were significantly more likely than their A level peers to attend a top twenty university in the UK and to receive a first-class honours degree. DP alumni were also somewhat more likely to engage in further studies after completing university. [7]

University enrollment (Mexico)

DP students in Mexico tend to enroll in top-ranking universities in the country.

This study also found significant correlations between performance in the DP (total score) and earning a university scholarship.[8]


[3]Working to my potential: Experience of CPS students in the IB Diploma Programme–study focused on public schools in low-income neighborhoods

[4] Diploma Programme students’ enrollment and outcomes at US postsecondary institutions (2008-2014)

[5] International Baccalaureate: National trends for low-income students 2008–2014

[6] International Baccalaureate programmes in Title I schools in the United States: Accessibility, participation and university enrollment, IB Global Research

[7] International Baccalaureate Diploma students studying at UK higher education institutions: A propensity score matched study (forthcoming, 2015)

[8]The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Mexico as Preparation for Higher Education

University retention after 1st year (US)

Slide 15-01

The first year retention rate of DP students enrolled in four-year institutions was 80% in 2008. [9]

Retention: i.e. continuing on to the next year of postsecondary study


University retention (US and Australia)

At the University of Oregon’s Honor’s College (United States), compared to a representative sample, a greater proportion of DP alumni persisted through college.[10]

Figures-2Another study in Australia indicated that DP graduates were more likely to progress at university and graduate within 5 years. [11]


[9]Diploma Programme students’ enrollment and outcomes at US postsecondary institutions (2008-2014)

[10] International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Examining college readiness

[11] An investigation of postsecondary patterns and pathways of IB graduates in the Australian tertiary education sector

University preparation (China and US)

Teachers and administrators from DP schools in China were confident that the DP provided first-rate university preparation due to the rigor and breadth of the curriculum. [12]

Qualitative data from a study in the US suggested that students who participated in the DP during high school were more academically adjusted to the rigour and expectations of college coursework. [13]


Student performance (Turkey)

student-performance-turkey

  • DP graduates in Turkey had significantly higher cumulative GPAs than non-DP graduates (3.04 vs. 2.69)
  • DP alumni generally had higher course grades for all subject areas examined
  • Graduation rate of DP cohort 3x higher than non-DP cohort [14]

[12] A study of the IB Diploma Programme in China: Impact on student preparation for university studies abroad

[13] International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Examining college readiness

[14] Alignment between the DP and MoNEP in Turkey and the effects of these programmes on the achievement and development of university students

Four-year graduation rates (US)

Slide 21-01The average four-year graduation rate of all DP students (both diploma earners and non-earners) was 79% in 2008, compared to 39% nationally. [15]


Six-year graduation rates (US)

Slide 22-01DP students (both diploma earners and non-earners) have notably higher six-year graduation rates (83%) than the national average of 56%. [16]


Six-year graduation rates (US)

Slide 23-01Low-income diploma candidates who enrolled in four-year colleges and universities had six-year graduation rates (72%) that were higher than both the national average for low-income students (47%) and the national average for all students (59%). [17]


[15] Diploma Programme students’ enrollment and outcomes at US postsecondary institutions (2008-2014)

[16] Diploma Programme students’ enrollment and outcomes at US postsecondary institutions (2008-2014)

[17] International Baccalaureate: National trends for low-income students 2008–2014

Academic and non-academic skills (US)

What skills do IB graduates report gaining from the DP:

  • DP graduates from the University of Oregon highlighted how the DP helped them to develop: time management, critical thinking, problem solving and research skills.[18]
  • DP graduates from Turkey reported that the IB helped them to develop their English and their critical thinking and writing skills, which gave them an edge in their university classes. [19]
  • Compared with former Advanced Placement (AP) students, DP graduates from the University of Virginia were significantly more likely to indicate they: felt prepared for college-level coursework involving research; were proud of their research; and found their research skills to be important to future success. [20]

Career-related Programme (CP) research

  • Based on a global survey of 62 former CP students:
  • most of the CP students indicated that they had developed competencies such as: language skills, IT skills, time-management skills, organizational and research skills and industry-specific employment skills.
  • Students generally felt that the skills gained from the CP, as well as the knowledge gained from DP courses, had helped them in their university studies.
  • From study: The International Baccalaureate (IB) Career-related Programme (CP): Students’ experiences, postsecondary destinations and outcomes

AP and IB students’ research skills (US)

AP and IB student perceptions of engagement with conducting research

AP and IB student perceptions of engagement with conducting research

Study examined the research experience of former IB students and student perceptions of the value of the extended essay (EE).

Former IB students felt strongly that their EE experience prepared them to conduct the various facets of the research process. [21]


Outcomes of IB programmes

In a global study of the longer-term outcomes of IB programmes, alumni reported positive outcomes related to:

  • International-mindedness
  • Critical thinking, analytical and writing skills
  • Academic and career trajectories
  • University admission, credits and preparedness [22]

[18] International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Examining college readiness

[19] Alignment between the DP and MoNEP in Turkey and the effects of these programmes on the achievement and development of university students

[20] Exploring the benefits of the International Baccalaureate extended essay for university studies at the University of Virginia

[21] Exploring the benefits of the International Baccalaureate extended essay for university studies at the University of Virginia

[22] International Baccalaureate Programmes: Longer term outcomes

Take-aways

IB students generally perform quite well compared to their non-IB peers in terms of university admission, enrollment, retention, performance and graduation rates.

IB students seem to be academically well-prepared for university coursework.

IB programmes may foster key academic and non-academic skills that are helpful at the university level.

All studies cited in this blog can be found on the IB research webpage. If you have any questions please contact research@ibo.org.

,

  • John Spinks

    I prefer to interpret this data not as meaning that IB students do better in university, but instead that universities are setting their cut-off scores (or expectations/requirements) for DP students too high. If IB students are doing so well, universities should be admitting more of them, compared with other curricula. In the University of Hong Kong (HKU), we analyze each year how well students from different examinations systems perform when in the University — if students from one system do better, then we try to admit more of that group next year. And vice versa. The latest data, in summary, show that the IB students are continuing to do well in HKU. You may draw your own conclusion!