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DP graduates in Turkey have the skills needed for university success

New research out of Bilkent University explores the university preparedness of Diploma Programme (DP) and non-DP graduates in Turkey.

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The DP appears to support the development of key academic skills that are useful for university studies.  DP graduates from the study reported that the IB helped them to develop their English, critical thinking and writing skills, which gave them an edge in their university classes.  One student noted how the ability to write clearly and succinctly was helpful in further study:

For example, one of the biggest skills we gained in IBDP is to answer a question fully and do this in the clearest and most concise way. This is very beneficial for me in the exams. For example, we write the answers underneath the question, so you should be able to answer the question directly. This is a skill I gained in high school; not high school actually but IBDP.

Another highlighted the similarities between DP and university assignments:

The assignments given and assessed at University 1 are very similar to the ones that we did for IBDP. For example, we did presentations and wrote reports in high school, now we are doing the same assignments for this University.

The preparedness of DP graduates shines through particularly when examining their academic performance at university.  For example, the study found that:

  • DP graduates had significantly higher cumulative grade point averages (cGPA)  when compared to the non-DP cohort (3.04  versus 2.69)
  • The DP sample generally also had higher course grades (for the five subject areas examined) than their non-DP peers (Table 1)
  • The graduation rate of DP students was nearly three times higher than that of the non-DP group.


DP graduates Non-DP graduates
N Mean Standard deviation N Mean Standard deviation Cohen’s d
cGPA 385 3.04* 0.65 376 2.69 0.69 0.52
Turkish 298 3.59 0.73 183 3.24 0.80
English 385 3.27* 0.46 370 2.58 0.82 1.04
Mathematics 258 2.49 1.06 288 2.32 1.17
Chemistry 44 2.75 0.78 46 2.44 0.76
Physics 156 2.54 0.82 150 2.29 0.91
Table 1: Means and standard deviations of cGPA and the average scores of individual subjects*significant at 0.05 level

One area where DP and non-DP students differed was their sense of belonging at university during their first year.  For DP students, their satisfaction and sense of belonging was delayed until their second year, as university life presented few new challenges.  Non-DP students, conversely, had a more difficult time adjusting to university studies but felt a strong sense of belonging from the start.

A summary of this study as well as the full research report are available in the research section of the IB public website.