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Study finds that IB Diploma Programme students are more prepared for university

New research conducted by Dr. David Conley and a team of researchers from the Education Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) compared two groups of university students—International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme alumni and non-Diploma Programme alumni. The findings suggest that IB Diploma Programme students are better able to cope with demanding workloads, better able to manage their time and better able to meet expectations placed on them.

Dr. Conley, a widely recognized expert on college readiness and professor at the University of Oregon, found that Diploma Programme (DP) students managed their learning more independently and used risk and experimentation strategies to overcome challenges. As a group, the DP students reported deeper understanding of the structure of knowledge and large concepts and how content crosses over and connects disciplines. These common responses indicate that the DP students develop an appreciation for learning and skill in higher-order thinking that supports them as university students.

When asked to rate the most valuable and challenging elements of their secondary education in relation to their preparation for college, Diploma Programme students specifically identified the following:

  • Extended Essay: This project was identified for teaching skills such as finding relevant sources, determining the credibility of sources, organizing information, producing a coherent long-form paper and citing sources, skills found to be very useful in college, and which left DP students feeling more prepared to conduct research than many of their classmates.
  •  Language A: DP respondents cited their literature courses as helpful in preparing them to write quality essays, handle heavy reading loads, use academic sources and gain a level of comfort while presenting material in class.

More than half of the DP respondents rated the entire Diploma Programme as ‘most valuable’ and ‘challenging’.

Read the full study