Thursday, July 18, 2013

IB Middle Years Programme Develops Students and Teachers Eager to Learn and Take on New Challenges

The International Baccalaureate (IB) has announced new research findings that aim to provide deeper understanding of how students in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) are influenced to become lifelong learners and active global citizens through participation in the MYP. The study, conducted by Julie Wade and Natalie L. Wolanin, found that MYP students identified the rigour and challenge of MYP courses as one of the top benefits of being an MYP student. In addition, the majority of MYP teachers indicated that they are better teachers as a result of teaching in the MYP.

Find the full study, “Continuation study of student performance and engagement in the Middle Years Programme” online at

The new study, a continuation of an earlier study of the MYP, was commissioned to extend the findings of, “Student Performance and Student Engagement in the International Baccalaureate Middle Year Programme” (Wade, 2011). It examines whether previous enrollment in an MYP middle school impacts high school performance and enrollment and also investigates the influence of the MYP on global-mindedness. The MYP bridges primary school and middle-years instruction to secondary school studies.

“The MYP provides a unique approach relevant for today’s global society,” says Judith Fabian, Chief Academic Officer for the IB. “At the core of the MYP are contexts for learning that provide powerful opportunities to engage in issues that affect students today. MYP students develop skills they will apply during and beyond their MYP experience.

Student learning focuses,” says Fabian, “on taking one’s place in communities and acting in new contexts, on making informed choices about one’s own welfare, on how to interact with the world at large in virtual, natural, and built environments, and on considering the consequences of human thought and action.”

A large socioeconomically diverse school district composed of rural, urban and suburban communities provided the IB teachers and students from which the MYP continuation study was drawn. In Phase 1, the researchers analyzed secondary high school math and science enrollment and performance of students previously enrolled in five district MYP middle schools in relation to students from five non-MYP middle schools in the district.

They found that students who attended an MYP school in eighth grade were more likely to enroll in an advanced level science and math course in secondary school than their non-MYP peers. Nearly 70% of MYP students enrolled in an advanced level science course in grade nine. MYP students consistently opted into advanced science and math courses in grades nine and ten at higher rates than their non-MYP peers.

In the study’s second phase, the researchers examined student perception of their MYP experience, with emphasis on global-mindedness, a key aspect of an IB education.

Global-mindedness, according to Hett (1993), refers to “a worldview in which one sees oneself as connected to the global community and feels a sense of responsibility to its members.” This attribute was scored in five dimensions: responsibility, cultural pluralism, efficacy, global centrism and interconnectedness. Overall, MYP students who were surveyed scored more positively on global-mindedness than their non-MYP peers. MYP enrollment had a statistically significant effect on cultural pluralism, which referred to “an appreciation of the diversity of cultures in the world and a belief that all have something of value to offer.” (Hett 1993).

The data also suggests that MYP students were more likely to engage in student service learning projects in school and to participate in volunteer activities outside of school. Eight percent more MYP students were involved in service learning projects and 13.7 percent more MYP students were involved in service projects outside of school, with family, friends or other groups, compared to their non-MYP peers. When asked about their most significant learning experience, 11 percent of MYP students identified community service and learning how to help others.

MYP students, when asked ‘what are the benefits of being an MYP student?’ responded with an array of answers that frequently mentioned having a better understanding of the world, learning something new, participating in a more rigorous and challenging curriculum, and learning about other cultures. Sixteen percent of students surveyed declared they felt ‘proud’ to be an MYP student.

The majority opinion of MYP teachers who participated in the study agreed that the training they received from the IB supported their learning needs and provided helpful information, especially in developing lesson plans and assessments, collaborating with others and learning about critical thinking and IB Learner Profile attributes. The majority of teachers surveyed reported that they involve their students in critical thinking and connection with real-life issues. They incorporate current events and teaching about different cultures into their classrooms.

“The MYP provides a holistic education foundational to a life of purpose and meaning,” says Drew Deutsch, IB Director of the Americas.

About the IB

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for-profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools. For 45 years, IB programmes have gained a reputation for rigour and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than 1 million IB students attend nearly 3,500 schools in 144 countries.

About the MYP_The IB Middle Years Programme consists of eight subject groups integrated through five areas of interaction providing global contexts for learning.

Students are required to study at least two languages (as part of their multilingual profile), humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and technology. In their final year, students also undertake an independent ‘personal project’ to demonstrate the development of their skills and understanding.

More than 1000 IB World Schools offer the Middle Years Programme, in 91 countries. The IB began offering the MYP in 1994 it is now an integral part of the IB Continuum, an educational framework for young people age 3-19.

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