Department of Education

Research projects

IB Critical Thinking

The Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year programme offered by the International Baccalaureate Organisation as a high school exit qualification for 16- to 19-year-old students in over 150 countries. The programme is world renowned for its high quality education and unique holistic approach in developing students’ knowledge and skills in a variety of academic and non-academic areas.

Empirical evidence for the relatively higher performance of DP students in critical thinking skills has primarily been based on exploratory studies in a single country at a time, with much of the research relying on the self-reported data of university students. No studies have compared DP and non-DP students across different countries using the same critical thinking measure.

The project investigates the features of the DP programme that may foster critical thinking and explores how DP students and their teachers experience the programme. Empirical data of DP students’ level of critical thinking will be gathered and compared with a matched sample of non-DP peers in England, Norway and Australia.

The research will be conducted in three phases:

Phase 1: Review of the literature and of DP curriculum and assessment documents.

Phase 2: Assessment of critical thinking of DP and non-DP students

Phase 3: Interviews with DP students and teachers

Research Team

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