Understanding context and building pathways: An evaluation of the International Baccalaureate’s Career Programme implementation in Kent, UK

22nd November 2021 : 17:00 - 18:00

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Prof Therese Hopfenbeck, Dr Samantha-Kaye Johnston, Prof Joshua McGrane

Location: Zoom Meeting

Audience: Public

Please use this link to join us on the day of the event.

The transition to post-secondary life can be challenging, as students often encounter limited or competitive employment pathways and matriculation requirements for higher education can be difficult to navigate, particularly for students from under-resourced contexts. More critically, there has been a disconnect between career-related policies in the UK and the available higher educational opportunities, especially for students from low socio-economic areas. Indeed, this disconnect has been the topic of several historical and recent debates in policy and programme evaluation. Specifically, how might a career programme be designed and implemented that considers the context-specific needs of under-resourced areas, while also offering quality skill-building opportunities aimed at equipping young people for diverse future pathways?

In this seminar, we will present our study that evaluated the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Career-Programme (CP) within historically under-resourced contexts in Kent, UK. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 31 schools with a total of 301 participants, including students, teachers, and senior leadership during 2020-2021, to explore the CP implementation and student/teacher experiences within the CP. We also analysed pre-existing data, including post-CP achievement outcomes, from 379 students who had finalised the CP in Kent. Together, our findings highlight that a multi-dimensional perspective of context, including the community context and student year level, was central to understanding the enablers and challenges of the CP implementation. More broadly, our study provides support for the IB CP implementation model in Kent as a successful career programme that could be applied in other challenging contexts, both nationally and internationally. The CP programme with its focus on local knowledge, civic responsibility, and personal growth, appears to have successfully inspired school leaders, teachers, IB coordinators, and students in Kent. When investigating the success of the implementation, key stakeholders, with support from the Kent City Council and the local community, managed to build a network of support structures between schools and school leaders, from the early piloting phase through the pandemic until the present.

This research was conducted by the research team in the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA). The study was funded by the International Baccalaureate.

Therese N. Hopfenbeck is a Professor of Educational Assessment, Director of the OUCEA, and fellow at Kellogg College. She is elected Vice-President of The Association for Educational Assessment-Europe and Lead Editor of the journal, Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy, and Practice.

Therese will be joined by Dr. Samantha-Kaye Johnston, a Research Officer at the OUCEA. She is also an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Centre at the Harvard School of Law.

Non-presenting team member

Joshua McGrane is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the OUCEA and fellow at Kellogg College.