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Study on Chicago Public Schools’ IB Programmes

School of Education Research Team Publishes Study on Chicago Public Schools’ International Baccalaureate Programmes

Over the past six years, Chicago Public Schools has expanded its number of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs from 21 to 53.  A major challenge in scaling up this quickly has been supporting teachers to learn about the IB and integrate its components into their classroom practice.  This is particularly true for the IB Learner Profile, a collection of ten attributes that students develop over the course of their education.  All IB programs take the Learner Profile as their core and seek to support students’ development of attributes such as “thinker,” “communicator,” “caring,” “open-minded,” and “risk-taker.”

To learn more about how Chicago Public Schools IB programmes are implementing the Learner Profile, the IB Organization contracted with a research team Loyola’s School of Education. The team, consisting of faculty, alumni, and graduate students, spent 18 months investigating the incorporation of the Learner Profile in Chicago Public Schools’ Middle Years Programmes (MYP, grades 6 through 10). This systematic research study of MYP teachers’ practice set out to understand how IB MYP programmes are implemented in schools and how IB MYP programmes influence classroom teaching.

The study’s findings and recommendations focused on three areas:

  • Teacher understanding of the Learner Profile
  • Incorporation of the Learner Profile into practice
  • Supports and resources for incorporating the Learner Profile

A key finding from the study is the critical role and value of local supports for MYP teachers. There was wide agreement among teachers across schools that the MYP coordinator plays a key role in supporting teachers’ learning and incorporation of the Learner Profile. The research team recommended that more local resources be cultivated to support school- and district-planned incorporations of the Learner Profile into practice. Additionally, given the pivotal role of coordinators, the IB could consider ways to further support the professional development of coordinators with regard to the Learner Profile. The report’s executive summary and the larger report can be accessed here: summary and full report.

Research Team: Dr. Ann Marie Ryan, associate professor; Dr. Charles Tocci, assistant professor; Dr. David Ensminger, associate professor; Dr. Catur Rismiati, senior researcher; and Ahlam Moughania, research assistant.