Study confirms IB Diploma is a great preparation for university and employment

According to a new study on the performance of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme students in the UK post secondary system as compared to students with A Level or equivalent qualifications, conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) on behalf of the International Baccalaureate, a higher percentage of IB students achieve a first class honours award compared to students holding A Levels or equivalent qualifications.
IB Diploma Programme entrants are more likely to be enrolled at one of the UK’s top 20 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) than entrants holding other qualifications.

The report provides an overview of IB student characteristics and analysis of enrolment patterns at the top HEIs, chosen fields of study, achievement and non-continuation rates, as well as activities approximately six months after leaving HEIs.

"These results reinforce yet again that the IB Diploma Programme gives students the knowledge, skills and attitudes that enables them to excel in university. The programme is well recognised by the world’s leading universities and truly prepares students for the working world," said Adrian Kearney, Regional Director for Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Key findings include:

  • Achievement – Approximately a fifth (19%) of IB entrants with a full-time first degree achieved a first class honours award compared to 14.5% of first degree qualifiers who held A Level or equivalent qualifications. IB entrants are almost twice as likely to study Medicine and Dentistry (5.1%) as A Level entrants (2.9%). More than double the number of IB entrants attended the top HEIs compared with A Level entrants, when taken in proportion.
  • Continuation rates (measure of attrition/dropout) – Results show that across most subject areas IB entrants were less likely to leave their institution in the following year without gaining an award, than entrants holding other types of qualifications. 91.1% of IB entrants continued at the same institution compared to 89.5% for A level entrants.
  • Activities of IB leavers – Six months after leaving tertiary studies, IB students (36%) are almost twice as likely as their A Level and equivalent peers (18.8%) to pursue further study full time, and more likely to be employed in graduate level jobs and in higher paid occupations than A Level and equivalent leavers. A greater proportion of IB than A level leavers are employed within professional, scientific and technical activities.
  • Salaries of full-time employed IB leavers – The median annual salary of IB leavers in full-time paid employment was higher at £20,500, than that of A Level and equivalent leavers at £19,000.

The report sources data from the International Baccalaureate and data from the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the United Kingdom to identify characteristics and trends of IB students compared with students holding the more traditional A Levels, Scottish Higher and other level three qualifications. The majority of the data has been restricted to the academic year 2008/2009 with some comparisons with the academic year 2007/2008. Of the 423,455 full-time entrants to first degree courses across the 165 HEIs in UK, 1.5%, 56.7% and 10.8% were identified as holding IB qualifications, A Level qualifications and A Level equivalent qualifications respectively.

This study joins a growing body of evidence that the IB Diploma Programme prepares students for success at the university level and beyond, including three recently released studies on the US postsecondary performance of IB students. The complete study, and others, can be downloaded at: http://www.ibo.org/research/programmevalidation/