International Baccalaureate Programs: Longer term outcomes

Project Lead

Dr Katie Wright

Project Details

A qualitative study that explored the influence of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs on the lives of IB graduates.

Since its inception in the late 1960s, the International Baccalaureate (IB) has played a major role in the field of international education. A key aim of the original Diploma Program that remains central to the IB mission today is the provision of ‘education for a better world’. At the heart of this vision is a commitment to educational programs that foster engaged and active world citizens, and facilitate the development of personal dispositions and social values that include a love of learning, civic participation, and international mindedness.

This qualitative study explored what a small group of IB graduates identified as significant and lasting influences of participation in IB programs. Study participants included 23 people who took part in IB programs in a range of geographic locations and different school types, from the late 1960s to the 2010s. Drawing on a life history and case study approach, the project sought to provide in-depth insights into IB alumni perceptions of the impact of the IB over the life course, including in relation to their social values, beliefs, and worldviews, as well as professional pathways, community involvement, and attitudes towards cultural diversity and lifelong learning.

The findings from this study suggest a multiplicity of influences for the majority of people interviewed, including profound and long-lasting effects for some. These encompass influences on academic and career trajectories, as well as dispositional orientations and social values.


This study was conducted by Dr Katie Wright, with research assistance provided by Emma Buchanan. Approval to conduct research for this project was provided by the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Melbourne (HREC 1340625).


This research was funded by the International Baccalaureate (2013-2014).

Published Research

Research Report
Wright, K. 2015. International Baccalaureate programmes: Longer-term outcomes. Bethesda, MD, USA. International Baccalaureate Organization.

Research Summary
Wright, K. 2015. International Baccalaureate programmes: Longer-term outcomes. Research Summary. Bethesda, MD, USA. International Baccalaureate Organization.

Conference Presentation
Wright, K. and E. Buchanan (2014). Fostering International Mindedness: Reflections from former IB students, 1970s-2010s. Paper presented in Featured Symposium: The International Baccalaureate: Transnational Learning Spaces and Transnational Ideas. (Chair, Bradley Shrimpton), Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, December, 2014, Brisbane.