IB is top passport to international education

New research highlights the views of university admissions officers from UK, US and Europe

 

A survey amongst UK, US and European university admissions officers highlights that the IB Diploma is more highly regarded than each regions ‘native’ examination system.

The sixth annual survey of university admissions officers, commissioned by ACS International Schools, asked admissions personnel to rate the strength of nine different attributes (see notes) for both the IB Diploma and the ‘native’ examination system in their country.  In the US and Europe the IB Diploma was ranked more highly in all nine categories, while in the UK it outperformed A-levels in every category bar developing detailed subject knowledge.

The IB Diploma consistently scored highly for its ability to develop independent inquiry skills in students, universally ranked as the number one determinant of academic success at university.

Beyond independent inquiry skills, UK admissions officers rated the IB highly for developing an open mind and the ability to cope under pressure.  American admissions officers also ranked the IB highly against the high school diploma for encouraging ability to cope under pressure, together with good self-management skills.  In Europe, admissions officers valued the IB Diploma for developing business skills such as team working and presentation skills.

Jeremy Lewis, Head of School at ACS Egham International School, said:

“Countries around the world are reviewing their education systems to make sure young people get the education they need for life and work in an unpredictable global environment.  It is timely to review and compare attitudes towards the pre-university qualifications across these three regions.  More young people are looking to expand their educational and work horizons and they and their parents need to have confidence in the qualifications they’re gaining and their currency / standing across the world.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

 

  • More students to select from: Over three quarters ofUK university admissions officers and 85 per cent ofUS university admissions officers report that they have more students to select from this year compared to last year; interestingly the figure last year forUK universities was 95 per cent.
  •  The UK outlook is uncertain: WhilstUS admissions officers are confident this upward trend in student numbers will continue next year, theUK admissions officers are much more pessimistic with 44 per cent not expecting to have so many students to select from next year.
  • US assessment criteria: US university admissions officers have a wide range of information to draw from when assessing candidates.  The vast majority use both grade point average and SATs.  However, the Advanced Placement course is still popular in theUS with over a third of respondents using it to evaluate student applications and 70 per cent agreeing that developments to the AP are useful in light of grade inflation.
  • IB growth in US and Europe: The IB Diploma is continuing to grow in many parts of the world with 65 per cent of American admissions officers and 52 per cent of European admissions officers (excludingUK) saying that they have seen an increase in student applicants. Almost seven per cent of applicants to US universities now have the IB Diploma, even though the qualification is only offered in around two per cent of American high schools.
  • Patchier growth in UK: The picture is slightly different in the UK, with 49 per cent of admissions officers seeing no increase in applications from students offering the IB Diploma.  This perhaps reflects recent reports warning that some state schools in the UK may be forced to drop the IB due to funding cuts.
  • Breadth of IB study valued: The IB Diploma was unanimously valued for its breadth of study and praised for continuing study in maths, English and a science.

 

Jeremy Lewis, Head of School atACSEghamInternationalSchool, commented:

“ACS International Schools has over 30 years’ experience in delivering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, so we welcome the news that the qualification is so highly thought of by university admissions officers from theUK, US andEurope.  This year’s survey results demonstrate overwhelming support for the IB Diploma across the globe.

“It is noteworthy that university admissions highlight independent inquiry as the most important for skill for academic success at university – this is a key skill nurtured by the IB Diploma.  This  positive endorsement of the qualification will be very reassuring to all IB Diploma graduates this week as they embark on their higher education journey, wherever that may be.”

 

 –          ends –

Notes:

 

 

Exam attributes tables:

 How strong an element would you say each of the following is, comparing your own exam system and the IB Diploma? 

1= very small element

5 = very strong element

 

UK universities

 

Score out of 5

A levels

IB

Diploma

Difference

 

n.

n.

n.

An  open mind

3.2

4.0

0.8

Business skills such a team working and presentation skills

3.0

3.8

0.8

An  ability to manage independent inquiry

3.3

3.9

0.6

Good self management  skills

3.4

3.9

0.5

Good  communication skills

3.3

3.8

0.5

Able to take risks

2.7

3.1

0.4

Creativity

3.1

3.5

0.4

An ability to cope with pressure

4.0

4.0

0.0

Detailed subject knowledge

4.0

3.9

-0.1

Total difference

 

 

3.3

 

US universities

 

Score out of 5

High School

Diploma

IB

Diploma

 

Difference
 

n.

n.

n.

An  open mind

3.1

3.6

0.5

Business skills such a team working and presentation skills

3.3

3.8

0.5

An  ability to manage independent inquiry

3.4

4.3

0.9

Good self management  skills

3.3

4.3

1.0

Good  communication skills

2.8

3.7

0.9

Able to take risks

3.1

3.8

0.7

Creativity

2.9

3.8

0.9

An ability to cope with pressure

3.4

4.3

0.9

Detailed subject knowledge

3.8

4.4

0.6

Total difference

 

 

6.9

 

European universities

 

Score out of 5

Own main exam

IB

Diploma

 

Difference

 

n.

n.

n.

An  open mind

3.6

3.8

0.2

Business skills such a team working and presentation skills

3.4

4.0

0.6

An  ability to manage independent inquiry

3.9

4.1

0.2

Good self management  skills

3.4

4.0

0.6

Good  communication skills

3.7

4.2

0.5

Able to take risks

3.1

3.5

0.4

Creativity

3.2

3.4

0.2

An ability to cope with pressure

3.5

4.0

0.5

Detailed subject knowledge

3.6

3.7

0.1

Net difference

 

 

3.3

 

The research project was devised and delivered by the Twelve Consultancy on behalf of ACS International Schools.

The survey was carried out by an independent organisation working to Market Research Society (MRS) standards.  This guarantees the anonymity and confidentiality of respondents, and the quality of the interviewing and administrative processes. The fieldwork was conducted by telephone with follow-up email questionnaires between April 18th and May 27th 2011.

Respondents were invited to take part in a prize draw to win up to £250 for themselves or their chosen charity from all the completed surveys of their geographical zone, theUK, US orEurope.

TheUKsample (61) was designed to ensure the sample was spread across the different university mission groups.

 

The profile of theUKsample is as follows:

 

 

%

n

 

 

 

Russell Group

15

9

1994 Group

13

8

Million Plus

23

14

UniversityAlliance

13

8

Guild HE

10

6

Unaffiliated devolved region

11

7

Unaffiliated ‘other’

15

9

TotalUKsample

100

61

TheUSsample (20) was drawn from the top 250 universities as defined by the US News and World News ranking, which includes private and state run institutions. The universities in theUSsample are drawn from the following states:

 

Arizona
Florida
Illinois
Iowa
Missouri
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
South Dakota
Tennessee
WashingtonDC

 

The sample of European universities (31) was selected from the publically available lists of state and private universities in each country. The universities in the European sample are drawn from the following countries:

 

Austria
Belgium
CzechRepublic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Netherlands
Portugal
Spain
Sweden

 

 


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