Program transition challenges in International Baccalaureate schools

Philip HALLINGER, Moo Sung LEE, Allan David WALKER

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19 Citations (Scopus)


International Baccalaureate (IB) schools have experienced dramatic growth worldwide over the past decade in response to burgeoning demand for high-quality education with an international orientation. One increasingly common trend has found international schools adopting two or more of the three programs offered by the IB: the Diploma, Middle Years and Primary Years programs. While the IB’s three academic programs cover the full K-12 education continuum, they were developed in an evolutionary rather than a strategic fashion and operate with very different curricular assumptions. Thus schools adopting multiple IB programs have reported a variety of ‘transition problems’ as students move from one program to the next. In light of these reports, the IB undertook a global survey of IB Program Coordinators in 2008 with the goal of better understanding the extent and nature of this problem. In this study we analyze those data in an effort to understand the challenges that schools are experiencing as they seek to support students in making a successful transition from the Middle Years Program to the Diploma Program. We also highlight differences in the challenges faced by partial continuum and full continuum IB schools and offer recommendations for addressing the ‘transition problems’ identified in the study. Copyright © The Author(s) 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
JournalJournal of Research in International Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


Hallinger, P., Lee, M., & Walker, A. (2011). Program transition challenges in International Baccalaureate schools. Journal of Research in International Education, 10(2), 123-136. doi: 10.1177/1475240911407976


  • Program implementation
  • Partial continuum schools
  • MYP–DP transition
  • Full continuum schools
  • International Baccalaureate


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