A Study of Successful Practices in the IB Programme Continuum

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Professor Philip Hallinger
Professor Allan Walker
Professor Edmond Law
Professor Moosung Lee
Funding Source
International Baccalaureate


Although the educational reform environment in Hong Kong remains crowded, two key issues are never far from the centre of debate. These are the quality and place of school leadership and the improvement in student outcomes. This study is based on the premise that if school leadership is to hold real meaning it must be framed predominantly in terms of student outcomes, and it brings together these two issues for the first time in research in Hong Kong. Drawing on a current landmark project in the UK, and on previous research into school leadership and a range of student outcomes in Hong Kong secondary schools. Specifically, it will determine the extent to which variation in how leadership is conceptualized and practiced. It will also determine both the direct and indirect influence of leadership on in-school factors and student outcomes. A mixed method approach will combine quantitative and qualitative methods to provide both a comprehensive picture of the relationship across Hong Kong secondary schools as well as rich descriptions drawn from selected case study schools. Outcomes of the research are expected to enhance theoretical understanding of school leadership generally and expand knowledge of leadership effects specifically in Hong Kong. Findings can be subsequently used to inform education policy makers and hold tremendous potential for future school leadership development programmes in Hong Kong.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a global leader in international education, encouraging students to be active learners, well-rounded individuals, and engaged world citizens. Having grown dramatically in recent years in response to the burgeoning demand for high quality international curriculum, there is a need to document school practices associated with successful program implementation and positive student outcomes that result from the IB curriculum. 

The purpose of the current project is to document the strategies and practices used by IB schools to promote positive student outcomes across the world and within the Asia Pacific region. More specifically, this project aims to gather information that can be used internally for programme development purposes within the IB organization and community of schools, as well as externally for public communication and relations. The project will focus primarily on schools that offer the full continuum of IB programmes and will involve three main components:

  1. Analysis of data from a global survey of IB coordinators to attain a broad picture of successful practices used by IB schools internationally; 
  2. A multi-method, case study of one successful IB school located in the Asia Pacific region to gain an in-depth understanding of IB programme implementation and articulation, and
  3. Interview-based case studies of several additional IB schools in East Asia to provide a more comprehensive picture of differences and similarities in IB implementation among schools in East Asia.