Personal Project:
How does the IB Middle Years Programme’s Capstone Experience Impact Students, Educators, and
School Communities?

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Principal Investigators
Dr Darren Bryant
Associate Professor
and Associate Director of APCLC
The Education University of Hong Kong

Dr Ewan Wright
Assistant Professor
and Research Fellow of APCLC
The Education University of Hong Kong
Prof Allan Walker
Research Chair Professor
and Co-Director of APCLC
The Education University of Hong Kong

Dr Chrysa Keung
Assistant Professor
Department of Eduction Policy and Leadership
The Education University of Hong Kong
Team Advisors
Prof Sylvia Tang
Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching)
Faculty of Education and Human Development
The Education University of Hong Kong

Dr Gail Yuen
Associate Professor
Department of Education Policy and Leadership
The Education University of Hong Kong
Funding Source
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Project Duration
2020/21 - 2021/22
Final Report



The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) worldwide expansion has a significant impact on increasing numbers of students, teachers and community members. By July 2020, 5,381 IB schools worldwide offered at least one programme amongst the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), Diploma Programme (DP), and Careers-related Programme (CP). These programmes combine educational approaches associated with whole-person development, student-centered pedagogy, and a global outlook with academic rigour. The IB’s Learner Profile articulates related student attributes that guide programme implementation, namely: balanced, caring, communicators, inquirers, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, reflective, risk-takers, and thinkers. These address cognitive, conative, affective, and social learning domains and aim to enable young people to thrive in globally integrated and technologically advanced societies .

The MYP – for 11 to 16-year olds – was launched in 1994. Over the last 26 years, 1,611 schools have adopted the MYP, including 347 in Africa, Europe and Middle East, 986 in the Americas, and 269 in Asia Pacific. A central feature of the MYP is an externally moderated Personal Project (PP) that serves as a capstone learning opportunity for students in their final MYP year. There is, however, a lack of research on the PP, and more generally on the MYP, especially globally . Research has examined the outcomes of MYP graduates taking the DP, MYP implementation and its influence on teaching and learning in schools across different contexts , and similarities between the MYP and other curricula. However, despite its centrality to the MYP, findings focused on the PP have emerged from small scale or single country research only, with few focusing exclusively on the PP. Consequently, a research gap remains in multi-country studies exploring the PP’s impacts on students, teachers, and communities.

The research comprises a multi-country study on the impact of the PP on students, educators, and school communities. More specifically, the research will:

Goal 1: Use extant IB data to examine how MYP students’ PP completion associates with subsequent performance in the DP. The research team will conduct quantitative analysis for examining the associations between MYP students’ scores on PP, EE, and the DP. With the hierarchically nested data, multilevel analysis will be conducted to examine the within-student and between-school variations. The score differences between MYP and non-MYP students will be examined to assess the performance impact of students with PP experience. Further cross-year comparison will be carried out between two groups to test the invariance.

Goal 2: Gather interview data from six schools across six jurisdictions that cover the IB’s three regions: (1) Africa, Europe and the Middle East, (2) The Americas, and (3) Asia Pacific. In-depth interviews and focus groups will be conducted with principals/vice-principals, MYP and DP coordinators, PP supervisors and coordinators, Extended Essays (EE) supervisors and coordinators, students who recently completed the PP, and DP students taking the EE. Thematic and cross-case analyses will explore the impacts of the PP experience on students, educators, and school communities.

Goal 3: Compare quantitative and qualitative datasets to investigate (a) context-specific nuances that impact PP outcomes and (b) the generalisability or transferability of study findings.