Challenges of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme: Insights for school leaders and policy makers




Middle Years Programme, teaching, school leadership, challenges, pedagogy, curriculum


Policy makers in the US and several other countries are recommending that more schools offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. However, little is known about the challenges that IB programmes present for teaching and learning particularly those meeting national curriculum.  In this study, we examined the challenges of the IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP), the least understood and researched of the IB programmes. Using a qualitative case study design, we conducted in-depth and semi-structured interviews with school leaders (n=7) and teachers (n=10) from three schools in Australia that previously offered the MYP. We used thematic analysis to generate the findings and the IB’s Standards and Practice framework to organize the reporting of findings. Participants shared perceived challenges related to philosophical factors, organizational dilemmas and complexities with integrating the MYP with Australia’s national curriculum. Understanding the organizational and leadership challenges that schools may face when offering the MYP can help policy makers promote the necessary conditions for successful program implementation.



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Author Biographies

Anisah Dickson, Murdoch University

Anisah Dickson completed her Doctor of Education at Murdoch University in Western Australia. In her thesis, she explored why Australian schools are letting go of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. International education is an area of interest due to her wealth of experience teaching English for six years at an International Baccalaureate accredited school in Singapore. She analysed issues in international education as part of her Master of Education, specialising in Leadership, Policy and Change.


Laura Perry, Murdoch University

Laura B. Perry is Professor of comparative education, sociology of education, and education policy at Murdoch University. She conducts research about inequalities of educational opportunities, experiences and outcomes as they occur between schools and education systems, and the policies and structures that shape them. She is particularly interested in the causes and consequences of school socioeconomic segregation. Her interest in International Baccalaureate programmes is based on its potential to develop a wide range of student outcomes and to reduce educational inequalities.


Susan Ledger, University of Newcastle

Professor Susan Ledger is Dean of Education at University of Newcastle. She is an advocate for the teaching profession and committed to preparing graduates to teach in diverse contexts around the globe.  Her research explores the intersection of international and rural education policy and practices. She recently introduced simulation into initial teacher education within Australia. Susan draws on a broad experiential base in rural, remote and international school settings and university contexts.




How to Cite

Dickson, A., Perry, L., & Ledger, S. (2021). Challenges of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme: Insights for school leaders and policy makers. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(August - December), 137.