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Research on the Implementation of IB in Ecuador's State Schools



The International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization has worked for many years to develop and guide the implementation of four programs designed to create strong schools, well prepared teachers, and high quality learning experiences that result in positive student outcomes. A substantial body of prior research shows that this has been accomplished. Evaluations indicate that graduates of IB programs are highly successful in the next level of education. Their best known program is the high school level Diploma Program (DP). 

The Government of Ecuador has shown an exceptionally high level of support for IB education. As a result, Ecuador has one of the largest populations of DP participants in Latin America with 708 DP candidates in 2011. As of 2012, there were 51 IB-authorized schools in the country, including 50 offering the DP program. In addition, there were over 60 schools in the process of seeking authorization as IB schools. The Ministry of Education provided resources and support for the development of IB schools and programs in all of the country’s 24 provinces.


About the Project


NCREST conducted a research project in collaboration with the IB Organization and two Ecuadorian research partners. This study investigated Ecuador’s state schools’ experience with implementing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Our research questions were: 

  • How is DP implemented in Ecuador state schools?
  • What are the challenges in implementing the program?
  • What is the impact on the schools and students participating in the program?
  • What factors are critical to the sustainability of the programs? 

In order to address these questions, the study used a mixed methods design and drew on the following forms of data collection. 

  • Interviews with Ministry of Education Officers and IB regional officers to understand the administrative side of implementing and running the programs. 
  • Visits to four state schools to see the DP in action and observe the culture and salient practices of the schools.  While at the schools, we interviewed school heads, DP coordinators, teachers and parents. 
  • Online surveys of state and private IB school teachers and DP coordinators to understand the similarities and differences in experiences between the two types of schools. 
  • Analysis of student enrollment and performance data to detect patterns and trends in their participation in DP and achievement over time. 


For more information, contact Elisabeth Barnett at

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