IB students hold an advantage when it comes to critical thinking, new research reveals

In today’s ever-changing society, schools seek ways to teach students the skills needed for success beyond the classroom, which can be transferred to both higher education and the world of work.

A recent study by University of Oxford finds that International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students exhibit significantly stronger critical thinking skills than their non-IB peers. The results of the year-long study also show that both individual DP courses and unique components of the DP curriculum, such as the theory of knowledge (TOK) course, offer opportunities for developing these key critical thinking skills.

Previous studies indicate that critical thinking skills are key factors of individual and collective success, which is why these skills are sought after by students, parents, schools and universities. In addition to TOK, the extended essay is highlighted by students as shaping critical thinking development in the IB.

Jo Sale, Vice Principal, Impington International College, said: “Education is about equipping our students with key skills for life alongside application of knowledge. The IB is a beneficial choice of post-16 education for students as it ensures that they have studied a breadth of subjects whilst also benefiting from a depth of knowledge at higher level, which is critical in order to understand the world around them; and through this, they are able to learn and develop skills such as critical thinking, which is built into all IB programmes. By developing these skills, our students are well-rounded yet academically focused individuals who are able to confidently progress into the next stages of their education journey.”