A Project to Respond to an IB Self-Study with a Focus on Participation and Success of Hispanic and Low-income Students

This research project was a response to the current IB Self-Study examining the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Western Coast High School (WCHS). The achievement gaps that exist between Hispanic and White students and between socio-economically disadvantaged (SED) and not SED students at WCHS require attention. Research demonstrates that in addition to motivational factors and supportive schooling practices, access to rigorous curriculum can positively affect the academic achievement and motivation of Hispanic and SED students. Using quasi-experimental research design methodologies, this project sought to analyze the participation, motivation, and academic achievement of Hispanic and SED students in the IB program at WCHS by examining CST and CAHSEE scores and results of the adapted Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. Findings suggested that participation of these sub-groups in the Full IB program at WCHS has grown and that several supportive schooling practices have likely contributed to this growth and provided assistance to these students. Challenges that remain include identifying ways to increase outreach, improving awareness of the benefits of the Full IB program for both students and families, and encouraging more students to avail themselves of these benefits through their participation.