An International Baccalaureate program created in Switzerland for the children of diplomats has produced “dramatic’’ results in Chicago’s gritty neighborhood high schools by sizeably boosting the chances its graduates will make it into selective colleges — and stay there, a new study concludes.
Those students who completed a Chicago neighborhood IB program were more than 40 percent more likely to attend a four-year college and 50 percent more likely to go to a selective or better college than similar students, an analysis by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research found.
And, such students were significantly more likely to stay in a four-year college for at least two years.
Researchers have yet to find any other Chicago Public School program or reform — including expanded Advanced Placement classes and efforts to institute a college-prep curriculum for all — that has increased the chances students stay in college, said one of the study’s authors, Melissa Roderick.
“This is the bottomline, and this is something: ...This is the first time I’ve seen the effects of anything on college persistence,’’ said Roderick, Consortium senior director. “This had an incredible impact.’’
Roderick said she thought then-Schools CEO Paul Vallas and then-School Board President Gery Chico were “crazy” in 1997 when they announced an ambitious plan to open International Baccalaureate programs — tied to international standards — in a dozen hardscrabble CPS neighborhood high schools, making Chicago’s IB reach the largest in the nation. At the time, the only CPS IB program was a highly-exclusive one at Lincoln Park High.