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Optimising meritocratic advantage with the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Australian schools

Doherty, Catherine A. (2012) Optimising meritocratic advantage with the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Australian schools. Critical Studies in Education, 53(2), pp. 183-196.

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Abstract

This paper explores two of the tensions Tarc (2009) identifies in the history of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: firstly between its design for meritocratic competition and its internationalist vision; and secondly between the IB as a global commodity and its localised interpretations. Using data from three case studies of Australian schools offering both the IB Diploma and the local government curriculum, and student responses to an online survey across 26 such schools, the analysis shows how choices behind the IB’s growing popularity foreground strategies for optimising meritocratic competition. Framed through Bourdieu’s concepts of field and ‘rules of the game’, the analysis shows how students act on their own comparative analyses of each curriculum to optimise their chances to access desirable university pathways within the local rules of the game for university placement. Schools are shown to offer the IB Diploma to recruit and retain academically ambitious students by pooling their relative advantage in different local ecologies. Students are shown to carefully evaluate the benefits and costs of the IB choice. The conclusion reflects on how the choice of the IB Diploma for meritocratic advantage by some might change conditions for others not choosing it.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
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0 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 50692
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Bourdieu, curriculum, globalisation and internationalisation, meritocracy, optimisation
DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2012.672329
ISSN: 1750-8487
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Taylor and Francis
Deposited On: 01 Jun 2012 10:40
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2014 16:04

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