IB Stress case study
The following is a sample Paper 3 that looks at a case study of a single school. Below you will first find the stimulus piece, followed by the static questions. A copy of the mock paper is included to give students as an in-class assessment.
Potential answers are included in the hidden boxes below.
Students who are enrolled in academically challenging schools face a multitude of stressors related to increased academic demands in addition to the developmental and biological challenges that are a normal part of adolescence. Suldo et al (2008) carried out a case study of one school’s IB program to see how students cope with stress. The school responded to an advertisement by the researcher, looking for an IB school that had been teaching the program for at least five years but fewer than ten years. The school was a state-run school but with a rigorous testing program in order to be accepted.
Forty-eight students from the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program were randomly selected to participate in eight focus groups, in which participants were grouped by level of anxiety. In addition, several students carried out one on one interviews with the researchers. The researchers also observed several IB HL classes in order to see how students dealt with stress in the classroom.
Before participating in the focus group, anxiety level was determined by participants’ self-report on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Anxiety Problems scale. Participants ranged in age from 15 to 18 years. The low anxiety group consisted of 25 students, 52% of whom were female. The above-average anxiety group consisted of 23 students (83% female).
A single researcher facilitated each 45- to 75-minute focus group while another member of the research team recorded the interviews as well as took field notes. The researcher explained the purpose of the meeting and then posed discussion questions about stress and coping. Participants were asked to describe what they did in response to stress, including behaviours that were effective in helping to cope with the stress. Then, participants were asked to identify reactions to stress that were not effective in helping them cope.
Observations were carried out during the students’ classes to see how they coped with stress. In particular, it was observed how students used time in order to make progress on IA’s or other assessments.
Researchers identified different coping strategies that corresponded to one’s normal level of anxiety. Active problem-solving and avoidance of demands were reported most often among all IB students in this investigation. Students with above-average levels of anxiety discussed seeking social support more often, whereas students with low anxiety more frequently discussed avoiding demands, reducing one’s workload, and seeking positive emotions. Students with low anxiety tended to be more productive with their use of time in the classroom.
1a. Identify the method used and outline two characteristics of the method.
1b. Describe the sampling method used in the study.
1c. Suggest an alternative or additional research method giving one reason for your choice.
2. Describe the ethical considerations that were applied in the study and explain if further ethical considerations could be applied.
3. To what extent could you generalize the findings of this study?