This paper is a report on preliminary investigations into the uses which national (as distinct from expatriate) students make of international school-level qualifications. It reviews some of the qualifications that are available and the organisations that market them. Representative examples of data obtained from various schools offering these qualifications in different countries are presented and then discussed. Patterns from these examples indicate that those taking these examinations are invariably national elites, but their reasons for taking them do vary. While access to overseas universities is a reason for some, this is by no means universal and other reasons relate to perceptions of the educational quality of both the schools and the curricula and to the access that international qualifications may give to the international community. The need for a theoretical framework before further data collection and analysis is carried out is discussed and some possibilities are mentioned.
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