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Update for May 2021 Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme examination session.

Updated: Jan 6

IBO announced a dual route to the May 2021 assessments. How will it affect the candidates?

Last week, the IB announced a dual route to the May 2021 assessments. This was undertaken only after extensive consultation with our global IB community, including a survey of all our schools. A dedicated team has spent time speaking to schools following the survey to gain further insight.

The IB is working with schools to determine which of the two pathways is best for their region: written examinations, where they can be administered safely, or an alternative route using a combination of internal assessment coursework and teacher-predicted grades, where they can’t.

Today, the International Baccalaureate has begun the process of contacting schools to confirm whether they will sit exams this May or take the non-exam route we have developed for those that are still impacted by mandated closures or restrictions.

As of 4 February 2021, roughly 71% schools (61% of students) have indicated that they will be able to administer the exams.

During grade-awarding, appropriate grade boundaries will be set for each route, building in generosity that reflects the disruption experienced in teaching and learning around the world and considering how grades are likely to be distributed in other large-scale qualifications.

IB grades will be distributed between schools and students to ensure each individual qualification is an accurate reflection of achievement and that they can be fairly compared with one another. Unlike some other systems, the IB's extensive use of coursework allows for this.

Reflecting the fact that May 2020 predicted grades were higher than in previous years, the IB will recommend generous guidelines within which teachers will be asked to submit their predictions. Where teachers feel these predicted grade distributions are not aligned with student performance, the IB is developing a process that will allow schools to request a different grade distribution and provide evidence that supports their claim. This will form part of the predicted grade process in February and March.

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