How the IB is awarding Diploma Programme results - May 2020

Dear Head of School/Coordinator,
 
I hope that this message reaches you safe and well as our global IB community faces the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on all aspects of our daily lives.
 
Following our announcement regarding the cancellation of the Diploma Programme May 2020 examinations we have continued to work as quickly as possible to support schools and provide information to our community. I want to thank you for the tremendous efforts you undertook to submit all of your students’ coursework, teacher comments and predicted grades. Over 500,000 pieces of work were submitted by the 20 April deadline. We knew that this was a lot to ask and we are grateful for your dedication and commitment for the benefit of our students. Because of your commitment we are now able to begin the process of assessing and grade awarding. We plan to do our best so that our students can receive their results on 5 July and continue on with their future plans.
 
We are now writing to share more details around the methods we will be using to assess students work and award results. We know you have been wanting this information. We are committed to sharing details with our schools first and will continue to do so.
 
Assessing students’ work and awarding results
In order to assess the coursework components for your students, we have worked closely with our Chief and Principal examiners to deliver training to our network of over 13,000 external examiners. Examiners have begun marking the components and we will use our existing methods to monitor examiner marking to ensure reliability.
 
Once we have the coursework marks, we will use the method we have developed to arrive at grades for each student. This method uses historical data alongside data from this session and predicted grades. We are working with educational statistical specialists to ensure our methods are well tested. We have checked this method against the past five years’ sets of data to ensure that it provides reliable and valid grades for students.
 
As always, we will ensure our processes uphold the validity and reliability of IB results. We have also been in peer-to-peer conversations with other examination bodies about a set of high-level principles which will underpin our methods and theirs in this unprecedented situation.
 
You can read more about how we are assessing student work, awarding results and the overarching principles here.
 
Listen to Paula Wilcock, Chief Assessment Officer, alongside our assessment experts, further detail the methods used to assess student work and award grades in these unprecedented circumstances in this video.
 
Release of Results
The IB intends to release results as planned on 5 July 2020. Should there be a change to this date we will inform you as soon as we can.
 
Recognition
The IB has been in regular communication with universities across the globe and in particular, has been focusing on those who we know from historic data enrol the most IB students. We have provided university partners with clear information about the coursework that has been completed during the student's participation in the two years of the DP, and the overall process by which final marks were determined in this unprecedented event. We will continue to ensure the validity and reliability of our assessment protocols.
 
Many universities themselves are having to make similar adaptations when awarding their degrees, as final university examinations have been cancelled in many countries, so they fully understand the circumstances we all find ourselves in. We have surveyed universities regarding their acceptance of the May 2020 IB results and have received very positive feedback with regards to the provisions that we have put in place. The final results of the survey will be summarised and communicated to schools later in May.
 
We have also been in dialogue with ministries of education, education regulators and other similar bodies across the world to ensure that they too are confident with our approach and that students will be appropriately recognised. You can hear more about these efforts directly from our Head of Global Recognition, Paul Teulon in this video.
 
Resources
In addition to the more detailed explanation of our assessment principles and practices for awarding results for May 2020, we have also provided an interactive set of slides which we hope you will find useful to support conversations with your school community about how student’s work will be assessed.
 
As an organization, it is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our global community of IB World Schools are based on compassion for our students and teachers and, fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing. We are grateful for your patience, collaboration and the support you have given to our students whilst we have all worked to provide the best possible outcomes in this extraordinary situation.
 
Equally importantly, we are grateful that the students have been well prepared by you for two years and the experience they have gained in the IB programmes will last them a lifetime.
 
We will continue to share important information directly with you as we have updates. Our COVID-19 FAQS are updated daily and can be shared with your wider school community. As always, we ask you to contact support@ibo.org if you have further questions or need specific support.
 
Keep Well,
 
Siva Kumari
Director General