‘Huge’ changes to International Baccalaureate exams

Changes to exams in 2021 are being introduced to address the loss of teaching time, says the IB in a letter to schools

Claudia Civinini

Coronavirus: The International Baccalaureate has made changes to next year's exams

The International Baccalaureate has unveiled a series of changes to next year's exams for its Diploma and Career-related programmes.

Twenty-eight examinations have either had components removed, requirements amended or both, to take account of teaching time lost to the coronavirus. This includes six science and six arts subjects and it represents almost all exams offered by the organisation.

The changes will also affect seven exams based on school syllabuses.


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The core exams of both programmes, and another seven exams, have been left unchanged but with a note that changes can be “made, as necessary, during standardisation, marking, and grade awarding”.The deputy head of Bryanston School, a UK independent school, described the changes as “huge”.

International Baccalaureate makes exam changes for next year

In a tweet, David James said: “Implications [are] far-reaching for all Y13 IB students and teachers.

The International Baccalaureate has explained the move as a response to concerns regarding loss of teaching time.

In a document sent to school leaders, seen by Tes, the International Baccalaureate said it was making the changes “in response to requests from our community to mitigate the loss of instructional time and logistical challenges" and to "help IB schools plan for a manageable, practical and achievable teaching and learning experience in the new school year”.

Mr James told Tes that the changes were necessary in these challenging times.

He said: "I welcome these changes: they are extensive, but necessary, in these challenging times.   In removing certain examination papers the IB is responding to the very real concerns teachers have about how they would be able to fit an already demanding amount of content into a compressed academic year. 

"There are bound to questions about whether the content lost will mean the students will be adequately prepared for university, but I'm sure teachers will address any possible gaps. Enough internal and final assessments have been retained to ensure that standards are maintained."

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Claudia Civinini

Claudia Civinini

Find me on Twitter @claudiacivinini

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