Coronavirus: IB coursework deadline extended

The International Baccalaureate is 'working on the assumption' exams will go ahead but offering support to students

Catherine Lough

Coronavirus: The International Baccalaureate is extending deadlines but is 'working on the assumption' that exams will go ahead as normal

The International Baccalaureate has extended its deadlines for schools currently closed because of the coronavirus outbreak in an update to its website.

And it has said it is "looking into" options for pupils who cannot sit exams and providing students with "official documentation for use with university admissions in the event that they are unable to sit some or all of their examinations".

The IB has extended its deadlines for its eCoursework early component, internal assessments and externally assessed components for film, dance, music, theatre and visual arts, along with a number of other coursework and portfolio components for schools closed because of Covid-19.

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Theatre, dance, music and film are all regarded as "high risk" components of assessment, as performances require collaboration with other students or access to specialist equipment. The IB has extended the submission date for these to 30 May and advised that schools should contact the organisation if closures continue beyond this point.

The impact of coronavirus on exams

And for quarantined candidates studying visual arts, it advised photographing their work rather than exhibiting paintings or sculptures. 

It added that "it is important to note that while the IB will make every effort to ensure that student work is marked for issue of results, with the evolving nature of this situation and increasing number of students impacted, there may be a situation where students will receive a pending grade for subjects where coursework was received too close to issue of results."

It said that if schools impacted by the coronavirus require additional help with assessment, they should contact the IB's Adverse Circumstances team.

The organisation also said it is looking into how it can best support pupils who cannot take exams.

It said it is working on "official documentation for use with university admissions" for pupils who cannot sit exams.

In the event that it has 50 per cent of a candidate's assessment components, it will use the "long-standing process" of a "missing mark procedure" to estimate pupils' grades.

However, the IB said it would "work on the assumption" that schools could receive papers from 16 to 24 April as usual.

It said it would be impossible to change or move its exams schedule, as "creating examinations for over 200,000 global students each year takes a considerable amount of work, with the work beginning at least 18 months before the date that students will finally sit the exam paper".

"In addition, the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is affecting different parts of the world at different times and is a rapidly evolving situation. Currently, there are schools globally who are not affected and whose students are preparing to take their examinations in May, while for other schools, it is not yet certain that they will be open for the exams.

"Even if we were able to move the examination session, we may find the same problem as now, with some schools able to sit the exams and others not."

It also said it would be impossible to create an additional exams season between May and November as there was not "sufficient time" to prepare papers. 

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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