IB results 'scandal': Students demand new grades

International Baccalaureate students petition for refunds and remarks as schools query how grades have been calculated

Catherine Lough

IB grades

Hundreds of International Baccalaureate students have condemned this year's results as a "scandal" after receiving lower-than-expected grades in a system accused of lacking transparency.

Results were released yesterday for over 170,000 students who had taken the IB Diploma Programme. This year, after exams were cancelled, results were calculated based on teacher predictions, historical data and internal assessments.

Overall, there was a rise in the average score for the DP worldwide, but school leaders have criticised the lack of "transparency" over the grading process, and some teachers and students have been shocked by significantly lower-than-expected results.

Hundreds of students have spoken about their disappointment and frustration over their grades on social media, with many using the hashtag #IBscandal.

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Watch: How results were achieved without exams

"Is there a particular reason why I got a 7 in my IA [internal assessment], a 6 predicted and ended up getting a 5?" one student asked on Twitter.

IB results day 2020: 'I cannot fathom these grades'

Students have even reported being blocked by the IB's Twitter account after voicing their concerns online. 

One school coordinator described how they were "baffled" to see students achieving 41 points out of a possible 45 in their school work and teacher predictions drop to 32 points.

Students have started an online petition with more than 1,500 signatures, calling for refunds and free remarks for the May 2020 results.  

It says that students graduating now have "wasted two years of their high-school life and had their future almost certainly doomed" by a system "which assesses students not based on their work but based on the work of their predecessors in their respective school".

The petition says that tens of thousands of students will have received the wrong grades and condemns the use of historical data to feed into the grading model as discriminatory.

The IB has said it understands there have been "mixed emotions" regarding the outcomes this year, and that it used students' coursework, school predicted grades and historic assessment data to calculate grades for this year.

"Prior to the attribution of final grades, this process was subjected to rigorous testing by educational statistical specialists to ensure our methods were robust. It was also checked against the last five years’ sets of results data, to ensure that it would provide reliable and valid grades for students," an IB spokesperson said.

The IB said the stability of its results had been maintained for this exam series and that it was confident it had awarded grades in the "fairest and most robust way possible" this year. 

WATCH: How the IB delivered grades without exams this year

Tes spoke with Paul Teulon, head of global recognition at the International Baccalaureate, about how the organisation worked to provide students with grades despite no formal exams taking place this year and what this could mean for the future of IB assessments. Watch the interview below:


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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