IB Diploma results 2021: Scores up despite Covid impact

Option of either exam or non-exam routes due to pandemic also leads to a rise in overall Diploma pass rate

Catherine Lough

Exam results

The average score for the International Baccalaureate Diploma has risen on the previous year after candidates were given a dual route option of either exam or non-exam assessments in 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Specifically, the average score for the May 2021 session was 33.02 points, up from 31.34 in May 2020. The diploma pass rate has also risen to 88.96 per cent, up from 85.18 per cent in 2020.


News: IB results day 2020: Average score up to four-year high

News: IB achieves worldwide growth with entries up by a fifth

Exclusive: Teacher supply a global issue, says IB boss


On Tuesday, over 170,000 candidates worldwide will receive their results for the diploma and career-related programmes from May.

This year the IB held a dual route for grading, with schools in some countries taking exams while others awarded grades through teacher assessment.

Out of 170,660 students, 104,275 were in the non-exam route and 65,576 in the exam route, with 809 split between both routes.

This year has also seen a rise in top scores, with 15,513 achieving 40-45 points, up from 9,701 in May 2020 and an average diploma grade of 5.19, up from 4.95 in May 2020.

Olli-Pekka Heinonen, director general of the International Baccalaureate, said the results were testament to the hard work of teachers and pupils across the world and also claimed the outcome also showed the new models for assessments created had worked fairly.

"A key responsibility of the IB this year has been to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged by the pandemic, including in their applications to university and higher education. The many changes we have made to this summer’s session are part of this commitment to ensure students are not affected by the hugely challenging circumstances in which they have been learning," he said.

"We understand the pressure being put on the whole education system by Covid-19, and we thank all our partners, including universities, for their support and understanding as we have navigated our way through this challenging time.”

On the decision to adopt the dual route system, the IB Heads Council said: "We believe that the IB's approach to the May 2021 examination session – in which schools that could sit the exams did so – was the fairest possible solution.

"We also believe the non-exam route for allocating results to students who were unable to take exams was fair, clear and allowed for grades to be distributed that reflect their achievements and abilities."

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

Latest stories

Ministers seem to think schools are wasting money - in fact, schools are experts in cutting costs, says James Bowen

Why international teachers should receive financial CPD

There's a lot to learn working in another country - not least the financial situation and how to use your money wisely, which is why perhaps a CPD session or two would be a worthwhile investment
David Keating 30 Jul 2021