To ALL Parties Interested in the IB 2020 Results

.

A concerned IB parent has brought this situation to our attention: 

In response to the Coronavirus, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) canceled all 2020 final examinations. In their place, a logarithm was substituted which assigned students their final course scores based on teacher-predicted grades, coursework, and historical data.

The results of this logarithmic grading system have sparked cries of injustice as many graduating students across the globe claim to have received surprisingly unexpected, lowered grades, putting their university plans in jeopardy.

A parent reports:  “It has been an ongoing, harrowing situation for students who have been left shell-shocked and ‘lost’ in an already chaotic Covid-19 environment. Look beyond the higher-global average grades boasted on some school websites and you will find individual stories that warrant investigation.”

The major contention by dissatisfied IB school coordinators is that the IBO calculated grades in a manner focused on maintaining global statistical trends at the expense of individual students and did so with a lack of transparency. In other words, in the midst of a global pandemic it is alleged the IBO put their own image above the future of IB students.

A parent reports:  “As a parent who has entrusted the assessment of my children’s academic potential to the IBO, I am particularly troubled by the fact that the IBO has prioritized the needs of institutions over individuals in the methods it has used for generating final grades for students this year.

The IBO needs to stop hiding its inadequacies and uncertainties behind a questionable algorithm which has clearly failed to recognize the individual achievements of thousands upon thousands of students. None of us should be satisfied by the assertion that “many” or “most” candidates did receive grades that they consider to be fair, because that is simply not good enough.

EVERY IB diploma candidate deserves fair grades – or at least, they deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to grades which can make or break their future careers. Parents all over the world have sacrificed the best years of their lives trying to provide what they believe are the best educational opportunities for their children. The IBO has a moral responsibility to families who have trusted and supported the IB Diploma Program and IB World Schools throughout the years.

The IBO needs to publicly acknowledge its own mistakes so that universities can officially and systematically make the necessary adjustments to their conditional offers to M20 IB candidates. This may involve sacrificing some of the credibility of the IB this year, but that would still be better than destroying the futures of thousands of students and their families. Here in Switzerland, schools are appealing to the IBO. Some schools are openly stating their disappointment. My school, The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) is one such school. A Look at the 2020 IB Assessments.”

Sincerely,
A concerned parent

Comments?
Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion

ISR home page

Posted in Uncategorized

57 thoughts on “To ALL Parties Interested in the IB 2020 Results

  1. Have people seen the latest ‘trick’ from the IBO? Now using IAs as the final grade. How is this fair? A piece of work thought to be worth 20% now .. how much? 100%. I KNOW (whether ethical or not) students get help on work done at home from parents, siblings and tutors. How is this now the piece of assessment that determines a students grade in a subject! This all makes me sick.

    Like

  2. I agree that t the ‘IB is a big money business model that sells itself as the most challenging academic program that exists internationally’. What this year happened highlights only the failure of a big bureaucratic and unflexible organization, the IBO. I am also very critical about the fact that in most subjects the exams make 80% of a final grade. I do not believe that these grades mirrors a students learning outcome. The IB needs an essential reform to meet the need of Third Culture Kids worldwide.

    Like

  3. IB elitism is exposed. Algorithms!! What a trial to see what people will tolerate. Wake up to the coming big data technocracy coming with crushing force.

    One World One Dream

    Like

  4. Obviously a lot of people are extremely upset at what the IBO has done and how they did it. It would be really interesting to hear your thoughts on what you think they should have done! This could be a really fruitful discussion.

    Like

    1. JREwing (fan of Dallas? .. sorry had to ask)

      Just off the top of my head:

      1. So one simple approach – take teacher predicted grade and ‘slightly’ scale down. This is an extraordinary year… so students would be assessed ‘softer’. Really so what! Universities will struggle to fill places anyway due to CV-19. Students can get into their courses those who can’t cut it will fail anyway. In the long run, not a big deal.

      2. Another suggestion – plan for and run the exams! Other educational bodies have done so successfully. eg The Swiss system did not take historical data to reach their students final results this year. There are others! Scrap historical data. – This has no real value in an individual students final grades!

      If the IBO claims to be experts in rigorous assessment procedures/models, then for goodness sake work out a way to run the exams – open book, essay response, multiple choice etc etc. The IBO decided too late to cancel. I suggest the needed to plan ahead.

      So now they are looking at November exams re-takes for some. When will they decide what to do?

      Covid- 19 is not going anywhere in a hurry. Work out how to run exams NOW! Students get what they signed up for! the IBO has the authentic data they need. Not every subject will need so much planning in terms of planning for exams we understand that.

      Like

  5. Having taught IBDP for a few years, I honestly am glad that I am moving to a non-IB school. While I am still not enamoured with any high-stakes examination, regardless of who writes it, what the IBO did this year, especially if it is true that scores for this year were developed to maintain statistical integrity, I find at best questionable, at worse, eggregiously incompetent and focused on systemic integrety rather than student learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You think that the IBO is the only one who has done this? We are still waiting to see what Cambridge does!

      Like

  6. What I’d like to know is why the IBO is so incompetent and dilapidated that they had to cancel the exams this year. Why have they procrastinated so long on going digital? The American Advanced Placement organization held their exams this year, conducting many of them orally. (My suspicion is that they’ve procrastinated so much on this in order to collude with so many of the fly-by-night international schools in the world that prioritize profits and “customer service” over learning objectives.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with your (last statement). CISB in Dhaka is now under consideration for IB, when I arrived there in 2015 I found the Gr 11 History students building WW2 tunnels and downloading current events- while the actual textbook was not used-never mind the curriculum (learning objectives) that I found gathering dust in a library that is now shut down to allow a for-profit language school to operate on the already cramped premises !

      Like

  7. I pray you are NOT a teacher! Bright Billy and Thicko Tommy… Seriously?

    “Anonymous says:
    August 7, 2020 at 4:15 am
    Our experience is that the ‘kids at the top’ are actually helped more that the ‘kids at the bottom’ or indeed the ‘kids on the borderline’ – having attended many Parent/Teacher interviews over the years and observing the difference in some Teachers facial reactions when Bright Billy turns up with Mommy and Daddy as opposed to Thicko Tommy and his parents.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m no fan of the IB, but would be interested to know if the accuracy of schools’ predictions was part of the algorithm, and if the largest result disparities were from schools that historically over-predicted grades. The pressure to over-predict from parents and administration can be significant.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I loathe the IBO of the present day as much as the next teacher who has taught in the system since it was a low profile, student centered outfit in the previous century. Nevertheless, every year when DP results come out, there is always plenty of disappointment, disgruntlement and resentment over kids not making their predicted grades and the conditional offers attached to these. The exams are always the bulwark against those complaints; there it is, mom and dad, no arguing with those results. In the absence of that bulwark this year, parents and schools are far more able to cry unfairness, injustice when, in fact, the discrepancy between predicted and achieved grades is not meaningfully different from any other year.

    Like

    1. Entirely inaccurate. The grades achieved in various countries around the world are worse than they have ever been. My daughter’s school has been doing the IB for 40 years – these are the worst ever results, by a massive margin. We have been through the predictions over the last 10 years and the school is around 7% optimistic overall. In my daughter’s case, however, she was predicted 45 and awarded 37. This is not biased parents and spoiled kids demanding grades out of the blue. There is a genuine and massive problem with what has happened here. Do not be fooled by averages – they hide a host of errors.

      Like

  10. This is a very very sad state of affairs. And its shocking that it coming from a world renown organization. The IB has become like a god in international education worshipped all over the world with millions of parents and students putting all their trust in it so that it can provide the means of getting into the top universities. Well, seems like everyone has been deceived. I am so glad I only had about 3 years of experience working in IB schools. A very sad year for the IB Diploma students,

    Like

    1. Nobody is saying the IB is ‘more’ special! The reason ‘IB’ keeps coming up is because you are ‘here’ on this topic. LOL! Yes! Only in the last couple of days we have seen students in Scotland also feeling the burn of the ‘Covid-19’ assessment year. I suggest you check the internet or reports on this topic. There is a protest planned today and over 30000 signatures shouting injustice.

      Like

  11. This has been a horrendous year for all and although the IB issue pales into insignificance compared to those who have lost family or friends to COVID, the class of 2020 have surely been short-changed. It does seem that both IB and some schools are somewhat hiding behind each other and it is years students who are paying the price. As well as those who received lower than expected grades, there are those who also fell through the cracks or were borderline and maybe because of COVID, schools dropped the ball in terms of communicating with parents, so this mess is perhaps not just down to IB?
    Despite the IB supposedly encouraging pupils to be independent (which is great) they are still ‘children’ with no life experience and some now facing the start of their adult life rather shell-shocked by the this years predicament and yes by the IBs algorithm! For some children, their self-confidence will have taken a setback and yes that’s life but without a doubt, schools have left some kids to fend for themselves a little too much. And I am under no illusion that maybe not every student has put in the work to have passed but the majority surely have and now it does seem that some schools and the IB board have failed the class of 2020. University places have been lost and regardless of whether they will be open in 2021/2022 or whenever, the start of careers and employment (earnings) will be affected. So whilst some kids have lost the game this year, let’s hope schools and the IB board learn the lesson for future students.

    Like

    1. Nobody is saying the IB is ‘more’ special the reason IB keeps coming up is because you are ‘here’ on this topic. LOL! Yes only in the last couple of days we have seen students in Scotland also feeling the burn of the ‘Covid-19’ assessment year. I suggest you check the internet or reports on this topic.

      Like

    2. Actually, there were things about the IB, before it became corrupted by money and and emphasis on an imperative for rote memorization of content in high-stakes exams, that DID, indeed make it unique and “special.” The Theory of Knowledge course at the centre of the hexagon (which, unfortunately, never became an integral part of instruction of the other six areas of the hexagon), taught students in some schools to employ critical reasoning skills in order to think for themselves. The language and literature courses’ “individual oral commentary” was designed to facilitate a remarkable level of fluency in second-language learners, and was predicated on the scientifically valid principle that oral and written fluency are connected. This gave students heightened incentive to become fully expressive in whatever language the schools used as their medium of instruction. For whatever reasons–probably commercial–the current, money-mad IBO dropped this requirement from the curricula of the language A courses. The current IB curricula are watered-down versions of what they once were, and are now inferior to the French Baccalaureate, the German Abitur, and the Cambridge A-levels. There is no way to compare the IB with the American Advanced Placement system, which is done very well in some schools and very poorly in others.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Thanks for elaborating on what you meant by ‘special’. Agree with you that the golden days of the IB are gone!

      Like

    4. IB is pretentious and elitist. It has however lost its’ lustre. A-levels are a great alternative that allow students to specialise in the subjects the really want to focus on. IB tends to be more generalist. Having taught both, I enjoyed IBDP but see greater value in A-levels frankly.

      Like

  12. The visual arts was assessed as usual. So it is not correct to say they “cancelled all 2020 final examinations”. Having taught the IB for 11 years, I have never felt the IBO has been anything but a faceless, beurocratic money-making machine. 2020 has left some students with very disappointing grades and some others with better than expected. The use of data and algorithms to produce grades has to lead to more than usual inconsistencies in the final grades. I feel saddened for those students who have had to work so hard and then be let down. The real problem is as the author of this article rightly points out, they do not take responsibility for their mistakes. Perhaps an intervention is now needed by Governments to ensure this organisation is accountable is due?

    Like

    1. Peter.. what I have now understood is NO gov body to intervene. This has become a big concern through this process.

      Like

  13. This article seems to misplace the blame in my humble opinion. The Colleges/Universities are aware of the system that was used and it is their decision whether or not to use the final DP results or the predictions in the original applications. I read an article where many institutions were not planning on rescinding conditional offers based on the final DP results. We all know it was a flawed system; 75% of a student’s grade was determined by an algorithm and therefore not within their control. It is for this reason that I think the IBO should have issued diplomas at the direction of the schools rather than to issue final results. However to blame the IBO for the decision of a College/University seems to be misguided to me.

    Like

    1. Having taught in a University, as well as high schools, and watching my grandson struggle during his first two years as an unprepared undergrad, I have concluded that high schools are ill-equipped to universally prepare students for post-secondary schooling. I was not initially in favor of a year 1 general program but now see the benefit of bringing students skills up to that University’s standards which also puts that institution directly in charge of assessing students for entry into their degree programs !!

      Like

  14. In IB’s defense, what else could they have done? They had to make the best of a lousy situation. Hopefully it won’t happen again. Yes, getting a lower score than expected may mean students not getting into the university of choice. It won’t affect their careers, though.

    Like

    1. So its fine for a student who has worked for 4+years to get into a university of their choice have their higher education plans scuttled by a large,for-profit organisation who couldn’t really care? The parents might disagree with you but what the hell, they’re just pushy entitled helicopter parents right? While I agree it might not impact their careers as much as they think, but who are you to pontificate on their futures?

      Like

    2. Wrong. Very wrong. Universities have grading for good reason. As a PHD from one the best I know their has helped my career far more than if I had gone to a lower one. Then of course there are the young deserving minds who have lost out on sponsorship!

      The IBOs action are disgusting and completely irresponsible. They are illegal re GDPR and will be held to account. Fortunately many Universities are now aware of the issue and are reconsidering student. In my professional opinion (30 years professional career) the IBO should no longer be considered as a educational organisation. They are Carlatans.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Meh. Sounds like pushy parents who are used to getting their way and not respecting their own children’s limitations. They’ve probably prided themselves on years of inflated grades in their children’s report cards. Not everybody can get a special sticker.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% facts: It doesn’t matter whether it’s IGCSE/A-levels or in this case IB in most international “schools” the parents and their kids decide what is “fair”…

      Like

  16. I came across evidence that at least one examiner did not read the IA assigned to them. My coordinator and I are on the war path to have this injustice undone as she scored well below what she should have based on her full body of work. Their lack of transparency has always been questionable in the grading process but this is inexcusable. I’m requesting every single one of my IAs back this year.

    Like

    1. Xanatos.. you now have my undivided attention. How do you know it wasn’t read? Please don’t answer if it compromises your appeal.

      Like

    2. I think I can be vague enough to answer that. I made an error when I uploaded one of my student’s documents (Student A). I had somehow managed to save another student’s feedback (Student B) under Student A’s name and uploaded that feedback into Student A’s folder on IBIS. I did confirm that I had uploaded Student A’s IAs properly (And all my other students. I had to double check at that point to be sure). There was a wild discrepancy between the feedback I uploaded and Student A’s IA as I specifically reference information in the IA in my feedback. There’s no way they could have read their IA or that would’ve been obvious. To add insult to injury, the student who the feedback actually belonged to (Student B) earned 7 points more than the mark awarded to Student A with the same feedback but with different IAs. There was no other conclusion that could be reached. That examiner did not read Student A’s work which begs the question of how well this particular examiner did their job in general or at least what instruction the examiners were given. The information given before the IAs were due seemed to imply that everything was being externally graded, not moderated. My coordinator and I are currently exhausting every avenue possible to correct this.

      Like

  17. This happens every year with parents. IB aid the best most rigorous program for a reason. In my experience, parents have often balked at their students exam results after getting inflated school grades from classroom teachers. It’s getting worse every year too. The kids just aren’t producing at a high level anymore. The very top are, but the depth of quality has been dropping for years in both teaching and learning. In the USA, public schools offering IBDO have had to reduce much of their offerings to certificates. IBO has done too much of this as well. Anyways, keep the rigorous demands IBO or you’ll be just another program.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading your post Daniel, I assume you have not talked to any students impacted by this year’s results. Have you? We must also acknowledge this is the first time results have been calculated in this fashion … so ‘this’ is not like every other year.

      Like

    2. Oh, please. What is happening this year is NOT what happens every year when results are published. While there are always complainers, tell me in what logical world it’s reasonable to base an individual student’s score on the school’s historical data? The IB, as it so often does, is being disingenuous and needs to own up to its inadequacy here and rectify the problem.

      Like

    3. How much of the (purported) drop in the quality of student work could be due to parents AND ADMINISTRATORS pressuring teachers to inflate grades? How many parents believe that paying for their child’s education entitles them to high grades (and how many administrators support, or at least do not challenge, this view)? As international schools have become a cash cow, it is not surprising that the quality of the education they are providing has declined.

      Like

    4. Our experience is that the ‘kids at the top’ are actually helped more that the ‘kids at the bottom’ or indeed the ‘kids on the borderline’ – having attended many Parent/Teacher interviews over the years and observing the difference in some Teachers facial reactions when Bright Billy turns up with Mommy and Daddy as opposed to Thicko Tommy and his parents.

      Like

  18. IB has always been an elitist concept and based on one off-testing after 4 years of arduous work and commitment. Why should this particular leopard change its spots for the well-being of its candidates and their futures? Afterall, IB is a big money business model that sells itself as the most challenging academic program that exists internationally so anythiong that diminishes the patina or veneer of ¨elite academics¨ is seen as a threat and supressed. It and AP are based on the false assumption that an academic approach can meet the needs of a certain % of students and the rest can make do with the crumbs that fall from the table. Universities and colleges worldwide have fallen for this pseudo-scientific BS and like the SAT and ACT, the reality is far less appealing.

    Like

    1. Elitist?
      No more or less than any of the other “international” assessment Bodie (AP, A/O levels, etc.)

      Like

    2. I know the IB diploma is 2 years but the MYP is part of the program as is the PYP so most IB diploma students have spent at least 4 years working very hard to get what they mistakenly consider to be the creme de la creme in international diplomas.

      Anonymous…what is a bodie?

      Like

    3. I have wanted to do this for years, but haven’t had the time, but I suspect there is a disproportionate amount of 3rd tier IB “schools”. From what I have seen over the years, they will sell their curriculum to anyone who pays and do not really give a fig about upholding their supposed standards.

      Like

    4. Not sure what you mean here by 3rd tier. Is this an American term normally used when referring to universities and published works? Keep in mind the IBDP is offered in many International schools all over the globe. The majority of these schools are ‘inclusive’ and most offer alternative programs such as the AP, Career pathway etc.

      Like

    5. Thanks for the explanation. Are you a teacher? In the US? I have never heard of ‘third tier’ schools in the way you define it. Still I would repeat what I wrote in my last post. many international schools offer the IB to expat families all over the world. Ir is why the IBO bought into the PYP and MYP. It is a ‘tough‘ diploma program but these schools offer other pathways.

      Like

  19. IBO considers itself more important than students? Sadly, nothing new nor surprising to us IBO teachers. We have been treated the same by the IBO directorate for many years now. School administrators beware: you’re next.

    Like

  20. “In their place, a logarithm was substituted which assigned students their final course scores […]”
    Should this sentence read: “In their place, an algorithm was substituted which assigned students their final course scores […]”?
    IB grading – as long as I have taught IB Science courses – was problematic to many: students, teachers and, of course, some ambitious parents 😉 .
    PS How to make a bold font in your comment?

    Like

    1. Yes Pete.. it continues to be a ‘mysterious’ algorithm or algorithms. I would pay you to get it for me!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.