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Is the IB Finished?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Beagles111, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Beagles111

    Beagles111 New commenter

    The last week has been truly momentous, educationally at least. The IB, an organisation with a great many loyal followers and supporters, myself included, has seemingly shot itself so massively in the foot that one must wonder if it has any way back. Last Sunday evening the IB released its results to a group of educators who were amazed at what they saw. Students with great potential and fantastic offers from top universities found themselves a number of points away from their offers, in many cases even from their insurance choices. Universities on UCAS immediately turned them down. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in US scholarships were lost and students with no other means of getting a undergraduate education were cast aside.
    What did the IB have to say? Initially they said "please speak to your IB Diploma coordinator" or "talk to your counsellor". neither of whom had the first idea how the IB had arrived at their results. Then, the IB went quiet, very quiet.,and have remained so. They are desperately hoping that this whole stinking mess that they have created will go away. Will it? I seriously hope not. OFQUAL has just announced an investigation into how the grades were arrived at. There is talk of class action law suits to force the IB to inform people what their algorithm was and how it worked. In a few short weeks the GCSE results are due as well as the A-Level ones. Teachers whose students took these exams were asked to prepare a portfolio of evidence to back up their grades. The IB chose not to do this and it is now going to come back to haunt them. Some people cried out in the wilderness about this attitude by the IB and were ignored. It will be interesting to see now how many parents choose the IB over other examinations. Hence the title of the thread. Fire away, fire away.
  2. Mitochondria1

    Mitochondria1 Occasional commenter

    How did students who were not heading to the top universities do?
  3. Mitochondria1

    Mitochondria1 Occasional commenter

    Just had a look and it seems that the grades of IB are at a four year high according to them. Looks like the distribution of grades may be causing some discontent...
  4. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I believe the results were based on IAs? These were marked in house, remarked by IB to moderate. If the high-fliers were basing their hopes on high exam grades rather than working consistently this was most likely their undoing. High-achieving students ought to have done well with IAs and exams (and it seems, from what I have heard, they have). Those who were hoping for best-case scenarios with good exams at the end, not so much.

    However, I only have second hand info as I don't teach IB.
  5. myothername

    myothername New commenter

    Oh my, how melodramatic. Of course the IB isn't 'finished'. How absurd.
  6. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Finished?? No.. In a spot of bother, yes.

    The final grades were IAs + predicted grades and... the school's 5 year historical data.
    • So schools who have a history of inflating predicted grades their students are..??
    • And schools who consistently have a high % of accuracy when awarding predicted grades, their students are..??
    Who knows...? Looks like the IB community around the world are certainly asking for a Loom video in different languages explaining how a 7 - 6 became a 5... 7 - 4 became a 6... And a 4 - 4 became a 5.
  7. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    The IB isn't finished imho. However everything it has worked for for decades has been seriously undermined. They have let quite a few kids down and are, seemingly, unwilling to back up what they have done which kind of goes against the Learner Profile... or does it?

  8. funkymonkey

    funkymonkey New commenter

    My students did rather well out of it, at least in my class, now they are not the brightest stars in the universe but the class average turned out to be the highest in the school. I think IB did a sterling job. Well done IB.

    In reality I don't think the grades awarded to my students reflect their true abilities and the grades were much higher than expected and higher than the predicted grade in many cases.

    Whatever system was used was going to cause some people to be very happy and others to be very annoyed. Imagine if the IB said that everyone will have to take the exam next year? Or only predicted grades would be used?
  9. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Meh. Wait till the A Levels and GCSE results come out. The spotlight will move on. GCSEs are already predicting 40% of grades will be lower than predicted.

    Essentially, as has been mentioned above, the grades are based on statistical measures. We have had some kids going down a grade (no one more than that) in a subject and many kids going up a grade (based upon their IAs).

    Two students who took Maths HL got 7s even though their IAs were 5s. This is because we have been cautious when predicting top grades in that subject.

    I also had two students who were bolted on 7s (or so I thought) get 6s which was in line with their IAs. Given exams, they would have achieved 7s. Historically, I suspect our SL predictions were half a grade optimistic and that is what has happened now.

    To those who think there is a fairer method, what is it then? Base it purely on IAs? With the amount of plagiarism and cheating that goes on? Yeah, right. Base it on teacher predictions? Well, essentially, that is what has happened. Didn't go too well.

    That said, the IB should be clear with its algorithm for grades. And there should have been independent, respected, oversight of the process. If it has done this, then release a statement to that effect. If it has not, then get ready for hell breaking loose.

    For better or for worse, the majority of kids taking the IB are in international or private schools, with parents who are used to getting their way. This could get interesting.

    Oh, and forget this year. What is happening with next year's exams with the IB giving any leeway to the disrupted learning of the first year IB cohort around the world.

    Fun and games 2.0 to an examination room near you in May 2020.
  10. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    'Is the IB Finished?' A little bit of an overstatement I think.

    In the last 10-12 years many international schools and even some influential national schools (US, Aus, Gulf states etc) have been switching to the IBDP for the simple reason that it avoids many of the pitfalls of their own examination systems: a one size fits all system, low level of academic rigour, teacher and parental influence, plagiarism, openly cheating etc etc

    For most courses, written examinations at the end of the DP form the basis of the assessment. This is because these examinations have high levels of objectivity and reliability.
    Externally assessed coursework, completed by students over an extended period under authenticated teacher supervision, forms part of the assessment for several programme areas, including the theory of knowledge (TOK) essay and the extended essay (EE).
    In most subjects, students also complete in-school assessment tasks. These are either externally assessed or marked by teachers and then moderated by the IB.(
    taken from the IB website).

    While some of the points made by Beagles are moot I really don't think that this hiccough spells the end for an organisation that is growing, albeit changing. I am sure there will be the usual suspects among the parents in some schools who will be angry that their little darling didn't get what they wanted, expected, demanded (as we are paying for it) or were told by their over enthusiastic teacher that they would get!!

    IA's, predicted grades, mock grades (if available) and the 5 yr historical data is a perfectly acceptable model imo. Some schools with a high turnover of staff in the last 5 years might find themselves slightly at odds but not to a serious degree.
  11. lottee1000

    lottee1000 Occasional commenter

    I'm in an A Level school,but have been following with interest. The most interesting thing I think is the IB's response. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has been no statement, no engagement whatsoever, beyond a press release about the average being up on last year. That is annoying a lot of people. It seems like a large number of students who expected to excel have severely underachieved, and those who expected to just scrape by have just missed out. So the higher average does ignore the experiences of large numbers of those students.

    I also think @Karvol is right, and this may well all kick off again when I/GCSE and A Level results come out. No method, either the IB's method or CAIE's or Edexcel's will be fair to everyone, just as exams aren't fair to all. The 'scandal' is bound to hit UK quals as well.

    Just to clarify one point though: IGCSE and A Level teachers were asked to be sure they could provide evidence for a grade if asked, not prepare evidence for everyone. Out of colleagues in over 60 sixty schools on another forum I am in, no one has been asked.... So describing it as a portfolio of evidence is a bit grandiose!
  12. JKBKK

    JKBKK New commenter

    They've given at least some indication that they may back down given the wave of criticism. An email was sent out yesterday from the Director General that included this:

    "This year, we hear the anxiety around the May 2020 results. The emotional well-being of our students and our community is paramount in our decision making and remains the highest priority. You will find more details on the awarding approach for the May 2020 session here.*

    We continue to work directly with schools and IB coordinators to ensure alignment and give each student who wants the opportunity to go through an Enquiry Upon Results (EUR) or appeal process, as they would under usual circumstances in previous exam sessions, to do so. In addition, we are continuing to communicate directly with universities, encouraging them to remain compassionate during this extraordinary time.

    Additional service to support you

    In addition to the usual request for appeals process, we want to work with schools to review extraordinary cases. We have identified three priority areas for review: (i) candidate level discrepancy (ii) subject level discrepancy (iii) whole cohort discrepancy. We are working to develop a process which will enable us to have a conversation with each school regarding their concerns at the cohort and individual school level. More details on the specifics of that process will be sent out by midweek. We will prioritise cases that are linked to progression to support with university admissions and dates of admissions. We are committing to a rigorous review of these cases. We cannot guarantee higher grades as a result of the review. Where the marks are deemed reasonable grades will not go down as a result of this process."

    What we noticed at our school (and I suspect others have seen the same) is that the students at the high end tended to be marked down, whereas those with lower predicted grades performed better than expected. It feels as though they were trying to simply match each school to its average rather than truly assess each student individually. In our case we historically have strong accuracy in aligning predicted and actual scores, so it was frustrating to see this approach being taken.
  13. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Just a couple of points:

    The stuff quoted from the IBO seems entirely reasonable in my view and exactly what one would expect: bland and non committal.

    'rather than truly assess each student individually' - do you really think this was ever going to happen, their was always going to be a blanket response, given the large number of DP schools and DP candidates. Factor into this the time scale and you get a set of results based on - 'IAs + predicted grades and... the school's 5 year historical data.'

    'What we noticed at our school (and I suspect others have seen the same) is that the students at the high end tended to be marked down,' - Not true in HK where several schools have recorded their best ever results including above average numbers of 45s

    'n our case we historically have strong accuracy in aligning predicted and actual scores,' - In which case I would suggest you have nothing to worry about! The students that suffer will be those at schools which don't have that alignment you mention (for a whole host of reasons) and schools that have a high turn over of DP staff (so their 5 yr data is inconsistent) and those at schools where parents demand inflated grades.
    Karvol and suem75 like this.

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