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More than 24,000 students worldwide had signed a petition last month, seeking a reassessment of the awarded grades, which had sparked a backlash since their announcement on July 6. Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Abu Dhabi: The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) announced on Monday that it will make adjustments to grades awarded this year for its May 2020 session.

The adjustments will be made using predicted grades and coursework, known as IA.

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“Today, after careful deliberation, the International Baccalaureate (IB) will be making an adjustment to awarded results for the Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) May 2020 session, where applicable, using predicted grades and coursework (IA). Given the current unprecedented circumstances, using the IAs as the basis for awarding the updated grades provides an accurate and reliable reflection of an IB student’s performance. The IA grades are based on student coursework and assessed by trained independent IB examiner,” the IB announced.

More than 24,000 students worldwide had signed a petition last month seeking a reassessment of the awarded grades, which had sparked a backlash since their announcement on July 6. Students had complained that the grades were lower than their predicted scores.

Tertiary sectors

“The IB confirms that no IB student will incur an overall point score decrease from the originally issued grades as a result of these adjustments. With these adjustments, IB students will have another progression option to tertiary sectors and systems around the world where grade inflations have occurred, or grade comparability has been maintained,” the IB statement said.

“Universities around the world recognise the rigours of an IB education and the preparedness of IB students for further education. It is for this reason that the IB made this critical adjustment for this year’s graduating students, while maintaining the validity and recognition of IB Assessments for the benefit of all students, including past and future cohorts,” it added,

Historic data

Like many other boards, IB exams were scrapped this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the IBO had announced at the time that it would use a combination of teacher predicted grades, historic data and coursework to calculate grades for more than 170,000 students around the world. The UAE itself has about 50 institutions offering some portion or all of the IB curriculum.

IB said 700 of the 3,020 schools around the world receiving results in the May 2020 session have submitted review requests on behalf of their students.

“In March, prioritising student safety, the IB rapidly adjusted 50 years of traditional and trusted assessment approaches. The IB knew when making the decision, it would be a formidable task. However, extraordinary times required the IB, and the entire global educational community to adapt,” Monday’s IB statement continued.

‘Embracing openness and accountability’

“Since July, the IB has gathered and addressed feedback from IB World Schools. Of the 3,020 schools receiving results for the May 2020 session, 700 schools have submitted a review request on behalf of their students.

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The IB’s review and analysis of the detailed information from schools offered invaluable insights, leading the IB to evaluate and recommend grade adjustments, where applicable. The IB remains steadfast in its support for its schools, students, and families. The IB embraces openness and accountability and has processes in place to ensure student assessments are accurate and fair,” it added.

The concerns over IB grades mirror similar issues with A-Levels grades awarded this year after the exams were cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Lower grades have complicated college admissions for many students and put college admissions of a large number of students in jeopardy.