International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme 2020 exams canceled


Gabriella Vulakh

International Baccalaureate Higher Level English Year 2 students read Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” during a Zoom call last week. Students were reading the play in preparation for the IB Paper 2, a comparative essay on two plays they have read this year.

WEB EXCLUSIVE The International Baccalaureate Organization cancelled the May 2020 Diploma Programme exams on Monday, citing health concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the importance of social distancing. 

Exams were scheduled to take place April 30 through May 22. The IBO canceled 2020 examinations for the first time in the organization’s history, according to a post on the IBO website. 

“I have mixed emotions about the exams being canceled,” senior Isabella Parmenter, who planned to sit for the May 2020 exams said. “For one I am grateful because I think it would have been difficult for us to prepare via online classes as it is so hard to focus, but I am also upset because it means that this coronavirus situation is going to last longer than we thought it would.”

IBDP candidates, totaling around 200,000 worldwide, will receive the Diploma or Course Certificates based upon their “coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor, and quality control already built into the programmes,” according to the IBO website. 

“I think it’s important for seniors to recognize that they are graduating with their Convent & Stuart Hall diplomas, and that their grades and the coursework that they’re doing with their faculty does matter,” IB Programme Coordinator Devin DeMartini Cooke said. It has value for their college acceptances. It also may affect their IB predicted scores.”

The IBO extended the coursework deadline for those who are unable to complete their work due to school closures, according to their website. 

“I’m not sure what our classes are even going to look like now that we have no exams to study for,” Parmenter said.

This announcement comes just days after The College Board announced its new protocol for AP exam testing. Students will now complete short answer response questions online in a 45 minute period for each AP subject. 

“Please continue to engage fully in your coursework and assignments in our remote learning environment, and be assured that there will be more clarification coming in the days ahead,” DeMartini Cooke wrote in an email to the Class of 2020 this morning. “Note that your past and future coursework serves not only the purpose of attaining the IB Diploma, but also your Convent & Stuart Hall graduation requirements.”

The cancellation of the May 2020 IBDP exams does not affect candidates in the Class of 2021 but serves as a reminder of the importance of critical elements required to earn the Diploma, including CAS, the Extended Essay and Internal Assessments. 

As of now, no scheduling changes have been made for the Class of 2021’s due dates for CAS work, EE research and IAs within IB courses. 

“[The cancellation] should not affect the juniors much other than for this to reinforce how important your coursework and those internal assessments can be,” DeMartini Cooke said. “This may prompt the IB to build in some redundancies or a failsafe if something to this magnitude was to happen again, but I don’t think that it would be canceled again in the same way.”