IB confirms BVH will not be holding seated exams

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Isaac Lozano

IB Coordinator Jared Phelps sent a message to all IB diploma candidates via Google Classroom, informing them that IB confirmed that BVH will not be holding seated IB exams. In the message, Phelps also discussed how the change will affect IB scores.

Madelyn Omelina, Staff Writer

After many months of waiting, the International Baccalaureate (IB) community at Bonita Vista High (BVH) was informed of the official plan for exams during the ongoing pandemic. Following an announcement sent out from the IB Organization (IBO) to IB Coordinators through email on the morning of Feb. 11, BVH IB Coordinator Jared Phelps forwarded the information to IB Diploma Candidates of 2021 through their Theory of Knowledge Google Classroom that there will be no seated exams in May. 

“Your IB grade (score 1-7) for each course you’re testing in will be based on the Internal Assessments (IA) you submit in your IB class,” Phelps wrote in his announcement to the IB Diploma Candidates of 2021. “And on your teacher’s ‘predicted grade’ that they think you’d earn on the IB exam if you did get to take it.”

In his announcement Phelps continued indicating that no students will physically take an exam at BVH in May and there will be no online equivalent. He explains that the IBO has expressed that they do not want to do online assessments due to a concern with test security. 

“You will still need to pay for your IB exams, even if you’re not taking the seated exam in May, because IB will still be grading ALL of the IAs and spending time and energy in trying to fairly assess your learning and provide a score,” Phelps wrote. 

Phelps goes on to explain that the fee for each exam will remain the same 125 dollar amount as it would have with the seated exams. Although he understands students’ frustration that the price has not changed, he clarifies that “the money [will be] paying for [the] labor to grade all of the IAs instead of grading the seated exams.” 

To provide more guidance to teachers on grade predictions which are now a larger portion of students overall score, the IBO will be sending out statistics gathered on grade averages for BVH that should be available for viewing starting Feb. 28. 

“The [IBO] has noticed in their statistics that schools predicted grades and passing rates don’t change massively from year to year. They might change a little bit, but it’s not drastic,” Phelps said. “It tends to be in a window, and so I think IB is communicating that they expect to see similar percentages of students passing exams.”

Phelps specified that the IBO decided to have no seated assessments based on surveys they sent out to IB coordinators at all IB schools asking how their schools are handling COVID-19 and how the pandemic has affected them. 

Phelps believes the program analyzed the data taken from the surveys and came up with a plan “fairly quickly” given that they had the information by Jan. 20 and they sent out the official plan on Feb. 11. 

“They needed to get to a point where we were close enough to exams, for coordinators, and their administrative teams to feel like they were able to make decisions; but not so close that it was too late to make that decision,” Phelps said. “Us having this information in early February [is about] two months better than what we were dealing with last year, which is helpful.” 

Phelps feels that there cannot be a perfect replacement, but he believes the plan set by the IBO is both a fair and compassionate one. 

“I think I am inclined to trust, IB’s statistics work and data analysis when they tell us that this is the most fair solution that they can come up with,” Phelps said.