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IB Results U-turn on International Baccalaureate Diploma and Career-Related Programme

IB Results U-turn on International Baccalaureate Diploma and Career-Related Programme

by Jon WestleySeptember 1, 2020

Background – IB Results U-turn on International Baccalaureate Diploma and Career-Related Programme

The International Baccalaureate has issued a 100% U-turn on this year’s IB Diploma and IB CrP claiming that it will now “use predicted grades and coursework” to determine results. In fact, as we show below, the results will be based only on coursework.

The organisation admitted that the driving force behind its original algorithm was to stop grade inflation – but that now, with around 25% of all IB school launching appeals, the system was clearly hurting student’s more. coursework will provide the core foundation for deciding results – as the examples below explain. The IB results U-turn now sees the International Baccalaureate state:

Given the current unprecedented circumstances, using the IAs [coursework] 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 examiners.”

The International Baccalaureate has also, critically, confirmed that:

“No IB student will incur an overall point score decrease from the originally issued grades as a result of these adjustments.”

Surprisingly, the International Baccalaureate, even with its IB results U-turn, falls short of apologising to students, their families or schools. It does, however, go as far as stating:


“The IB knew when making the [original] decision, it would be a formidable task. However, extraordinary times required the IB, and the entire global educational community to adapt.

 Since July, the IB has gathered and addressed feedback from IB World Schools. 

Of the 3020 schools receiving results in for the May 2020 session around 700 schools have submitted a review request on behalf of their students. 

The IB’s review and analysis of the detailed information from schools offered invaluable insights…. 

The IB remains steadfast in its support for its schools, students, and families [..] and appreciates the inquiries, questions and comments received over the last several weeks.”

The reality is that the International Baccalaureate has faced stinging rebukes from students, parents and families who have demonstrated that, far from results being fair, the algorithm produced deeply flawed, fundamentally unsafe results – driven by the needs, not of this year’s students, but the International Baccalaureate organisation’s own reputation and its holy grail of avoiding grade inflation.

To deflect this, the IB, even today with its own IB results U-turn, makes a very thinly veiled dig at the British curriculum algorithm that has generated equivalent ire from schools, families and students:

The awarding model [Our algorithm] used student coursework, school predicted grades and school context for final grade award. The school context was not based on previous cohorts’ performance [as in the British system Ed.], but instead the relationship between predicted grade accuracy, performance in coursework versus examination components and final outcomes.” 

For affected parents, schools and families, the reality of the International Baccalaureate algorithm was that it was equally flawed and equally damaging.

The outcry from more than 700 IB schools schools forced the U-turn and we know that, such was the anger, a number of schools seriously weighed up the options of transferring out of the IB system altogether. 

The U-turn will now see students receiving a revised grade based on coursework (the IA) and not on Predicted Grades which are, despite the IB’s positioning, only used as a reference point. The International Baccalaureate now hope that this will be enough to avoid them having to adopt the Predicted Grades (teacher-recommended grades) favoured by schools and students.  

Simon O’Connor, Director, Deira International School, told

“At Deira International School we are really pleased with this development, and I think it shows how IB have reflected on what has been going on and put forward a very sensible recalibration.

The work of the students is now far better reflected and there is a much greater sense of fairness.

When our students have been put through so much in the recent months, ensuring their achievements are properly recognised is so important.

Hopefully this will provide other organisations to take similar action.”

Andreas Swoboda, Principal of Taaleem’s Uptown International School stated:

“Several students at Uptown International School benefited from the latest course of action that the IB took with regards to the May 2020 exams.

To my mind it is testament to the student-oriented nature of the IB as an organization that they listen to feedback coming out of its community, and that they not only listen, but they take appropriate action as well.

By doing so, the IB has proven true to their mission and to the Learner (and Leader!) Profile, exhibiting in particular, but not limited to, being open-minded, reflective, balanced, principled and caring.

It also shows that the concept of life-long learning is not just a hollow motto within the IB, but truly lived by the organization.

I am sure that this decision will go a long way in restoring faith in the IB, where it had been compromised.”


IB Results U-turn

In practice the new calculation will work as follows (the examples are produced by International Baccalaureate):

Example 1.

Students’ subject final grade results will be adjusted to be equal to the internal coursework assessment (IA) result when the predicted grade was only one grade less, equal to or greater than the IA grade. The student will be awarded their IA grade as their final grade for that subject in these cases.  

If the Predicted Grade is higher than the IA grade, then the IA grade will be applied as the final grade.


Predicted Grade  IA Grade  Current Final Grade  Revised Final Grade 
6 5 4  5

Example 2.

If the Predicted Grade is the same as the IA grade, then the IA grade will be applied.


Predicted Grade IA Grade Current Final Grade Revised Final Grade
6 6 5  6

Example 3.

If the Predicted Grade is one grade point below the IA, then the IA grade will be awarded. 


Predicted Grade  IA Grade  Current Final Grade  Revised Final Grade 
5 6 4  6

All students will have received their new grades today (17th August 2020)

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Curriculum Guide can be found here

Our International Baccalaureate Carer-related Programme Guide can be found here.

The official International Baccalaureate web site can be found here.

We have approached schools for comments on whether the IB results U-turn is enough to avoid legal action and bring schools, students and families back on board.  We will update this story as we receive feedback. 

© 2020. All rights reserved.


About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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