Exams Cancelled and Altered Across the Globe

by Abaigeal Lorge

On March 22, the International Baccalaureate Organization announced the cancellation of the May exams for all candidates. But what about the rest of the world? What about AP exams, A-levels, and the French baccalaureate? It seems each has taken a different route.

The Class of 2019 prepared for exams; the class of 2020, not so much. Photo by Toby Brunt.

On March 20, the College Board announced that AP “exams will be offered online and available on most devices and can be done at home.” Not only are the exams to be completed from the comfort of students’ own homes, but “students who choose to cancel (not do the exam) can do so at no charge.” Moreover, exams are to cover significantly less content as they have been shortened from 3 hours to 45 minutes. 

According to Sophia Turner, an 11th grade AP student, “our grades on the AP exams establish whether or not we receive college credit for our years worth of work.” She and many of her peers understand the importance in taking them, and recognise that this may well be the “best alternative for us.” She is, however, curious as to “how they can administer it at home and make sure no one cheats.” The College Board has not made it clear as to how they will ensure academic honesty on exams performed at home.

In Britain, on March 18, Boris Johnson announced the cancellation of A-levels (British exams) throughout the UK. According to Ciara Rosenmier, an A-level student, “I was very shocked because I had worked so hard for two years just for Boris to casually slip into the announcement that all examinations were cancelled.” 

Many have also posed questions as to how final grades will be determined. According to the UK government, mock exams, course work, and predicted grades will be taken into account when determining final grades. However, Ciara pointed out that “mock exams were taken in January and as you can imagine no one does very well in these and these exams differ between schools.” Hence, in order to maximize students’ opportunities, they also have the option to sit their exams at the end of summer 2020. 

Contrarily, in France, there have been no announcements (yet) concerning changes in the French baccalaureate. According to Thibaut Cojean, editor of the high school/college sector of the French online newspaper for students,  l’Étudiant, “if you pass the baccalaureate or the certificate at the end of the year, there is no way you will stop working: at this stage, no postponement of the tests has been announced.” On l’Étudiant, articles have been published explaining how to prepare for the baccalaureate while in confinement.

Evidently, different countries and boards are each taking their own approaches: IB exams are cancelled, AP exams are to be taken online by those who choose to do so, A-levels are cancelled for the most part, and the French baccalaureate is still going forward. Has one taken better measures than another?

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