by Jake Lupu,
It’s been a while.
In school, we would’ve seen the past ghosts of 12th graders haunting the hallways while they would’ve been at home, studying for their exams. We would have seen the present ghosts of the seniors when they would pop into the MPR to battle with words, and the future ghosts… well, those are yet to come.
But it’s harder to realise what time it is, the gravity of this situation, from home. There are no haunted virtual hallways (or zoom waiting rooms), each grade, each class, mostly on their own. No cheers and words of encouragement for the seniors that decide to hide out in the library.
By now, everyone knows: IB exams have been cancelled.
What does that mean? How did that happen? What does that mean for the future?
Warrior News talked to Ms. Deo to find out.
As most know, the IBO was quite late in their cancellation of the exams. They are, after all, a business, and the exams had been prepared quite a bit in advance. It would have been awkward if exams got cancelled only for everything to reopen a few weeks later- just in time for exam season. And many may think that the decision of cancelling the exams was delayed for no reason. However, as Ms Deo said in the interview, the IB is an international organisation. It isn’t feasible for exams to only be cancelled for one part of the globe. Once covid-19 got to the Americas, however, and they had more time to process what was happening and for universities to step in, exams were cancelled. As Ms. Deo put it, “Tests are done with everyone sitting in a room, and that can’t happen now.”
Have universities been preparing for this beforehand, then?
Short answer, yes. Long answer, kind of. They’ve been in contact with the IBO, of course. The decision wasn’t made independently by the IBO. But, they still need to send to universities the same things that they’ve always sent: ToK, EE, CAS, and course-grades from 1-7 are still being shared. Except, now, “Grades will […] be from calculations and statistics, […] as opposed to what they got on exams,” said Ms. Deo.
These statistics and calculations are a mixture of coursework and historical data. The IBO hasn’t released that exact formula (trade secrets, after all), but we can assume that “they look at the past couple of years of exams and figure out relationships and patterns, to fill the gap where exams are,” said Ms. Deo. She added that “statistics also even out the field between coursework submitted before announcement on March 27th, and IAs submitted after March 27th.”
What have the seniors been doing their last few weeks at school? With no exams and mocks, what is there to do? Some courses were doing their own, non-IBO syllabus classes, “however, some courses [were] still going on and having assessments.” The IBO diploma might have changed, but there are still ASW requirements that need to be fulfilled, and teachers and students have done their best for this.
As Ms. Deo said during the interview, when the seniors were on/in/at (Which word to use in a world of Zoom?) their last few days of school, “As far as our 12th graders are concerned, everybody is trying to take it in stride and adjust and be flexible and try to be open-minded about what this means. It’s really uncertain but so far it seems that people are keeping their spirits up (attending all their zoom classes and that sort of thing). I’ve been really impressed with that. It’s been really encouraging to see how everyone’s been trying to take it in stride. It’s really a testament to all of our grade 12 students here.”