University FAQs

General FAQs for universities

Where can I find an example of an admission policy?

Find a sample model admission policy as well as many other useful items in our resources and document library.

Where can I find information on changes to DP curriculums and assessment?

The latest developments to DP curriculums and assessment can be found here.

How are DP courses and assessments developed?

All DP subjects are reviewed on a seven year teaching cycle to ensure that each is fit for purpose and incorporates the latest educational research and lessons learned from the implementation of the existing curriculum. The process for curriculum review and development is spread across three phases: evaluation, development and implementation.

Representative and comprehensive feedback from DP teachers, students and universities about the course, an analysis of the effectiveness of the assessment instruments and a thorough review of subject-specific and broader pedagogical literature is incorporated into the evaluation of the existing curriculum. The DP utilizes both internally and externally assessed criterion-related components to assess student performance.

Assessment in the DP measures the extent to which students master basic and advanced academic skills, such as:

  • critical-thinking, reflective, research and independent learning skills
  • retaining knowledge
  • understanding key concepts
  • applying standard methods
  • analysing and presenting information
  • evaluating and constructing arguments
  • solving problems creatively
  • intercultural skills and understanding and an international outlook.

To ensure that student work is assessed fairly and consistently, nearly 8,500 trained examiners worldwide, many of whom are experienced DP teachers, are involved in the assessment process. Reliability of marking is ensured through: 

  • appointing and retaining only appropriately qualified and experienced examiners who have demonstrated they can mark consistently and objectively according to set standards
  • providing examiners with comprehensive instruction and training on how to mark
  • checking the standard of examiner marking through “seeding” every examination session.

For information about IBIS interface and instructions on how to access IB student transcripts, please download Accessing IB student transcripts: A guide for university staff [1.8MB] pdf icon

Impact of COVID-19

November 2021 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in November each year. For many students in the southern hemisphere this is their primary examination session; however, in 2021 it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in May 2021.

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on students completing their IB qualifications in November 2021. Many students will have solely learned on-line for much of this time. 

In July 2021, we conducted a survey of all our schools to better understand their current ability to administer examinations. Over 590 schools, from over 70 countries responded to the survey and the results indicated that currently 70% of IB World schools would be able to administer examinations safely. 

Therefore, we will again be offering a dual assessment model for November 2021 to ensure all students registered for the Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme are given the opportunity to be awarded the diploma or course certificates, even if they are unable to sit examinations.

Strongly guided by the local government advice for each country, we have now confirmed to schools how their students will be awarded results, either through the exam route or non-exam route (routes are largely on a country-by-country basis).

 

How is the curriculum being adapted?

The assessment model was adapted to ensure continuity in student learning despite unprecedented disruptions to our school community worldwide. It is the result of conversations with IB educators across the globe who, like us, considered essential to adapt our assessments for students whose learning was disrupted by the pandemic.

The adapted November 2021 assessment model does not reduce the content or skills contained within published Diploma Programme Subject Guides or within the programme's core components. Programme and subject-specific support developed during the COVID-19 crisis strongly encourages all IB World Schools to prioritise their resources and make best endeavours to address published content and skills.  

The adapted assessment model includes targeted adaptations to subject-specific assessments that ensure continuity of learning and support the submission of summative student work in a way that is manageable, practical and fair.  They also ensure coverage of subject-specific assessment objectives is consistent and comparable to prior examination sessions. 

Universities can read more on the changes made here.

 

What is the format of the two routes?

Examination route

This route will be very similar to the standard IB practices, but student coursework (Internal Assessment - IA), which is typically moderated, will be marked by trained IB examiners for the November 2021 session, an approach that was taken for both sessions in 2020 and May 2021.

We will also take additional measures, such as carefully reviewing the grade boundaries alongside our external examiners, to ensure that we take account of disruptions in learning and teaching and other unusual circumstances that might have affected exam performance.  

Non-examination route

Our close review and analysis of the May and November 2020 results offered invaluable insights that a combination of coursework and predicted grades are still the best indicator of students’ holistic performance when examinations cannot be held.

Without the written components of our examinations, the IB will use the following data points for grade awarding: 

  • Coursework: Students’ coursework which is typically moderated, will be marked by trained IB examiners for the May session to ensure that the marks meet global and consistent reliability standards. 
  • Predicted grade: Grades which the teacher thinks best predict the student’s performance, which we request from the school every year, for each student and for each subject.

A Predicted Grade mark will be used in place of the Examination mark. 

Total Mark = (0.2 to 0.4) * Coursework Mark + (0.8 to 0.6) * Predicted Grade Mark 

The Total Mark will then be used to set the final grade awarded, on the 1-7 scale.

The weightings for the Coursework and the Predicted Grade will be identical to that of the weightings in the examination route for the Coursework and the Examination respectively, which can be found here

Before the release of results, our dedicated team will perform an enhanced review all results at a student, school, subject and global level. 

 

How will you ensure that predicted grades are valid?

We know that grade prediction accuracy varies across schools and between subjects within a school, and this variance is likely to be much greater this year due to the reduction of face-to-face teaching time and formative assessments that would normally be used by teachers to help guide their predicted grades. The IB noted substantial increases in predicted grades for both the 2020 sessions and think that this could continue as feature for the coming session.

Therefore, as predicted grades will form a key part of awarding grades, for students who cannot sit examinations in November 2021, it is important that predicted grades are as accurate as possible. To strengthen predicted grade accuracy, all schools will be provided with a school specific distribution of predicted grades, based on three years of past performance data of the school. 

Using historical data as a guide, all schools will moderate internally to ensure a high level of accuracy of prediction. This careful reflection of predicted grades is critical to ensure close alignment between predictions and the final IB awarded grades. This should ensure that student and parental expectations are also appropriately managed.

All schools will be required to complete this process in case a school needs to move, due to local government restrictions, to the non-examination route close to the time of the examinations.

 

How will you ensure fairness between the two routes?

Students will earn a qualification that reflects their capability whether they enter the exam or non-exam route. We will ensure equality and equivalence between those students taking exams and those who are not. A similar approach was successfully applied in May 2021.

These assessment arrangements represent the fairest approach we can take for all our students. We intend that the results awarded to our IB graduates of November 2021 will reflect, with validity and reliability, the high standards and dedication to learning that our students have shown throughout their learner journey in their IB World Schools.

 

Will students be awarded a Diploma, numerical grade for each subject, the core and overall?  

We will award Diplomas and Certificates for the November 2021 session:

  • At a subject level, students will be awarded a grade on the normal IB 1-7 scale
  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay and the Career-Related Programme Reflective Project will be awarded a grade on the normal IB A-E scale
  • The DP core will be awarded on the normal IB 0-3 scale
  • A total points score will be awarded for the Diploma, out of 45 as normal

 

When will the results be available?

We are planning to publish results for this session on 2 January 2022.  

 

Will the transcript that universities and colleges receive look the same as previous years?

Yes. Transcripts will look the same and will be sent to universities and colleges in the same way as previous years.

 

Will students be able to appeal their results?

Yes. Schools can access the Enquiry Upon Results and Appeals services as in previous years.

 

How can I ask a question about the November 2021 session?

If you have a query about any of this information, please email us.

May 2022 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in May each year. For many students in the northern hemisphere this is their primary examination session; however, in 2022 it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in November 2021.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to force schools to close or prevent students from sitting exams safely in 2022. The IB continues to monitor this situation and has prepared contingencies to respond to a range of scenarios.

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on students completing their IB qualifications in May 2022. Many students will have solely learned on-line for much of this time. 

We will provide universities with more information regarding this session in due course. 

 

How is the curriculum being adapted?

The assessment model was adapted to ensure continuity in student learning despite unprecedented disruptions to our school community worldwide. It is the result of conversations with IB educators across the globe who, like us, considered essential to adapt our assessments for students whose learning was disrupted by the pandemic.

The adapted May 2022 assessment model does not reduce the content or skills contained within published Diploma Programme Subject Guides or within the programme's core components. Programme and subject-specific support developed during the COVID-19 crisis strongly encourages all IB World Schools to prioritise their resources and make best endeavours to address published content and skills.  

The adapted assessment model includes targeted adaptations to subject-specific assessments that ensure continuity of learning and support the submission of summative student work in a way that is manageable, practical and fair.  They also ensure coverage of subject-specific assessment objectives is consistent and comparable to prior examination sessions. 

Universities can read more on the changes made here at the top of the Subject Briefs section.

November 2022 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in November each year. For many students in the southern hemisphere this is their primary examination session; however, in 2022 it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in May 2021.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to force schools to close or prevent students from sitting exams safely in 2022. The IB continues to monitor this situation and has prepared contingencies to respond to a range of scenarios.

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on students completing their IB qualifications in November 2022. Many students will have solely learned on-line for much of this time. 

We will provide universities with more information regarding this session in due course. 

 

How is the curriculum being adapted?

The assessment model was adapted to ensure continuity in student learning despite unprecedented disruptions to our school community worldwide. It is the result of conversations with IB educators across the globe who, like us, considered essential to adapt our assessments for students whose learning was disrupted by the pandemic.

The adapted November 2022 assessment model does not reduce the content or skills contained within published Diploma Programme Subject Guides or within the programme's core components. Programme and subject-specific support developed during the COVID-19 crisis strongly encourages all IB World Schools to prioritise their resources and make best endeavours to address published content and skills.  

The adapted assessment model includes targeted adaptations to subject-specific assessments that ensure continuity of learning and support the submission of summative student work in a way that is manageable, practical and fair.  They also ensure coverage of subject-specific assessment objectives is consistent and comparable to prior examination sessions. 

Universities can read more on the changes made here at the top of the Subject Briefs section. 

May and November 2023 and beyond

Update for 2023 Diploma Programme (DP), Career-related Programme (CP), and Middle Years Programme (MYP) examination sessions.

In 2023, students undertaking the DP, CP, and MYP will complete the full suite of assessments, as outlined in programme and subject documentation on the programme resource centre. Assessment will return to the published model for all subjects and components.

As the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the most significant disruption to global education that we have ever known. During this turbulent time, we have all had to overcome challenges, adapt and innovate; and often make incredibly difficult decisions to ensure the continuity of learning for our students.  

During 2020 and 2021, and looking forward to 2022, the IB has decided that global disruptions to education have been significant enough that it has been necessary for the IB to provide assessment mitigations for students in the final years of their IB programme studies. While the disruptions are ongoing, their impact on schools, teachers and students is different today than at the beginning of the pandemic. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and listen to our schools, educators and students as we move towards 2023. 

The IB believes that a renewed focus on supporting student readiness and engagement with our full programmes and subjects as initially designed is the best next step. Our programmes and subjects were designed according to the highest international quality standards by experts and IB educators. By returning to our programmes and subjects as designed, the IB ensures an equitable student experience with the broadest range of knowledge, skills and competencies.  

Though we recognize that students starting the DP or CP or moving towards completion of the MYP have also been affected by the pandemic's disruption, we have decided to shift from mitigations for assessments to focus more on supporting schools in addressing learning needs through teaching and learning. The assessment models in each of the IB programmes are carefully designed and balanced across a variety of assessment types and experiences to support each student in demonstrating their full abilities and skills set in each of their subjects.  

We believe students will benefit from the carefully designed and balanced assessment model which enables students to demonstrate their full abilities and skills through the diverse assessment types and experiences.   

The IB is committed to continuing to offer effective and quality support to schools. In the coming weeks, the IB will be sending a survey to all IB World Schools to understand in depth the current contexts of our schools, the challenges they are facing and the strategies that schools are implementing to support the learning needs of IB students.  

Our global IB community has shown remarkable resilience, flexibility and professionalism to the benefit of students worldwide. We are grateful for your continued dedication, and we look forward to embarking on this next phase together as one community.   

The IB will be providing schools, teachers and students with continuous updates. In addition, the IB's dedicated teams will continue to work closely with schools, providing timely information, support, resources and opportunities for questions and feedback.