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 2020 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, this year it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in May 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools–particularly in Latin America– to close for the rest of the calendar year.  Approximately three quarters of our schools, teaching around half of all IB students worldwide, have indicated that they are able to sit exams.

On what basis will students be awarded their diploma or certificates?

The curriculum content students should have covered for November 2020 has not changed, irrespective of their assessment route. 

The IB is permitting two different routes of assessment for this session:

  • The primary and preferred route is for students to be awarded a grade after sitting their exams.
  • However, we will be awarding results based on predicted grades, externally marked coursework and historic data to students whose schools have been forced to close.

The IB will ensure that the standards are maintained across both these two routes as well as  past November sessions.

The IB remains committed to supporting students’ progress despite schools closing around the world due to COVID-19. The IB is providing a path forward for our students to earn their DP/CP certificates. These include options for them to be safely assessed and awarded results, such as written examinations where they can be facilitated safely, and alternative routes using coursework and predicted grades.

When will results be released for the November 2020 session?

Due to the significant complexities of running the dual assessment model to support all schools and students globally, results for the November 2020 session will be released on 2 January from 12 (NOON) GMT 2021.

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

We will award Diplomas and Certificates for the November 2020 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 will be publishing results on 2 January 2021, which will be on a timely basis for institutions such as ACTAC in Australia.  

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

Yes. Transcripts will look the same, irrespective of the assessment route, 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 2020 session?

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

May 2021 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in May each year. For students in the northern hemisphere this is their primary examination session; however, this year it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in November 2020.

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on students completing their IB qualifications in May 2021. This accounts for approximately three quarters of their overall learning experience, with many students learning remotely for much of this time. 

In January 2021 we conducted a survey of all our schools to better understand their current ability to administer examinations. Over 2,900 schools, from over 150 countries, responded to the survey and the results indicated that currently 70% of IB World schools would be able to administer examinations safely. 

Anticipating the continued disruption caused by COVID-19 and the differential impact on individual countries the IB has developed two assessment routes for May 2021, an examination route and a non-examination route.  This has been developed using the knowledge and understanding we gained through delivering two atypical sessions in 2020.  

We will be confirming which route is proposed to our schools, largely on a country-by-country basis, by the end of February. We will be strongly guided by the local government advice for each country.

 

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 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 May 2021 session, an approach that was taken for both sessions in 2020.

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 May 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 November 2020.

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 May 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 May 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 5 July 2021.  

 

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 May 2021 session?

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

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.

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 2021. 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 2021. 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. 

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.