IB Testing and Coursework Update for May 2021

Ingrid Moises, Staff Writer

Succeeding the Advanced Placement testing announcements, the Coral Gables Senior High International Baccalaureate Coordinator Mrs.Van Wyk released the Gables IB testing route for 2021. The IB program gave schools and districts the opportunity to choose between an exam route or a non-exam route. As of right now, Gables will be assessed by IB through the non-exam route. Here are some of the most important details given by Mrs. Van Wyk’s video announcement.

The plan for a how scores will be determined is still uncertain, but Ms. Van Wyk provided information about what is currently known. The most important message is a warning that the decision made by the district could be altered at any moment. The emphasis on this statement is to ensure that students stay focused on their classes and remain alert, in case there are any changes in the testing plans.

In order for this decision to take place, both the district and the IB program had to approve it. The Miami-Dade County Public School System is the only school district in South Florida that was approved to take the non-exam route. This is due to the fact that MDCPS is the largest public school system in the state, with 345,000 students and 40,000 employees. Allowing testing schools like Gables would raise health concerns as forcing hundreds of students to congregate on campus would increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Both Mrs. Van Wyk and Principal Ullivarri have come to a complete agreement on this decision, as it emphasizes equity and equal access. They acknowledge the fact that while every student is able to complete the coursework, which includes the internal assessment, not all Gables students would be able to go to school and take the test. The state’s guidance is that a student can not be forced to come to school and endanger their health for an exam.

Mrs. Van Wyk posted a YouTube video on each IB class’ Microsoft Teams group, pronouncing the testing conditions for the May 2021 session. (Ingrid Moises)

The scores awarded through the non-exam route consist of the coursework —including their Internal Assessment that will now also be externally scored by IB— and the teacher’s predicted grade for the exam. According to IB, Subject grades will be determined as follows: 20-40%(Coursework)+ 60-80% (Predicted Grade). IB will provide guidance on how teachers would determine this predicted grade by the end of the month, so it is important that students continue to work hard in the IB classes that they are testing out of this year.

Furthermore, Mrs. Van Wyk made sure to let everyone know that the non-exam route and exam route diplomas will be of equal value and have no distinction. Examiners of the coursework will not know whether or not a student is testing in that subject. Diplomas awarded in May will also be viable for financial scholarships such as Florida Bright Futures.

Cavaliers will resume business as usual in all IB courses. Teachers and students alike will adapt to have a geared focus more towards their coursework — rather than test preparation — until further notice.