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May 2021 - what we do and don't know

Thursday 14 January 2021

As we start a new year, those of us teaching in May session schools still face some uncertainty about what lies ahead for our DP2 students.  With examinations being cancelled in some countries such as the UK rumours abound about what is happening, or what might happen, with the IB examinations.  As such, we thought it might be useful for a simple update of what we do know and what we don't know at this stage, particularly as it pertains to English Literature teachers. 

What we do know

  •  The Language A Literature course has had the following changes made in terms of adapted assessments and modified weighting:
ComponentMarks 'Normal' weighting'

Modified weighting for May 2021

SLPaper 12035%55%
Paper 23035%Removed
IA4030%45%
HLPaper 14035%50%
Paper 23025%Removed
HL Essay2020%25%
IA4020%25%
  • As shown, paper 2 has been removed for the session.
  • In addition, the Individual Oral will not go through the normal moderation process by the IB.  Instead, it will be externally marked by an examiner and schools need to send the following to the IB through IBIS for each student:
    • An audio recording of the IO (not a video recording if you did it remotely).
    • The two extracts for the IO as one document. 
    • This year only, we also need to upload a 'Criteria marks and teacher marking comments document' for each individual candidate which includes the individual marks for each criterion and comments to support the marks.  
  • In the week beginning 11th January 2021, all IBDP Coordinators worldwide were sent a survey to complete, the purpose of which as stated by the IB is  “to capture a full picture of the situations our schools globally are facing.” The survey was very short and asked two questions: whether a school anticipated they would be able to run examinations in May for all registered candidates, and if they had any concerns about the May 2020 exam session.  
  • Following this survey, the IB will provide further information about the May 2021 examination session in early February.  they have also stated that they will release more information in February for students in the May 2022 cohort. 

What we don't yet know

  • Whether examinations will run in May 2021 for some, all or no schools, and how it will work whichever decision is made.  There is a lot of discussion and speculation out there, understandably so as the uncertainty continues for these students and their teachers, many of whom have been in distance learning since March 2020.  Many also look to the experience of November 2020 schools, where some sat examinations while others did not, and speculate that a similar system will operate in May.  However, at this point we must wait until early February to hear exactly what the IB has decided about the May 2021 examination session.   Frustrating as it is, in the mean time that is all we can say! 


Comments 4

Anne de la Paz 16 January 2021 - 18:05

Do we also need to upload the students´ bullet points document? Also, is the "criteria marks and teacher marking comments doc" a from created by IB, or is it something that I need to create?

Thank you!

David White 18 January 2021 - 21:16

Hi Anne. You do not need to upload the outline but should keep these on file as the IB have stated they may call for them (unlikely but possible). For the "criteria marks and teacher marking comments doc" it is something you create - it can be a simple document, either a doc, docx, pdf, or rft, with something like the following:

Criteria marks
A2, B3, C4, D3

Teacher marking comments
"Put your comments here about the candidate's marks on the Individual Oral......"

Mirel Wehbe 21 January 2021 - 06:19

What are the grade boundaries for the assessments?

David White 21 January 2021 - 07:46

Hi Mirel. We will only get grade boundaries after the first session (May 2021). In the meantime, we can assume standards will be in line with the previous course so can give students some idea in working from the previous course boundaries. Make sure you are consistent as a department and make it clear to students that boundaries are subject to change


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