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May IB Exams: Cancelled!

With New Hampshire education physically out of school and with Bedford students remote learning due to social distancing and national quarantine amongst the coronavirus, many things have unfortunately been cancelled and postponed within Bedford High School such as spring sports, school activities, and even intercession. As a senior, I have to admit, the cancellation of BHS intercession was one thing that really hit close to heart, especially for those seniors who were planning on abroad intercession trips this April.

While it may not feel like spring, having encountered snowfall and even power outages just last night, many International Baccalaureate Candidates across the nation have been left wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic will also snatch away upcoming spring IB exams too.

Contrary to May AP testing now switching protocol and planning on online tests for AP students, just yesterday, March 23, the International Baccalaureate Organization announced in a letter to students and families that the IB exams, required exams for candidates to obtain their IB Diplomas which were scheduled to be held between April 30 and May 22 locally at St. Elizabeth Seton, will not be held at all this 2020 due specifically to the pandemic. As the IB program does not merely span nationally, rather the exams are cancelled worldwide. For Bedford students, especially seniors, who have been working towards these exams for two or more years, investing a sizable amount of money into the fees for these exams, taking highly rigorous IB classes, and hoping to gain college credit from scoring well on these exams, this is a total shock. Will students be able to get their diplomas or the college credit they’ve been working toward?

Bedford senior IB candidates, and it safe to assume IB candidates across the world, are left confused and divided. While some may be relieved from their responsibility, others irate at their stolen privilege.

What does this all mean?

In the letter the IBO sent out to students and families, “Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflected their standard of work. This is based on student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already build into the programmes.”

Questioning the IBO’s vague claim, how will IB really measure qualifications, students and parents may ask?

While the specifics of everything are foggy, here are the hard facts that Bedford High School AP/IB Coordinator Jon Cannon pushed out in an email yesterday: internal assessments (IAs) still need to be completed, IB students must still complete work assigned by teachers to earn BHS credit, and while updates on CAS project [IB students’ version of senior project] are still awaiting, the CAS Portfolio (a piece of the CAS project) can be worked on. IB still intends on handing out diplomas, by generating exam scores, including IA scores, teacher’s predicted grades, and even externally-assessed papers or project work. Through whichever methods IBO plans on taking, students will remain eligible for college admissions and college credit as well through their calculated exam scores. Nevertheless, Bedford students at this time must continue to complete their remote schoolwork and be patient as many questions are left unanswered: how will these scores be generated? Will refunds for exam fees be offered?

Many things at this time are still in the works. With coronavirus burdening everyday lives, students must continue to chug along, and try not to go stir-crazy during times of social distancing.

With spring creeping up and IB exams cancelled, BHS prom, which is scheduled for this May among the same time exams are held, comes into concern for junior and senior students who have been looking forward to attending. We are all wondering, will prom cancellations be next? Personally, as a senior in my last couple of months of high school, I would be devastated to not end my high school experience with this special night of fun with  friends and peers who I will sadly not be able to see next year. All students at this time must find routine in their remote learning, be patient, and await further updates.



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