IB Exam Controversy: Students Speak Their Truth


Rachel Lanspery

As the year begins to close students enrolled in the IB program prepare to take the IB exams. There is still talk about the format of these exams, one possible option is a monitored at home assessment.

Mahalla Hynes, Reporter

As we get closer and closer to exam season, students become more concerned with exam plans. Many exam companies like IB have not provided many details. This causes a lot of stress for students who do not know what to expect or how to prepare. With so little information. teachers are also struggling to prepare students for exams while navigating all of the various learning modalities and uncertainty in every sphere. 

While the pandemic has impacted every part of life, exams are a particularly stressful avenue. How do you prepare for a test when you do not know what looks like? Everyone is eagerly awaiting the decisions the testing companies will come to. There has been some information released, but it is extremely vague. 

11th and 12th graders are preparing to take IB exams they might not even take. IB has proposed two options each region will decide on:

  1. They will take their exams paper-pencil 
  2. They can use their projected scores.

Mallika Satish, an IB senior, said “I would prefer to take a pencil paper test because it is normal. It is simple, and we have done it before. It is not that I want to take exams, but the pandemic has changed everything and a sense of normalcy would be nice.”

Satish talks about how taking a test would make things seem normal. Pandemic burnout is happening en-mass right now because it has been almost a year since the pandemic began. People want life to be normal. They want to go back to before, but exam uncertainty truly demonstrates that life is not normal, and it will definitely take more time before it can go back to what it used to be. 

Due to the uncertainty, students and teachers are forced to adopt this “go with the flow everything will figure itself out” mentality. This is extremely frustrating to people who just want answers for what is going on with a major part of their education. Students generally dread testing, recalling that last year many students were celebrating that they would not need to take exams. Now students just want answers, whether that means normal tests or no tests. 

Extreme frustration at a lack of answers plagues IB students and teachers. Even the information they are giving is vague. Regions now have to make a decision, delaying the process even further.

Satish adds “If someone could just make a decision, it would be much less stressful for everyone. We still have basically no idea what is going to happen with exams because they give options not answers. While I understand that every situation is different everywhere, so solutions will be different everywhere. It would just make things easier if anyone could make up their mind.”

The region here only includes Seminole High School (SHS) and Winter Springs High School (WSHS). WSHS is a new IB school with its first IB class graduating this year. This creates a concern that they will choose to go with pencil-paper exams because their projected scores may not be as accurate or as high as they wish. This could lead to disagreement between the schools over whether or not in-person exams will be conducted. Eventually, the schools will have to come to a decision eventually, one which students eagerly await.

There is still so much uncertainty and confusion surrounding exams. IB has said they will be providing further details in the coming days, but they did not provide a specific date or even what that information will remotely include. Students and teachers are trying their best to prepare for exams, whatever that may look like.