‘RANDOM’ ALGORITHM BY IBO IN GENEVA DESTROYS TOP IB STUDENTS’ DREAMS
IB RESULTS SCANDAL 2020
by Chené Koscielny
Thousands of top IB students at international schools across the world, including Geneva, have lost out on university offers because of an algorithm applied to help generate results in the absence of 2020 IB exams. The IB diploma is offered by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), headquartered in Geneva.
The issue has been dubbed “IB results scandal 2020” in news publications around the world.
This is my daughter’s story – but she is one of thousands of children around the world, including Geneva, particularly in the Sciences and Maths – who have had their futures destroyed overnight.
A petition against these ‘unfair’ grades has reached nearly 20,000 signatures and UK exam watchdog ‘Ofqual’ has announced an investigation into this issue. Headteachers in the UK have appealed to UK Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to intervene.
SO CLOSE TO ACHIEVING HER DREAM!
For the past 2 years, Paula, now 18, has put her heart and soul into her dream of studying medicine in the UK.
Based in Geneva, she worked incredibly hard and was 100% dedicated to her studies. She passed the UCAT (medical school admissions exam) with a very good score.
She secured offers from 3 top UK universities after gruelling personal interviews.
She had to choose two universities as her top choices, discarding all other offers, including offers from Canada, confident that one of these would work out based on her performance to date and her exam results. She was very near to achieving her dream.
COVID_19: ‘WE TOLD HER THE IB RESULTS WOULD BE FAIR.’
Then the pandemic hit and she was devastated at not being able to sit the exams and having the opportunity to reap the benefits of her dedicated studies.
We assured her that the IB results for 2020 would be fair and that her dream would not be shattered, believing that there would be leniency in such a difficult time!
We were not prepared for the shock of results that had nothing in common with Paula’s consistent performance during the past two years.
She kept saying: “These are not my results!”
Due to the algorithm, my daughter dropped 6 points (some students dropped as much as 12 points!) and no longer had the grade in Chemistry she needed to qualify for medicine at her two elected universities. She now faces no place in any university and having to start all over again.
As widely reported in the UK, Paula’s case is hardly unique and particularly affects Science and Maths candidates in smaller schools, as well as students in the 37 to 42 point brackets – in other word: top achievers! Small schools appear to have been particularly disadvantaged too.
The algorithm has not been made public, so no-one is clear as to why these students have been affected in this way. IBO’s consistent claim in a universal press statement is that the process was “fair and robust.” There has been no acknowledgement that any children have been disadvantaged.
STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN!
Since Monday (results day), Paula has not left the house. She is totally devastated and can’t understand why this is happening and how she could have come so close, only to lose everything.
We, as parents, don’t know how to help her. How do we motivate a child, who has given everything, only to robbed of the results of her hard work by an unfair system?
Paula’s only option appears to be to re-sit not only the UCAT, but also ‘retake’ the exam in November – hoping to achieve a place in 2021 – so, to start all over again and miss out on a year of her education.
PERSONAL APPEALS TO IBO IGNORED
Our personal appeals to the senior management at the IBO have fallen on deaf ears and there has been zero acknowledgement anywhere in any of the media from them that some children may have been disadvantaged.
Their official statement says the process was ‘robust and fair.’ This is a hard pill to swallow for young adults like Paula, who now have no hope of achieving their dreams anytime soon!
PLEASE HELP US FIGHT THIS
IB Coordinators and headteachers around the world are putting pressure on the IBO to be more transparent and to release details of the controversial algorithm. Education watchdog OffQual on July 9th announced an investigation into the IB results.
MORE NEWS COVERAGE
For excellent news coverage on this – follow TES Times Education Supplement Catherine Lough
The IB results scandal 2020 has been making headlines around the world. The Financial Times also published an article this week, as did the Telegraph and several publications around the world.
Let us know if you’ve been affected in the comments below!