IB Schools and Colleges Association

IBSCA University Admissions Email

The below message was sent out to all admissions officers in the UK this morning 

Dear Admissions Officer

I wrote to you earlier this summer to highlight the situation of IB graduates facing an uncertain future due to circumstances beyond their control.  Since I wrote, the press has been full of stories surrounding the A level grading fiasco and the government’s decision to move towards Centre Assessed Grades for all A level students.  This follows on the heels of the Scottish government’s earlier decision to likewise abandon an algorithm based approach.  For Scottish Highers and A levels, which are under direct government control the response has been slow, but has, nonetheless identified the difficulties inherent in the creation of an algorithm to calculate grades fairly.  Unfortunately, IB students have not been treated so leniently or so generously.

You might be aware that the IB Diploma and Careers Programme qualifications awarded earlier this summer are differentiated from A levels on the basis that the grade calculated includes an element of assessed coursework.  Yesterday the IBO announced that the mark for the coursework component would be used to create a final grade. Whilst this did see a rise in final grades for some students, others are no better off as their coursework marks are subject to ongoing appeals by schools.  These case reviews are ongoing and so the results received by some students are still ‘pending’ the outcome of the reviews. 

I am writing to ask that the generosity extended to A level students should not result in discrimination against IB students. Arguably, the credibility of the IB grades is of a far higher standing than that of A level grades which we are sadly aware have been created based on generous teacher predictions.  Comparing two students is invidious but surely a student who has a credible grade based on assessed work should be viewed more favourably than a student who has a grade based on data provided by the same institution that submitted their UCAS predicted grades on which basis offers for university places were made? 

The situation is changing rapidly, and I wanted to write to make sure that the IB students were not allowed to fade from sight as focus shifts to their A level counterparts.  They are just as deserving of leniency and should not be punished relative to their peers because the IBO is regulated in multiple regions and therefore cannot take the option so rapidly chosen by the Department for Education and the devolved governments.

Yours faithfully


 Richard Markham

Chief Executive Officer