COVID-19 (coronavirus) updates

Our students, their well-being and their progression in future stages of life have been at the forefront of our thinking as we respond to this extraordinary pandemic. As an organization, it is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide for our IB community, students and teachers are fair and compassionate during these difficult circumstances. We are updating schools regularly with guidance and updates, please contact your school for more information about IB education and assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools can contact their IBWS manager or IB Answers for support.

Last update: 20 January 2022, 13:00 CET

Topic links

Upcoming examination sessions:

May 2022 examination update | Assessment sessions in 2023

Other topics:

May 2021 examination sessions | November 2021 examination sessionsCOVID-19 Fund

Upcoming examination sessions:

May 2022 examination update

The IB understands that students globally continue to face disruption to their lives and their teaching and learning as a result of the global pandemic. In many countries globally, schools have adapted to these circumstances and are committed to remaining open wherever possible in order to reduce the impact on student learning and well-being.

The IB has made adaptations to help address the challenges caused by the pandemic, including adjustments to learning, teaching, and assessment, which have been extended to examinations in 2022.

The IB strongly believes that students sitting examinations wherever possible is the best method to assess student capability. The IB expects schools to make all reasonable efforts to administer the examinations. 

We also recognize there will be circumstances that prevent the administration of exams, or that students may need to quarantine at short notice, and in those cases, the IB will use the developed procedure to award grades without exams as a contingency measure.

The IB realizes that each student or school will be in a unique situation and has measures available to ensure that each candidate is awarded grades.

We will ensure that the impact of the global pandemic will be considered throughout the grade awarding process for May 2022.

In order to maintain the value and recognition of IB qualifications for learners and universities, it is important that we return to pre-pandemic standards as soon as possible. Therefore, we believe it is appropriate to return to established standards incrementally. We will still set grade boundaries in May 2022 that mitigate for the impact of the pandemic on students.

Understanding assessment during COVID-19

Schools, teachers and students around the world continue to experience tremendous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about the dual assessment

The IB has prepared videos and one-page documents to explain the principles and processes that will enable us to award results for both routes, how we will maintain fairness across both routes and how we will consider the impact of the pandemic throughout the awarding process.

Assessment sessions in 2023

Update for 2023 Diploma Programme, Career-related Programme, and Middle Years Programme examination sessions.

In 2023, students undertaking the DP, CP, and MYP will complete the full suite of assessments, as outlined in programme and subject documentation on the programme resource centre. Assessment will return to the published model for all subjects and components.

As the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the most significant disruption to global education that we have ever known. During this turbulent time, we have all had to overcome challenges, adapt and innovate; and often make incredibly difficult decisions to ensure the continuity of learning for our students.  

During 2020 and 2021, and looking forward to 2022, the IB has decided that global disruptions to education have been significant enough that it has been necessary for the IB to provide assessment mitigations for students in the final years of their IB programme studies. While the disruptions are ongoing, their impact on schools, teachers and students is different today than at the beginning of the pandemic. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and listen to our schools, educators and students as we move towards 2023. 

The IB believes that a renewed focus on supporting student readiness and engagement with our full programmes and subjects as initially designed is the best next step. Our programmes and subjects were designed according to the highest international quality standards by experts and IB educators. By returning to our programmes and subjects as designed, the IB ensures an equitable student experience with the broadest range of knowledge, skills and competencies.  

Though we recognize that students starting the DP or CP or moving towards completion of the MYP have also been affected by the pandemic's disruption, we have decided to shift from mitigations for assessments to focus more on supporting schools in addressing learning needs through teaching and learning. The assessment models in each of the IB programmes are carefully designed and balanced across a variety of assessment types and experiences to support each student in demonstrating their full abilities and skills set in each of their subjects.  

We believe students will benefit from the carefully designed and balanced assessment model which enables students to demonstrate their full abilities and skills through the diverse assessment types and experiences.   

The IB is committed to continuing to offer effective and quality support to schools. In the coming weeks, the IB will be sending a survey to all IB World Schools to understand in depth the current contexts of our schools, the challenges they are facing and the strategies that schools are implementing to support the learning needs of IB students.  

Our global IB community has shown remarkable resilience, flexibility and professionalism to the benefit of students worldwide. We are grateful for your continued dedication, and we look forward to embarking on this next phase together as one community.   

The IB will be providing schools, teachers and students with continuous updates. In addition, the IB's dedicated teams will continue to work closely with schools, providing timely information, support, resources and opportunities for questions and feedback.

Other topics:

May 2021 examination sessions

Update: July 2021

On July 6, more than 170,000 students across the world received their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), and Career-related Programme (CP) results from the May 2021 examination session.

The latest Diploma Programme provisional statistical bulletin contains summary statistics of the May 2021 examination session.

November 2021 examination sessions

Update: August 2021

The IB has been talking with schools throughout the pandemic to understand the circumstances faced by our community globally to ensure we can provide the correct support, resources and mitigations for the disruption to learning. The resilience displayed by teachers and students through the last 18 months has been extraordinary.

As such, the IB again offered a dual route for the November 2021 Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme examination session.

This followed an August survey of our November session schools, indicating that many schools and students continue to face huge challenges due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The IB is worked with schools to determine which of the two pathways was best for their region based on their local restrictions; written examinations, where they can be administered safely, or an alternative route using a combination of internal assessment coursework and teacher-predicted grades, where they can’t.

Roughly 70% of schools have indicated that they were able to administer the exams.

During November 2020 and May 2021, for those schools that were on the non-exam route, we awarded results for students using their Internal Assessments (externally marked by the IB) and quality assured teacher submitted predicted grades. Based on our analysis and reflection, a combination of coursework and predicted grades is the best indicator of students’ holistic performance if examinations cannot be sat. Therefore, we will use this same combination of coursework marks and teacher submitted predicted grades to award for students on the non-exam route in November 2021.

During grade-awarding, appropriate grade boundaries will be set for each route, building in mitigations that reflect the disruption experienced in teaching and learning around the world and considering how grades are likely to be distributed in other large-scale qualifications.

Results from the dual route model in November 2020 were treated with equal validity. We have confidence that the same will be true for November 2021 results.

For more details on the November 2021 session, students and teachers are encouraged to talk to their school’s IB coordinator.

Update: June 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact across the globe, we recognize the varying challenges that our schools and students continue to manage, including periods of remote and hybrid learning extended well into 2021.

The IB has made adaptations to help address these challenges, including adjustments to learning, teaching, and assessment; the examination schedule for November 2021 has been updated to reflect these adaptations. Schools can access more information via the Programme Resource Centre.

COVID-19 Fund

The COVID-19 Fund, established in May 2020, is a firm step towards protecting our schools from the effects of this health and economic crisis.

The aim of the fund is to support candidate and authorized schools that are financially impacted by the pandemic.

Find out more