What the Non-Examination Route Means for IB Juniors

What the Non-Examination Route Means for IB Juniors

Sophie Gebhardt, Journalist

In an unprecedented year, Niwot High elected to take unprecedented steps by forgoing a second year of IB examinations due to COVID concerns. By taking the non-examination route, Niwot students are awarded an IB grade that would be determined by a combination of the student’s Internal Assessment Grade (20-40%) and their predicted grade (60-80%). The two routes of examination were not the only change made: the paper 3 portion of most HL classes was also cancelled for all students in the 2021 exams and the upcoming 2022 exams.


The non-examination route has created many differences at the end of the year for IB Juniors and Seniors alike. One of the most notable differences is the heightened importance of Internal Assessments (IAs). This determination places a much bigger emphasis on IA’s as they have become the only measurable data point to grade, whereas the predicted grades are determined solely by the students’ teacher on how that teacher expects the student to score on the test. This change had varied reception, but many IB students weren’t a fan of the change. IB diploma Junior Lily Mastrangelo stated, “I’m a better test taker than I am an essay writer so I’m worried my IB scores won’t be as good since they’ll be reliant on my IA”. Other students appreciated the change in examinations, including Junior Jake Elston who takes a combination of IB and AP classes. Elston said that, “Because I take AP and IB classes it was nice to only have to focus on AP exams during this hybrid year”. There were also many students who felt the pros and cons of the non-examination decision,and  IB diploma Junior Jordyn Stewart said, “I was honestly really relieved to hear that exams were cancelled, but I was also a bit more stressed about the pressure on IAs.” 


While there are a variety of opinions surrounding the added emphasis on IAs and non-examination path, the general consensus on the cancellation of most Paper 3’s was that students were happy they did not have to worry about added material. They then had more opportunities in class to review the content that will be covered in Paper 1 and Paper 2. Lily Mastrangelo told us that, “I was very glad that IBO decided to cut out Paper 3 for all of my classes. I feel like it helps give us more time to focus on the material that we have not been able to cover as thoroughly as we would have in a normal year”.


Given the many differences within the education system itself, it is no surprise that IB has had to adapt as well. IB Juniors have faced unique challenges inside and outside the classroom, and they will hopefully have the chance to regain a sense of academic normalcy in the 2022-2023 school year.