COVID-19 and the long, challenging DP road
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COVID-19 and the long, challenging DP road

It hasn’t always been easy to cover all content in the Diploma Programme during remote teaching. That’s why the DP team has put their heads together to come up with a plan to fill te possible gaps in the next academic year.

By Olivia Ayes and Geertje van Hal, picture DP Arts Exhibtion 2020

Over the past few months since lockdown began, DP teachers have tried innovative ways to cover content, but no matter how hard everyone worked getting it right, the truth is that Padlet, Quizlet, and Nearpod can only offer so many alternatives when it comes to covering complex topics such as “Energetics” in Chemistry. Due to distractions at home and screen fatigue, online discussions and collaborative work just haven’t always been as productive as face to face discussions and learning would be.

And when we returned to school on 2 June 2020, government protocols limited our movements and we had to stick to 1.5 meters social distancing. This meant that the pace at which DP content has been covered over the last several months, needed to be slowed down, when normally, springtime of DP1 is when the workload increases to meet the demands of the rigorous IB DP curriculum.

How can students move forward?

So, what are the measures that we have taken to enable students to move forward? Teachers first brainstormed ways to enable students to stay afloat, consolidate their existing knowledge, and increase their confidence in undertaking future content. For instance, some subject teachers choose to:

  • reduce or even cancel assessment during the July assessment week, or
  • give a full revision week before assessment week, so no more new content was covered.

So far, the IB has not reduced requirements for the May 2021 cohort, meaning we are working towards a regular exam. To ensure our students will be able to cope with the demands, the DP team is looking into planning Saturday bootcamps to revise or cover new content. Should we decide that this is the way forward, we will plan these bootcamps between September and December. We will update you on this at the start of the new school year.

Exam requirements May 2021

Please read this message, which was posted on the IB website on Tuesday 30 June:

“In response to unprecedented disruptions to school communities, the IB has convened COVID-19 Response Teams representing the perspectives of regional educators, university recognition, global accreditation bodies as well as teaching, learning and assessment experts. These response teams are working together to ensure that decisions about the May 2021 assessment session are informed by principles of fairness and compassion to avoid putting undue stress on students during this challenging time.

While these decisions are complex given the global complexity of the present context, their aim is clear: to protect the health and safety of students, parents and teachers.

The IB will continue to update schools with timely guidance ahead of the May 2021 session. Please check back regularly for updates.”

Our DP students have taken all of these challenges in their stride or as best they can as developing young adults amidst a global pandemic while undertaking the extremely demanding IB Diploma Programme. When students do so with positivity, open-mindedness, and resilience, they show exactly how well-prepared they will be in the ever-changing global society.