With November exams looming I would like to draw your attention to changes to the upcoming exam session that are available to read on the OCC (Online Curriculum Center). These notes pertain to both Route 1 and Route 2.

The following changes to the examinations will be implemented as of November 2014:

Paper 1: The origins of the sources provided will be simplified and when students are evaluating sources they should refer to those simplified statements.  There will be full acknowledgement of the sources at the end of the exam, but those are not to be used in the exam.

There is a sample provided on the OCC that you can access here: http://occ.ibo.org/ibis/occ/Utils/getFile2.cfm?source=/ibis/occ/home/subjectHome.cfm&filename=dp/gr3/history/d_3_histx_spp_1408_1s_e.pdf

There is less of a mystery as to what type of source the extract comes from, and it should be easier for students to evaluate the sources.  For example, the heading for a political cartoon reads:

“John Bernard Partridge, an illustrator, depicts US president Herbert Hoover and

British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald (both standing) with Italian prime

minister Benito Mussolini and French foreign minister Aristide Briand (both sitting)

in the cartoon “Restrained Enthusiasm” from the British satirical magazine Punch (1929)”.

And, a historical analysis reads:

“Phillips Payson O’Brien, a lecturer in Modern History writing in the academic

book British and American Naval Power: Politics and Policy 1900–1936 (1998).”


The wording for question 3 remains the same; students are still asked ‘With reference to origins and purpose, assess the value and limitations …..’


Papers 2 and 3:

There is no specimen paper as the form of these papers will remain the same.  The difference is that command terms will be clearly analytical and will not unintentionally mislead students into descriptive or narrative accounts.  Instead, students will be invited to, “compare and contrast, “discuss, “evaluate, “examineand to argueto what extent“.

The rationale for these changes is given: “The goal is to bring clarity to the examination papers and to ensure equality of opportunity between the various options that are available.”

If you are questioning the timing, this  makes sense as these are not major changes and they will help standardize questions across time and space (chronologically and regionally).  As the IB is heading into a new curriculum, with changes to be announced in 2015, and teaching of the new curriculum to begin in Autumn 2015 for first examinations in May 2017, this is a good time to get teachers accustomed to this standardization.  There will be 4 examinations with these changes in place.

Changes are awesome, especially when it gives me a chance to include an old David Bowie favorite.  The real trick is including ‘Major Tom’ but that’s for another day ….