The results have come out and I feel that my holiday has ended before it began! This is of course, not true … but sometimes, it feels that way.
The results are a time for celebration (hopefully!) where I can, and without being patronising, I will often try to contact my students and let them know how well they did. I think it is important to remember that in education, we are helping to shape young people and that is a privilege we should never lose sight of.
However, the results should have a little time spent on them and in particular the IA marks.
The IA marks have historically been a real problem for the IB. Teachers have effectively done the same work year by year, but the moderation is ‘all over the place’. It irritates the hell out of me that in over 35 years of teaching, I only had coursework marks changed once (when I taught IT) and it was clear from the comments from the board, that there was some kind of mistake with assessing the work. But once I started the IB, I seem to rarely get the coursework right, with moderation all over the place!
And that reminds me of a BIG difference in the IB compared to A-Levels or GCSE – if the marks are changed, there is an imperative in the British system to ensure that it is clearly understood ‘why’ the changes have been made. The level of detail feedback to the teacher MUST be high. And this is based upon the idea that if you are to change a teacher’s marks, they will want to know why.
In the IB, the comments you get are normally as bland as can be and make little difference to you, once you understand them. There is certainly nothing that would allow you to improve and refine you work to get to the right standard. And the poor training and inconsistency of examiners and moderators does not help … but let’s not be controversial.
I normally take this time to think about the time available for revision – did the pace seem right? And was the IA completed to a good standard without causing silly pressure on the students. And with this, I start to plan out the timing and depth for next year. It sometimes feels quite unfair to have to do this now, but if not, then from day 1 of the new year, I will feel stressed because I will instantly be behind where I know I need to be. Such is the life of a teacher!