International Baccalaureate

 Check out our NEW IB website!

Dear Seniors and Families of Seniors,

Covid-19 times are presenting challenges to schools and students around the world.  The IB is making efforts to support students in the assessment process. Last year, the IB external exams in May were cancelled worldwide. This year, the IB is offering two routes for schools to assess their student learning: an exam route and a non-exam route. The IB is working hard to make both the exam route and a non-exam route equitable for students.

With that as a foundation, the IB recently sent a survey to all schools.  There was one question: Can your school administer exams to ALL students?  We answered NO, because currently there is no concrete plan for returning ALL seniors before the start of exams in May.  Nearly every IB school in Washington and Oregon answered NO, including the other two IB high schools in Seattle.  

Additional guidance has been released now, and based on our situation, and our response to their survey question, RBHS students will be assessed via the  non-exam route for May 2021.   

What does this mean?

It means that you will not have external IB exams in May.

 It also means the  IB will calculate a course mark (grade) for you (1-7) based on the Coursework (CW) and the Predicted Grades (PG). A score of 4 or higher earns college credit.

  • What is COURSEWORK?
    • Internal Assessments (IAs) for classes, including orals and papers
      • In a “normal year”, teachers mark these; for the May 2021 cohort, both RBHS teachers and the IB examiners will mark these. 
    • Written Assignment for Language and Literature HL
    • TOK Essay and presentation
    • EE paper 
  • What is a PREDICTED GRADE?
    • PGs-grades are grades teachers “predict” you will earn in the course, factoring in IAs and external exams if you were to take them. 
    • This year, similar to last year, the IB will be using our historical data to determine how close teachers’ predicted grades have been to actual grades and moderate our predicted grades accordingly. 
      • Therefore, a teacher cannot just give everyone a 7


  • The total mark for each course (Language & Literature, Spanish, Biology, History, etc.) = CW + PG
  • Both coursework and exams have the usual weighting (The weighting for exams will be replaced by PG ):  CW (between 20%-40%, based on the course) + PG (remaining 60%-80%)
  • RBHS teachers will be given additional guidance and support from the IB to help them give the most accurate predictions possible, given the challenging circumstances

Next steps:

As you are aware, these are stressful and challenging times for everyone in the RBHS and IB communities. We will work together to guide and support students so that they can all be successful in the May 2021 IB assessments. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Mr. Miller directly.

What is IB?

The IB Diploma Program is highly regarded as an integrated, college prep high school curriculum for 11th and 12th grade students. The IB mission is to promote international understanding and responsible world citizenship through high academic standards. It is a goal to develop students who are lifelong learners who think critically. There are over 1300 IB high school programs around the world in over 110 countries.

Participants in IB become part of an international group of students taking similar courses and based on clear academic standards. Experienced examiners from other countries as well as their Rainier Beach teachers evaluate student work including science experiments, recorded oral examinations, and projects

The IB Curriculum

The IB Program provides an integrated and proven approach to college preparation. Students learn critical thinking skills, how to compare and contrast information, to manage their time, to work independently and with others, to draw connections from their knowledge of a variety of fields, and consider global perspectives.

Levels of Participation

At the highest level of participation, students complete IB courses and exams in six subject areas over two years. Additionally they complete a college level essay independently, conduct a service learning project, and complete an interdisciplinary course called the Theory of Knowledge. If the meet the standard, they can earn a diploma from IB in addition to their Seattle Public Schools diploma.

Alternatively, students can challenge themselves with one,two, as many as six IB courses and exams. Currently, over 95% of our juniors are taking at least one IB course. These students are challenging themselves and improving their college readiness.

Recent Press

HBO Takes a Hard Look at Inequality in Seattle Schools
– KUOW, March 2019


Steven Miller
IB Diploma Program Coordinator

Additional Links

SPS International Baccalaureate Webpage
International Baccalaureate Website