Delivering excellence: the path to stellar IB results in the time of Covid

It’s a time of celebration at B.D. Somani International School. Despite holding classes online for sixteen months and having to forgo written examinations, our IB scores are now posted, and by just about every metric, they are the best we have ever achieved. A few interesting facts…
  • Out of our 72 students who received the diploma, the average score achieved was 37.
  • 71% of students received a 35 or better, with 22% achieving 40+ (out of a possible 45)
  • One student achieved a 44/45.
These scores would be admirable in any academic year, but to achieve them under the particular circumstances with which our students contended is nothing short of stellar.

What process and methods made us successful?

We knew early on we would need some help and invested early in the pandemic in training with one of the world’s largest online providers of high school curricula, Florida Virtual School. We’re grateful to our Board for funding two weeks of training for our teachers, who then were able to quickly get up to speed on best practices of teaching in an online environment. Our Board was also willing to invest in new technology platforms to facilitate learning and assessment in the online environment, such as, online whiteboards, and digital subscriptions supporting our theatre, world languages, and TOK classes.
Another important contributing factor is the high quality of our teaching faculty. Many of our teachers (and students) have been with us for many years, and so we can trace our students’ successes back to the high standards of these professionals, many of whom have graduate degrees and advanced certifications and also serve as IB examiners and assistant examiners. They also work well together, collaborating on lesson plans and discussing the needs of students they share in common. I want to include our counsellors in this group. More than in the past years, students have been reaching out to them to support special learning needs and help with applying to universities in light of covid restrictions. Most importantly, as the pandemic has created much anxiety among our student body, our counsellors have been organizing private and group sessions to help ease their fears and concerns.
Finally, I want to acknowledge our students and their supportive families. All the technology and great teaching in the world would not have been successful without the cooperation of students who were engaged and motivated to learn and whose parents were willing to encourage them from around the dining room table as they studied. The sacrifices and compromises families have made to ensure that students had continuous connectivity, laptops and other equipment, adequate working space, and an extra measure of patience and flexibility have been investments that have contributed to this year’s successful scores.

How can we ensure continued success?

I had the opportunity to attend an IB workshop in June, and what I became alert to is the great extent for which the ongoing pandemic appears to be serving as a catalyst for genuine education reform. This has been a long time in coming, but it has led to a new optimism among educators and new pathways of collaboration and communication between academic researchers in universities and teaching practitioners in high school classrooms. These truly are exciting times, and our students will be the beneficiaries as we continue to refine the process of education informed by this new research.
Of course, we want to maintain the momentum of this success as we begin the new academic term in August. At the moment I am writing this, I am sitting in my home in Florida and looking at what is happening in the US. The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are recommending that all US schools open up, with precautions in place, and encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.
We will all watch carefully and study our own situation in Mumbai, and make our decisions about returning to campus carefully and in observance of best practices and protocols, as we comply with all government directives based on our own local situation. In the meantime, we look forward to August 3rd and greeting (virtually) our Secondary students as we begin the 2021-2022 year.
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CAIE and B.D. Somani: A true affiliation

At B.D. Somani International School we have developed a unique educational approach that seamlessly integrates international frameworks such as the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE)