I am not a maths teacher let alone an IBDP math teacher and I write this blog well aware of this fact.
The continuing COVID-19 enforced school closures are now beginning to impact the teaching and learning of the May 2021 cohort, particularly in those areas where school campuses have been closed since January. Many students in this cohort appear set to have had almost half of their first year delivered online.
In this post I am not concerned with the actual content of IBDP courses and how that will be addressed, but with the planning of our internal assessment calendar for the May 2021 cohort.
One of the impacts on our campus will be, for a variety of reasons, the combining of IBDP maths courses in each year level. When the new maths courses were published this was something I hoped we would do.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your opinion, that was not to be. I was not able to convince colleagues that the new courses should be combined SL/HL where possible, with common content for all four courses taught collaboratively.
But now it looks like from next year we will be forced to combine them. I am secretly hopeful that this may open a few minds as we experiment with this paradigm.
The Group 5 project?
Teaching and learning aside, what has this got to do with the IA?
Well, I am currently trying to re-design our coursework calendar for the May 2021 cohort as the picture has shifted now the campus has been closed so long and the calendar designed last October is no longer fit for purpose.
One thing that I especially want to avoid is the concertina of assessment deadlines being squished into the first six months of next academic year. Therefore I am actively looking for solutions to address this, one of which might be fence-posting out the dates the times that all maths classes at all course (AA & AI) & level (SL & HL).
For example, the Math exploration should take 10-15 hours of instructional time. Assuming 15 hours, and with 5 x 1 hour classes per week I could block out three weeks from the middle of October until the middle of November for students to focus purely on their maths IA.
No other subjects can set deadlines for coursework in this time that could distract from students focusing on their maths explorations. All maths classes work on their exploration solely at this time. At the end of this time the first draft of the work would be submitted to their teachers for feedback as per IB rules. Teachers could then have two weeks to turn around their feedback and students a further three weeks to work on their final drafts independently.
To my mind the question is:
- Is it feasible to expect all maths classes to work on their explorations in exactly the same weeks?
- If so, would this approach allow the collapsing of classes so that students can collaborate, teachers can co-teach and support?
- If so, would there be increased opportunities for ATL skill and learner profile attribute development?
IBDP Maths teachers out there, I welcome your views. What is your experience with the new courses and the new IA? Would it be feasible to structure the IA like this?