IB Assessments and Types of Exams
Students will sit for an exam for each IB class. These exams are usually given during May of the senior year, although a junior may be able to take one or two exams. IB classes are assessed through both internal and external assessments. All assessment procedures are designed to value both process and content and to achieve a balanced assessment of a student’s performance. The assessment procedure emphasizes understanding and application of knowledge, not just the student’s ability to regurgitate information.
The external assessment is the more traditional exam portion and consists of two or three papers. These papers are usually done over a two or three day period. They typically consist of a combination of multiple choice, short answer, extended response, and data or case analysis questions.
The internal assessment is first graded by the teacher of the course. They may include oral presentations, practical work (like a written lab report), or other written work. The internal assessments are then sent to an IB moderator who will re-grade the assignment. The external moderation procedure is used to ensure that uniform standards are maintained for all students.
Assessment for the IB diploma is criterion-referenced, not norm-referenced. This means that students are not placed onto a normal distribution curve with a set portion of students deemed as having failed the course. Knowledge and skills are assessed according to the student’s own achievement against a set of criteria.
In order for students to have the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities, a variety of assessment methods, which take into account the different learning styles and cultural experiences of students, are used. All subjects are externally examined, which means that an international grading team, hired by the IBO, evaluates the student’s work. All forms of assessment are designed to measure the extent to which the individual student has met the aims of the subject. Therefore, the assessment tools go far beyond testing the ability to memorize isolated facts and bits of information. The assessment tools measure what students have acquired in terms of their ability to integrate knowledge, apply academic skills, and effectively communicate their understanding of subject matter.
All students enrolled in any IB course are required to sit for the IB exam in that course and students must register for that exam prior to the published deadline. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the “extra” points added to the quarter averages.