International Baccalaureate (IB) is certainly a challenging and dynamic program to start with which has various components to its assessment scheme and but one important aspect which often troubles students is Internal Assessment (IA).
If viewed in the right way IA can often be a goldmine of marks for students if done the right way. Students often complain about IA being a headache and For being a bit too tough and trust me I am not going to lie but it is quite rigorous but with the right guidance, you can enter the exam hall with marks already in the bank.
Now Internal Assessment can be a paper, project, oral exam, workbook, or a series of experiments depending on the subject which are marked by an internal examiner and then moderated by an external IB expert. So don’t worry if you have a teacher who marks too strictly, the moderator makes sure that you don’t suffer and that the marking is uniform for all the IB schools.
So how about Physics IA?
IB Physics Internal Assessment like any other science subject is done by the medium of laboratory work based investigative project in which you’re supposed to choose a research question and come up with an extensive investigative report on the IA Physics topic of your choice, which is then marked by the internal examiner who follows the IB guideline and criteria to evaluate the finished project.
You get to choose the IA Physics topic at the start of the year and you have to submit the final report by the end of the academic session but in between, you have to submit subsequent drafts so as to show your gradual progress. A detailed timeline regarding the same will be shared with you by your subject teacher.
So yes, you have more than enough time and you know the question being posed as well, so what’s stopping you from scoring a great IA grade. Perhaps the right guidance! You can always consult your teacher or friends on ways to improve your IA score but it would be helpful to know how you’re marked, wouldn’t it?
So how are you marked?
So, IB uses extensive criteria based on various factors to mark you, which have different weightages.
- Personal engagement (8%) – This is to assess the extent to which the student engages with the exploration and makes it their own. This involves addressing personal interests or showing evidence of independent thinking, creativity, or initiative in designing, implementation and presentation of the investigation.
- Exploration (25%) – This is to understand the extent to which you establish the scientific context for the work, state a clear focused research question, and use concepts and techniques but this also considers awareness of safety, environmental and ethical considerations.
- Analysis (25%) – This measures the extent to which you have selected, recorded, processed, and interpreted the data in ways that are relevant to the IA Physics topic and can support the conclusion.
- Evaluation (25%) – This checks your evaluation of the investigation and the results with regard to the IA Physics topic and the accepted scientific context
- Communication (17%) – This evaluates whether your investigation is presented and reported in a way that supports effective communication of the focus, process, and outcomes.
The study of physics is also an adventure. You will find it challenging, sometimes frustrating, occasionally painful, and often richly rewarding. – Hugh D. Young.
I am sure none of the points mentioned above make any sense now but to understand the evaluation it would be great if you go through the sample IA files from previous years, your teacher will probably share these files with you.
Then start comparing files and try to understand why one was marked more than the other. If the evaluation still doesn’t make any sense to you, come back here, look for the points mentioned above then surely it will start making some more sense, if not all of it.
Also Read: Do you Really Need An IB Tok Tutor?
Even though I have already mentioned mostly everything about the evaluation, there are still things that you should never forget while doing your IB Physics Internal Assessment.
- There’s no scope for plagiarism in IB and if you’re caught, even your diploma could be withheld.
- It’s important to give credit to the original work and IB honours that, so make sure to keep check of all the citations and references you use during the course of your project. A well-proofread file is important.
- Even though the research question doesn’t carry any marks, but it is in fact the most important aspect of your project.
- Be as thorough as possible when it comes to presenting data and information, don’t withhold anything. Explain everything you do from terms to derivations.
- Don’t fudge the data according to your convenience so as to get a favorable conclusion because that error might be crucial to you getting a 24 or 18 in your IA.
- Explain everything you have gotten in the conclusion from deviations in results to possible sources of error, the examiner shouldn’t have to ask you a question about anything written in your file. (Even a tiny amount of doubt in the examiner’s mind about anything can cost you a lot)
So there are a couple of things I have not explained in-depth like what’s moderation? So once after all the projects are marked by the internal examiner, a sample of those files are sent to an expert external moderator who marks the file according to IB standards if internal marks were found to be off the standards.
So if the moderator rates a file to be 18 which was graded a 20 by your teacher then all the files will be moderated accordingly so that there’s no injustice to students in any corner of the world.