The IB is full of acronyms – TOK, IA, EE, and CAS just to name a few! Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of what all of them mean. One in particular, the Internal Assessment, seems to cause confusion for many students. Both students who haven’t started the IB yet as well as current IB students often do not have a full understanding of what an IA really is. In this blog, we’ll break down what Internal Assessments are about!
What is an IA?
In the IB, you are assessed in multiple ways. Over the course of the 2 years in the diploma you have to write essays, make presentations, and write exams. There are so many assignments that you have to submit in the IB that there aren’t possibly enough IB examiners in the IB to grade every assignment! The IB’s solution to this is to allow your teachers to do some of the grading for them! Any assignment that your teacher grades, instead of an IB examiner, is called an internal assessment.
For example, in IB Economics you are required to write 3 commentaries (essays) over the course of your 2 years. These commentaries are internal assessments, so they will be graded by your teacher!
Every subject in the IB has some internal assessments. These may come in the form of essays, commentaries, or oral presentations.
Why does it matter if an assignment is internally assessed?
Since your grade for all of your internal assessments is decided by your teacher, it’s important to listen carefully to their advice! If you see advice online that is contrary to what your teacher recommends, it is smarter to follow your teacher’s guidance as they will be the ones giving you your final grade!
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My teacher is a really strict grader – will this negatively affect me?
The IB has a method to ensure that students aren’t unfairly punished if you have a teacher who grades strictly. An external IB examiner will ‘moderate’ a few of the assignments from every school in order to make sure the teacher has fairly assigned grades. This examiner will judge if your teacher has given grades according to the IB guidelines. In the case that your teacher graded the assignments too harshly or too leniently, the examiner will adjust all scores for the class to ensure you get the grade you deserve.
So what is an external assessment?
As the name suggests, external assessments are those sent directly to an external IB examiner, so your teacher doesn’t decide your grade. The best example of external assessments are your final exams at the end of your IB. These are sent directly to the IB and sent to external examiners, so your school teachers have nothing to do with them!
Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion around the difference between an IA and an external assessment! Both are very important to your final IB grade, but they are graded completely differently.