The internal assessment requirements are the same for biology, chemistry and physics. The internal
assessment, worth 20% of the final assessment, consists of one scientific investigation. The individual
investigation should cover a topic that is commensurate with the level of the course of study.
Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB. The performance in
internal assessment at both SL and HL is marked against common assessment criteria, with a total mark out
The internal assessment task will be one scientific investigation taking about 10 hours and the write-
up should be about 6 to 12 pages long. Investigations exceeding this length will be penalized in the
communications criterion as lacking in conciseness.
The practical investigation, with generic criteria, will allow a wide range of practical activities satisfying the
varying needs of biology, chemistry and physics. The investigation addresses many of the learner profile
attributes well. See section on “Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics” for further links.
The task produced should be complex and commensurate with the level of the course. It should require a
purposeful research question and the scientific rationale for it. The marked exemplar material in the teacher
support materials will demonstrate that the assessment will be rigorous and of the same standard as the
assessment in the previous courses.
Some of the possible tasks include:
a hands-on laboratory investigation
using a spreadsheet for analysis and modelling
extracting data from a database and analysing it graphically
producing a hybrid of spreadsheet/database work with a traditional hands-on investigation using a simulation, provided it is interactive and open-ended
Some task may consist of relevant and appropriate qualitative work combined with quantitative work.
The tasks include the traditional hands-on practical investigations as in the previous course. The depth
of treatment required for hands-on practical investigations is unchanged from the previous internal
assessment and will be shown in detail in the teacher support materials. In addition, detailed assessment of
specific aspects of hands-on practical work will be assessed in the written papers as detailed in the relevant
topic(s) in the “Syllabus content” section of the guide.
The task will have the same assessment criteria for SL and HL. The five assessment criteria are personal
engagement, exploration, analysis, evaluation and communication.
Purpose of Internal Assessment
Internal assessment is an integral part of the course and is compulsory for both SL and HL students. It
enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal
interests, without the time limitations and other constraints that are associated with written examinations.
The internal assessment should, as far as possible, be woven into normal classroom teaching and not be a
separate activity conducted after a course has been taught.
The internal assessment requirements at SL and at HL are the same. This internal assessment section of the
guide should be read in conjunction with the internal assessment section of the teacher support materials.
Internal Assessment Criteria
The new assessment model uses five criteria to assess the final report of the individual investigation with the
following raw marks and weightings assigned:
Guidance and Authenticity
The work submitted for internal assessment must be the student’s own work. However, it is not the intention
that students should decide upon a title or topic and be left to work on the internal assessment component
without any further support from the teacher. The teacher should play an important role during both
the planning stage and the period when the student is working on the internally assessed work. It is the
responsibility of the teacher to ensure that students are familiar with:
the requirements of the type of work to be internally assessed
the IB animal experimentation policy
the assessment criteria—students must understand that the work submitted for assessment must
address these criteria effectively.
Teachers and students must discuss the internally assessed work. Students should be encouraged to initiate
discussions with the teacher to obtain advice and information, and students must not be penalized for
seeking guidance. As part of the learning process, teachers should read and give advice to students on one
draft of the work. The teacher should provide oral or written advice on how the work could be improved,
but not edit the draft. The next version handed to the teacher must be the final version for submission.
It is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that all students understand the basic meaning and significance
of concepts that relate to academic honesty, especially authenticity and intellectual property. Teachers
must ensure that all student work for assessment is prepared according to the requirements and must
explain clearly to students that the internally assessed work must be entirely their own. Where collaboration
between students is permitted, it must be clear to all students what the difference is between collaboration
All work submitted to the IB for moderation or assessment must be authenticated by a teacher, and must not
include any known instances of suspected or confirmed academic misconduct. Each student must confirm
that the work is his or her authentic work and constitutes the final version of that work. Once a student has
officially submitted the final version of the work it cannot be retracted. The requirement to confirm the
authenticity of work applies to the work of all students, not just the sample work that will be submitted to
the IB for the purpose of moderation. For further details refer to the IB publications Academic honesty (2011),
The Diploma Programme: From principles into practice (2009) and the relevant articles in General regulations:
Diploma Programme (2012).
Authenticity may be checked by discussion with the student on the content of the work, and scrutiny of one
or more of the following:
the student’s initial proposal
the first draft of the written work
the references cited
the style of writing compared with work known to be that of the student
the analysis of the work by a web-based plagiarism detection service such as http://www.turnitin.com
The same piece of work cannot be submitted to meet the requirements of both the internal assessment and
the extended essay.