Assessment and Exams

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the Diploma Programme (DP) courses.

DP assessment procedures measure the extent to which students have mastered advanced academic skills in fulfilling these goals, for example:

  • analysing and presenting information
  • evaluating and constructing arguments
  • solving problems creatively.

Basic skills are also assessed, including:

  • retaining knowledge
  • understanding key concepts
  • applying standard methods. 

In addition to academic skills, DP assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills, wherever appropriate.

Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student's position in the overall rank order.

Using external and internal assessment

The IB uses both external and internal assessment in the DP.

External assessment

Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability.

They include:

  • essays
  • structured problems
  • short-response questions
  • data-response questions
  • text-response questions
  • case-study questions
  • multiple-choice questions – though these are rarely used. 

Internal assessment

Teacher assessment is also used for most courses. This includes:

  • oral work in languages
  • fieldwork in geography
  • laboratory work in the sciences
  • investigations in mathematics
  • artistic performances.

Read further information on understanding DP assessment.