Internal Assessments: Piece By Piece

Article by Kody Tinga

For all students taking the IB diploma, there are a number of projects and tasks that they will need to work on and complete to a satisfactory level in order to actually obtain the diploma and finish the IB program. One of these, as talked about in an article released earlier this month, is the Extended Essay (EE), but that is not the only one students will have to face – let’s not forget the Internal Assessments (IAs) that students will have to take for each in every single IB class that they take.

In contrast to perhaps an exam or a test, IAs are typically completed over a longer period of time, and can concern things like a full performance piece, lab works and reports, or presentations on literary works. For each subject, from Economics to Psychology, Literature to Chemistry, IAs look different. While each one is meant to track and assess each student’s engagement with their subjects of choice, no one IA is exactly alike.

All of these IAs might seem quite intimidating, especially for the Sophomores who are rapidly approaching the third and fourth years of high school, which are when the IB curriculum is introduced in full, but it isn’t all doom and gloom ahead for them over the course for the next few years at ISM.

There are of course a number of worries about IAs, but many of these are unfounded. However, that does not mean one should face the tasks ahead of them without preparing. “There will always be ups and downs and it’s normal for the beginning to be a lot of downs because the IB is completely new: the different styles of assessments and grading criteria take getting used to.” Liz S. (11) says. “Everyone is having a hard time; it’s not just you!”

In fact, a lack of preparedness is seen as a key obstacle in students finishing their projects on time. “Though procrastination and spontaneity can sometimes result in brilliance, all IA students need to be proactive and engaged in the process so they can experiment, make mistakes, and produce work that is detailed and thoughtfully wrought.” Mr. Cook, an IB Literature teacher, states.

With the amount of freedom that most IAs offer to students, it can seem challenging, almost even intimidating to actually start working. “Another nerve-wrecking thing is the amount of freedom I get.” Liz adds. “[But] I’m preparing myself for these assessments by reading a lot of the exemplars given by the teachers, going to a lot of tutorials, brainstorming in my free time or whenever something comes up as a possible prompt for the IAs!”

Again, though, it must be stated: The purpose of the IAs is not to terrify or tax, but instead to display students’ passions for their respective classes. “When it comes to choosing classes, choose the classes you love — the workload is not a joke. You want to take classes where work doesn’t feel like work, but the research is enjoyable,” Liz continues.

With these tips and words of advice, hopefully the IAs will not seem as daunting a challenge as they once seemed before.