FOA Samples

In order to prepare for the further oral activities, you will want to listen to work from previous students. The following samples include both good and poor practice, along with teacher's comments on the sample performances. Try assessing the activities using the assessment criteria for the further oral activity. Compare your marks to the teacher's. How were they different or similar? 

How to Use Sample Work
This section contains several sample Individual Oral Commentaries of former students. You may want to look at sample work for several different reasons, depending on who you are and what your aims are. Teachers may want to practice assessing students, comparing the grades that they would have given with the grades that we have given. Students may want to look at the sample work to learn from example. Either way we recommend you approach these sample works as an 'information gap' exercise, that is to say by making educated guesses before looking at the results. This can be done best by following these steps:
Step 1
Read the passage that has been provided for each Individual Oral Commentary before listening to the student's response. In fact, you can already make guesses about what you think the student will say in his or her commentary before listening to the commentary. 
Step 2
Listen to the recording of the commentary. As you listen check to see if the student has included all of the ideas that you would have included. Naturally, if you are not familiar with the work, the student will have different and perhaps better insights into the text. This does not always have to be a handicap though. As a stranger to the text, you may see things in the passage that the student is blind to. 
Step 3
Assess the student's work using the grading criteria from the IB. For each criteria, discuss what grade you would give the student together with fellow classmates or colleagues. Do not click on the [show] button, which discloses the teacher's grades and comments, until you feel you are confident about your grade.
Step 4
Look at the teacher's assessment and comments and compare them to your own. Were you close? Do you agree or disagree with the teacher's comments? Perhaps you would like to post a comment to the sample work stating your opinion. Look at more sample works from this section to gain a sense of how lenient or strict teachers can be. All in all, this information gap exercise should be a learning experience. 
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Comments 15

Margaret Das 22 February 2017 - 07:53

Hi Tim
How many words, approximately, should an FOA Reflective statement be?
Thank you for your advice.

David McIntyre 22 February 2017 - 09:02

There is no word count, Margaret. You can set the parameters for this.


Sarah Thompson 6 April 2017 - 02:26

Hi David or Tim
Two students presented a seminar for their FOA on Part 1 - Gender and the role toys have played in the construction and representation of gender roles. My main concern is they did not use a primary source but a variety of ads which they used to support their 'lecture'. They did however deconstruct a video advertisement toward the end that supported their claim that although the toy industry has changed over time it has not altered enough. Just how much language/visual deconstruction is required in the FOA? Does this depend upon the form chosen? Some forms will make it more prohibitive? Would appreciate your help. Your site has been a great resource, thanks.

David McIntyre 6 April 2017 - 04:19

Hi Sarah,

A difficult question to answer (how much?). The only advice I can give is to use the grading criteria to assess the task. It seems to me - correct me if I am wrong - that some of what the students have done was argumentative/polemical rather than analytical/critical. That may be to split hairs a bit, but I suggest that FOAs work well (and are more readily assessed) when the focus is on text and meaning. I should imagine you can reward something of what the students did. If it was a largely unsuccessful presentation, the students can learn from their experience and (hopefully) do something better/more appropriate on another occasion.

I hope this helps,


Sarah Thompson 6 April 2017 - 11:32

Hi David
Thanks. They actually presented a really convincing foa so I think I can reward in the other criteria especially C and D thanks for your advice.

Dorcas Tirhas 20 April 2017 - 04:03

Hi David/Tim,

Could I find out if there is a rubric / descriptive breakdown for the FOA criteria, similar to the ones in Lit? (ie: what would get between a 10-11, 12-13 for example for Criteria A&B and likewise for Criteria C&D, what merits a 3,4 or 5?

Much appreciated!

Dorcas Tirhas 20 April 2017 - 04:33

Hi there, sorry I just realised I could answer my own question and found these descriptors in the course guide.


Disha Garcha 27 April 2017 - 23:45

Hi David and Tim,
This is my first time teaching this course. For my FOA for Part 2, I had my students working in groups of 3 and following a specific news trend for 4 weeks. One student followed a Western broadcast, another Eastern and the last alternative. I got the idea from an IB Oxford Teacher Companion Planning Guide. They have just concluded their research component. I have given them the option to choose whatever presentation format they like, but I would like to recommend a few, I am a little of unsure of my initial ideas (interview panel, TedTalk, conference). Do you have any suggestions for presentation ideas that could work for this project?

Tim Pruzinsky 28 April 2017 - 04:24

Hi Disha,

I think the format depends on the "persona" they take on. Are they the researcher or are they the one who thinks/acts like the viewpoint they researched?

While I would I'd nix the TedTalk, the others seem spot-on! A TedTalk is one person speaking and so with a group of 3, it doesn't allow for a conversation/discussion to ensue. I think that whatever format that allows a sharing/presenting of ideas (or a debate of ideas) would work well.

So, a debate, a conversation in a cafe, a pre-conference planning meeting about their findings as researchers, a presentation - like they would at a conference - of their findings, an interview panel (as you so wisely suggest), and so on would all work in terms of format.


Mary Davenport 29 August 2017 - 14:19

Hi all, do you find using these samples in class is beneficial, why or why not? Thank you!

elizabeth smith 17 September 2017 - 15:15

Hello Tim
Do you have any exemplar reflective statements or proformas I could look at to help guide my students. This is the first time I have taught the IB and wondered if there are any templates out there?



Tim Pruzinsky 18 September 2017 - 03:08

Hi Elizabeth,

We don't and the IB doesn't have one either. The IB doesn't actually collect them and only vaguely mention that they should be done. I wouldn't worry about "exemplar" reflections and instead I tend to have the students reflect on the topic + their own FOA while also setting targets for the future.


elizabeth smith 18 September 2017 - 11:10

Thank you so much.



Joanne Craig 12 October 2017 - 08:36

Hi Tim,

I have a student who would like to do an FOA on Tintin in the Congo, the focus would be on language and taboo. However, this is a text in translation. Can this be used in an FOA on Part 1?

Many thanks

Tim Pruzinsky 12 October 2017 - 08:54

Hi Joanne,

This is such a tough one! Technically, the IB doesn't want FOAs from texts in translation. They want students to be immersed in the culture of the language being studied (and the language of that place too).

On the other hand, they promote international mindedness and do allow for the study of short texts in translation in Part 1 and 2. Usually, I recommend no to this type of query. But I absolutely see the value in a FOA here. I'm torn. Run it through IB Answers and if they don't get back to you in time, I'd say go ahead in this case only.


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