IA changes

As the new curriculum is rolled out, there are many things to get our heads around.  There are several changes to the internal assessment.

First, there are changes in the nature of the report.

Secondly, there are changes in the way that the internal assessment will be assessed.

Below you will see the changes to expect in the new curriculum.  Remember, this will be for the students that will submit IAs for the May 2019 session.  For your current students, it is business as usual.

Changes in the writing of the report


  1. SL and HL write the same report and are assessed the same way.  All reports have a maximum of 2200 words.
  2. The required report headings have been changed to: Introduction, Exploration, Analysis, Evaluation, References
  3. Students must work in a group.  The must be a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 group members.  Students may also choose to collaborate virtually with another student or students in other IB World Schools.
  4. Children under 12 may not be used as participants.


  1. There will no longer be a review of literature.  The study to be replicated and the theory upon which that study is based must be explained. 
  2. The importance of the study must be explained.
  3. All students must have a null & research hypothesis.


  1. The choice of participants must be described and explained.
  2. Students must explain how materials were developed and why those choices were made.
  3. Controls must be explained.


  1. All students must apply both descriptive and inferential statistics.
  2. Students no longer have to justify their choice of statistics.  It is also recognized that the t-test is a robust test and may be used to determine the significance of the data.
  3. Calculations of descriptive statistics are no longer required in the appendices. Students are still required to have the calculations of their inferential stats in the appendices of the report.
  4. A discussion of the data should appear in the analysis section.


  1. The findings must be linked to the theory in the introduction.
  2. Strengths of the student's study must be discussed.
  3. There is more clarity in the teacher support materials regarding limitations.  If a student makes a mistake, it is not a limitation - and the study should be rerun.  It is not acceptable for students to include limitations such as: we forgot to read the standardized directions in one of the groups; we did not accurately measure the time it took because of poor equipment; there was a lot of distraction because we did the study in a hallway.  These will earn no credit.

Changes in the assessment of the IA

  1. Ethics are no longer assessed.  They only need to be met. The ethical considerations must be in the exploration section and there must be evidence of meeting those requirements in the appendices.  If these are lacking, the report may earn zero marks.
  2. Since all team members must use a standardized procedure which should be approved by the teacher, it is no longer assessed.  It must be included to inform the reader of how the research was carried out.  It may be in bullet form or written as a paragraph.
  3. There are no presentation marks. Students are expected to follow formatting standards, but they are not assessed on this.
  4. Citation is not assessed. However, not attributing ideas of others included in the report is academic misconduct. If there are not citations or it is clear that citation is lacking, the student may not be awarded a grade for the report.
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