My last blog posting focussed on how Paper 2 and Paper 3 are marked online using Scoris.

Now that the results have been out for a few weeks, the theme of this post is to explain how lab work or Internal Assessment (IA) material is moderated.

The current method of assessing IA has been in use for six years although the process of moderation has been around for much longer.

So, how doe sit work? Well, around three months before the results are released (or approx. six weeks before the IB exams) you will need to give your IB coordinator the IA marks out of 48 for each of your students.

The IB coordinator will input these marks into the IB database and send them off. Almost immediately, by return email, the candidates whose work has been selected for moderation is sent back to the coordinator. Depending on the number of students in your IB cohort, you will be requested to send anything between 1 and 10 samples of students work.


Image kindly uploaded from the Wikpedia page: If there is a copyright issue with this photograph, please contact me and I will ensure that it is removed.

The work is sent off to the moderator who is tasked with supporting you, the teacher, in your marking and also to ensure that a global standard is reached. All moderators are experienced Chemistry teachers and are required to undergo training in order to moderate.

Once the moderator has gone through all of their samples of work, they too enter their marks into a database where they are then contacted by the IB and asked to send off a sample to their team leader.

Here, the process is repeated again. The moderator’s moderation is checked by the more senior moderator to ensure that the moderator is marking to the correct level. If not, the moderators can be moderated themselves!

Finally, the team leaders work is sent off to the principle moderator who repeats the process again and is responsible for ensuring that a consistent standard is reached.

So, sounds fine? Well, not quite. There are some flaws to this system as it is top heavy. For example, the work of your school is deemed to be fair by the moderator. The moderator sends a sample of work off to the senior moderator (the sample does not contain your schools work). The senior moderator feels that the moderator has been too lenient so reduces the moderators’ scores. This is universally applied so your school gets moderated down as well.

This top-heavy approach can be compounded even more if the principle moderator is downgrading the senior moderator!

So, what can you do?

Well firstly, IA is changing and I will dedicate some more blog entries to the new IA changes (as soon as the IB tells us what the changes are!)

Secondly, the time you spend preparing your sample and justifying your marks becomes really important. I don’t intend telling you what to do in this respect now as it will only be relevant in a few months time – but I will tell you more at the relevant time.

That said, I do hope your IA experiences were a positive one!