Now that the long summer holidays are coming to an end, it is time to start thinking about school again.

If you are about to start your IB diploma, or have already been studying the diploma for a year, one thing you will have to do is ensure that your IA (internal assessment) lab reports are up to speed.

For those of you not familiar with the IA programme, you need to carry out 60 hours of lab work at HL and 40 hours at SL. Some (maybe all) of that work will be assessed formally (i.e. written by you and marked by your teacher) in three criteria – Design (D), Data Collection and Processing (DCP) and Conclusion and Evaluation (CE). There are two other non-assessed (i.e. not written) criteria; Personal Skills (PS) and Manipulative Skills (MS).

It is important to get your IA right as 24% of your final grade comes from it!

D, DCP and CE will be assessed a minimum of two times by your teacher. Each criteria is given a mark out of 6 so you will get a maximum mark of 12 for D, 12 for DCP and 12 for CE. If your teacher assesses these criteria more than twice (and I hope they do!) your two highest marks for each criteria will be put forward.


Image sourced from:

PS and MS are again, marked out of 6 each which gives your IA total mark out of 48 (and this fits in neatly with the fact that it is work 24% of your final grade – each mark at IA is work half of one percent (0.5%) of your final percentage mark.

For each lab (experiment) that you carry out, your teacher may decide to assess you on just one of the criteria D, DCP and CE, two of the criteria or all three of criteria.

I would recommend to your teacher that they assessed D as a stand-alone lab and then assessed DCP and CE together – but this is really up to your teacher and I have seen lots of good lab reports that have been assessed using other combinations of criteria (e.g. all three or D and DCP).

What it is worth doing from your point of view is making sure that you have a detailed copy of the IA criteria (I have only given a summary so far) and a list of the labs that your teacher intends using to assess you on. This is important, as it will allow you to plan ahead.

Good luck with it all. If you do have any IA specific question, please feel free to post them below.