IB Chemistry Web

Assessment in the Diploma Program (2016)


Assessment is by means of examination and practical for both higher and standard level chemistry courses.

  • Examination weighting - 80%
  • Internal assessment weighting - 20%

Examination (higher level)

There are three papers:

  • Paper 1 (multiple choice) - 20%
  • Paper 2 (structured questions) - 36%
  • Paper 3 (data and options) - 24%
  • Total - 80%

Paper 1 (AHL): 1 hour

40 multiple-choice questions on core and AHL, about 15 of which are common with SL.

The questions on paper 1 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.

The use of calculators is not permitted.

Students will be provided with a periodic table.

No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.

Weighting: 20%

(40 marks)


Paper 2 (AHL): 2 hours 15 minutes

Short-answer and extended-response questions on the core and AHL material.

Calculators are allowed and a data booklet is provided.

The questions on paper 2 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.

Weighting: 36%

(95 marks)


Paper 3 (AHL): 1 hour 15 minutes

Questions on core, AHL and option material.

Section A: one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work.

Section B: short-answer and extended-response questions from one option.

The questions on paper 3 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.

Calculators are allowed and data booklets are provided.

Weighting: 24%

(45 marks)

Exam timing


Examination (standard level)

There are three papers:

  • Paper 1 (multiple choice) - 20%
  • Paper 2 (structured questions) - 40%
  • Paper 3 (data and options) - 20%
  • Total - 80%

Paper 1 (SL): 45 minutes

30 multiple-choice questions on core, about 15 of which are common with HL.

The questions on paper 1 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.

The use of calculators is not permitted.

Students will be provided with a periodic table.

No marks are deducted for incorrect answers

Weighting: 20%

(40 marks)


Paper 2 (SL): 1 hours 15 minutes

Some structured questions and a choice of one from three longer answer questions.

Short-answer and extended-response questions on core material.

The questions on paper 2 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.

The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)

A chemistry data booklet is to be provided by the school.

Weighting: 40%

(50 marks)


Paper 3 (SL): 1 hour

This paper will have questions on core and SL option material.

Section A: one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work.

Section B: short-answer and extended-response questions from one option.

The questions on paper 3 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.

The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)

A chemistry data booklet is to be provided by the school.

Weighting: 20%

(35 marks)


Exam timing


Examination action verbs

As with all examinations, it is important to know what the examiners require. The IBO releases a list of key words and what they mean when referring to exam questions.

For example the word "Draw" is taken to mean "represent by a series of pencil lines and labels (unless specifically told not to do so)" This leaves the students clear as to the actual requirements of the questions. A full list of these so-called action verbs can be found here


Practical (Internal) Assessment 2016 exams

This is assessed by means of a single extended practical experiment, which the students carry out and write reports on. The new assessment model uses five criteria to assess the final report of the individual investigation with the following raw marks and weightings assigned:

The exam report is assessed according to the following criteria:

Levels of performance are described using multiple indicators per level. In many cases the indicators occur together in a specific level, but not always. Also, not all indicators are always present. This means that a candidate can demonstrate performances that fit into different levels. To accommodate this, the IB assessment models use markbands and advise examiners and teachers to use a best-fit approach in deciding the appropriate mark for a particular criterion.

Teachers should read the guidance on using markbands shown above in the section called "Using assessment criteria for internal assessment" before starting to mark. It is also essential to be fully acquainted with the marking of the exemplars in the teacher support material. The precise meaning of the command terms used in the criteria can be found in the glossary of the subject guides.

The criteria are mostly formative in that the students develop skills during the course of their studies and are given a final level for each criterion*. The assessment is carried out by the teacher(s) in charge and samples sent away for external moderation. Further details on the assessment criteria can be seen here.

*Note: A student is not expected to begin the course with highly developed skills in these areas and low levels are normal at first.

Practical (Internal) Assessment 2016 exams

Personal engagement

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student engages with the exploration and makes it their own.
Personal engagement may be recognized in different attributes and skills. These could include addressing personal interests or showing evidence of independent thinking, creativity or initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation.

Mark Descriptor
0 The student's report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1 The evidence of personal engagement with the exploration is limited with little independent thinking, initiative or creativity.
The justification given for choosing the research question and/or the topic under investigation does not demonstrate personal significance, interest or curiosity.
There is little evidence of personal input and initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation.
2 The evidence of personal engagement with the exploration is clear with significant independent thinking, initiative or creativity.
The justification given for choosing the research question and/or the topic under investigation demonstrates personal significance, interest or curiosity.
There is evidence of personal input and initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation.

Exploration

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student establishes the scientific context for the work, states a clear and focused research question and uses concepts and techniques appropriate to the Diploma Programme level. Where appropriate, this criterion also assesses awareness of safety, environmental, and ethical considerations.

Mark Descriptor
0 The student's report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1-2 The topic of the investigation is identified and a research question of some relevance is stated but it is not focused.
The background information provided for the investigation is superficial or of limited relevance and does not aid the understanding of the context of the investigation.
The methodology of the investigation is only appropriate to address the research question to a very limited extent since it takes into consideration few of the significant factors that may influence the relevance, reliability and sufficiency of the collected data.
The report shows evidence of limited awareness of the significant safety, ethical or environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation.
3-4 The topic of the investigation is identified and a relevant but not fully focused research question is described.
The background information provided for the investigation is mainly appropriate and relevant and aids the understanding of the context of the investigation.
The methodology of the investigation is mainly appropriate to address the research question but has limitations since it takes into consideration only some of the significant factors that may influence the relevance, reliability and sufficiency of the collected data.
The report shows evidence of some awareness of the significant safety, ethical or environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation.
5-6 The topic of the investigation is identified and a relevant and fully focused research question is clearly described.
The background information provided for the investigation is entirely appropriate and relevant and enhances the understanding of the context of the investigation.
The methodology of the investigation is highly appropriate to address the research question because it takes into consideration all, or nearly all, of the significant factors that may influence the relevance, reliability and sufficiency of the collected data.
The report shows evidence of full awareness of the significant safety, ethical or environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation.
* This indicator should only be applied when appropriate to the investigation.

Analysis

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student's report provides evidence that the student has selected, recorded, processed and interpreted the data in ways that are relevant to the research question and can support a conclusion.

Mark Descriptor
0 The student's report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1-2 The report includes insufficient relevant raw data to support a valid conclusion to the research question.
Some basic data processing is carried out but is either too inaccurate or too insufficient to lead to a valid conclusion.
The report shows evidence of little consideration of the impact of measurement uncertainty on the analysis.
The processed data is incorrectly or insufficiently interpreted so that the conclusion is invalid or very incomplete.
3-4 The report includes relevant but incomplete quantitative and qualitative raw data that could support a simple or partially valid conclusion to the research question.
Appropriate and sufficient data processing is carried out that could lead to a broadly valid conclusion but there are significant inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the processing.
The report shows evidence of some consideration of the impact of measurement uncertainty on the analysis.
The processed data is interpreted so that a broadly valid but incomplete or limited conclusion to the research question can be deduced.
5-6 The report includes sufficient relevant quantitative and qualitative raw data that could support a detailed and valid conclusion to the research question.
Appropriate and sufficient data processing is carried out with the accuracy required to enable a conclusion to the research question to be drawn that is fully consistent with the experimental data.
The report shows evidence of full and appropriate consideration of the impact of measurement uncertainty on the analysis.
The processed data is correctly interpreted so that a completely valid and detailed conclusion to the research question can be deduced.

Evaluation

This criterion assesses the extent to which the student's report provides evidence of evaluation of the investigation and the results with regard to the research question and the accepted scientific context.

Mark Descriptor
0 The student's report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1-2 A conclusion is outlined which is not relevant to the research question or is not supported by the data presented.
The conclusion makes superficial comparison to the accepted scientific context.
Strengths and weaknesses of the investigation, such as limitations of the data and sources of error, are outlined but are restricted to an account of the practical or procedural issues faced.
The student has outlined very few realistic and relevant suggestions for the improvement and extension of the investigation.
3-4 A conclusion is described which is relevant to the research question and supported by the data presented.
A conclusion is described which makes some relevant comparison to the accepted scientific context.
Strengths and weaknesses of the investigation, such as limitations of the data and sources of error, are described and provide evidence of some awareness of the methodological issues involved in establishing the conclusion.
The student has described some realistic and relevant suggestions for the improvement and extension of the investigation.
5-6 A detailed conclusion is described and justified which is entirely relevant to the research question and fully supported by the data presented.
A conclusion is correctly described and justified through relevant comparison to the accepted scientific context.
Strengths and weaknesses of the investigation, such as limitations of the data and sources of error, are discussed and provide evidence of a clear understanding of the methodological issues involved in establishing the conclusion.
The student has discussed realistic and relevant suggestions for the improvement and extension of the investigation.

Communication

This criterion assesses whether the investigation is presented and reported in a way that supports effective
communication of the focus, process and outcomes.

Mark Descriptor
0 The student's report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1-2 The presentation of the investigation is unclear, making it difficult to understand the focus, process and outcomes.
The report is not well structured and is unclear: the necessary information on focus, process and outcomes is missing or is presented in an incoherent or disorganized way.
The understanding of the focus, process and outcomes of the investigation is obscured by the presence of inappropriate or irrelevant information.
There are many errors in the use of subject specific terminology and conventions.
3-4 The presentation of the investigation is clear. Any errors do not hamper understanding of the focus, process and outcomes.
The report is well structured and clear: the necessary information on focus, process and outcomes is present and presented in a coherent way.
The report is relevant and concise thereby facilitating a ready understanding of the focus, process and outcomes of the investigation.
The use of subject specific terminology and conventions is appropriate and correct. Any errors do not hamper understanding.
*For example, incorrect/missing labelling of graphs, tables, images; use of units, decimal places. For issues of referencing and citations refer to the "Academic honesty" section.

Criterion

marks available

marks

Personal Engagement

maximum 2

2 marks

Exploration

maximum 6

6 marks

Analysis

maximum 6

6 marks

Evaluation

maximum 6

6 marks

Communication

maximum 4

4 marks

 

Total =

24 marks


Final grades

The final grade awarded for an IB subject is from 1-7.

The schools receive a breakdown of the grade achieved in each part of the exam.

The requirements to achieve the IB diploma are fairly complex and may be found here: IB diploma award requirements

Note: past papers - disclaimer