Students take written examinations at the end of the program, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners.
The marks awarded for each course range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on theory of knowledge and the extended essay. The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole program and to satisfactory participation in the creativity, action, service requirement. The highest total that a Diploma Program student can be awarded is 45 points.
Assessment is criterion-related, which means student performance is measured against pre-specified assessment criteria based on the aims and objectives of each subject curriculum, rather than the performance of other students taking the same examinations. The range of scores that students have attained remains statistically stable, and universities value the rigour and consistency of Diploma Program assessment practice.
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the Diploma Program courses.
The Diploma Program goals provide students with:
- a broad and balanced, yet academically demanding, program of study
- the development of critical-thinking and reflective skills
- the development of research skills
- the development of independent learning skills
- the development of intercultural understanding
- a globally recognized university entrance qualification.
Diploma Program assessment procedures measure the extent to which students have mastered advanced academic skills in fulfilling these goals, for example:
- analysing and presenting information
- evaluating and constructing arguments
- solving problems creatively.
Basic skills are also assessed, including:
- retaining knowledge
- understanding key concepts
- applying standard methods.
In addition to academic skills, Diploma Program assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills where appropriate.
Assessment tasks are designed to support and encourage good classroom teaching and learning.
Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student's position in the overall rank order.