IA – The Moderation Process

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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SMATrinitasUlum.JPG. 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!

  • Dimitrina Trendafilova
    August 23, 2013

    I would like to stress out what David mentions at the end of his post. To reduce the chances to be downgraded, it is extremely important for the teacher to justify the mark awarded. Comments on the reports are helpful both for the students to improve in their future work and for the moderator to understand in a correct and informed way the decisions of the teachers.

  • David Allen
    September 1, 2013

    Hi Dima,

    Thanks for clarifying these points.

    Hope all is well with you.


  • Mark
    April 16, 2014

    Are the internal assessments that are sent in paper put through turnitin?

  • David Allen
    May 5, 2014

    Hi Mark,

    No, they won’t be, although your school should have a process set up to check for academic honesty.

  • Hector M
    March 22, 2015

    Are individual moderated grades sent back to the school or just the general overview of the sample?

    • triplea_da
      April 5, 2015

      Hi Hector,

      The whole set of IA grades – moderated or not (along with P1, P2, P3 grades) are sent to the school.

      Hope this helps,


  • Faith
    June 16, 2015

    Are the IAs finished being moderated, before the EE are taken?(I understand the scores are not release untily July) I grade EEs and just curious of the grading overlaps.

    • triplea_da
      July 15, 2015

      Hi juliejules134,

      Thanks for your question and sorry it has taken a while to reply. EE’s and IA’s are moderated at practically the same time. I hope this helps.

      All the best,


  • Faizal
    April 20, 2016

    Hi. May I know whether or not language subjects are submitted for turnitin? And when does usually the marking process take place?

    • triplea_da
      May 6, 2016

      Hi Faizal,

      Thanks for the question – I am afraid this is out of my sphere of knowledge. Why not post a question in one of the language blog posts?

      All the best,


  • Jill Sicona
    May 27, 2016

    A second request was made for my entire Econ HL class of samples to be sent. This is a new class for our school district. What should I read into this request?

    • triplea_da
      June 2, 2016

      Hi Jill,

      I am afraid I am only familiar with the Chemistry – maybe if you post a question in the Econ blog the author will be able to help.

      All the best,


  • Susan
    October 24, 2016

    Hello, I was wondering if you knew whether or not the IA’s before were sent on a hard or soft copy? do you know the regulations now?

    • triplea_da
      November 1, 2016

      Hi Susan,
      Now, from May 2016 the IA’s are sent to the IB as soft copies. Hope this clears things up.

  • Francesco
    April 22, 2017

    Will the IB Check for plagiarism on the Internal Assessment or is the school in charge of doing that?

    • triplea_da
      May 3, 2017

      Hi Francsesco,
      Thanks for your question. The IB tells us they will check for plagarism in a small number of samples but the responsibility for this does lie firmly at the feet of the school.

  • Danny
    April 30, 2018

    Hi! I was wondering about the actual submission of IAS from the school to the IB. In the policy booklet, it is stated that the submission of IA is the submission of the grades that the school has given to students. I am wondering if all of our IAs actually get sent to IB to be kept in their database, or as you said only small portion (for selection) is to be sent. And also, would IB somehow scan through the submitted IAs to see any further signs of plagiarisms?

    • David Allen
      May 1, 2018

      Hi Danny,
      The post you are referring to was written in 2013 – things have changed somewhat since this post was written. Now, all IA’s get scanned and sent to the IB. The IB then selects the work and sends it to the moderator. To the best of my knowledge, this is all done electronically. I believe the IB does check work for plagiarism but have not idea how they do this.
      Hope this helps,

  • Abigail
    February 20, 2019


    Can a student does the same or a very similar experiment for the IA to one that has already been done by a previous student? I understand they will not receive high marks for personal engagement etc but does this count as plagiarism?

  • Lynn
    July 12, 2019

    I am a parent with a question.
    My daughters entire class of 3 HL English Lit IOC/IOP were marked down by 6-7 points on moderation. Given its only 3 kids can they as a group request this to be re-moderated? The school is saying no.

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