Assessment and completion criteria

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the Diploma Programme (DP) courses.

DP 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, DP assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills, wherever appropriate.

Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student’s position in the overall rank order.

Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student’s position in the overall rank order.

The IB uses both external and internal assessment in the DP.

External assessment

Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability. External assessment is provided by trained professionals in their subjects across the world.

They include:

  • essays
  • structured problems
  • short-response questions
  • data-response questions
  • text-response questions
  • case-study questions
  • multiple-choice questions – though these are rarely used

Internal assessment

Teacher assessment is also used for most courses and is moderated by an external examiner to assure an unbiased assessment. The internal assessment includes:

  • essays
  • oral work in languages
  • fieldwork in geography
  • aboratory work in the sciences
  • investigations in mathematics
  • artistic performances

Completion criteria

  • Students must study six subjects plus complete the Theory of Knowledge requirements, submit a passing EE and fulfill the requirement of the CAS programme. They must accumulate no fewer than 24 points from assessment in these subjects in addition to grade stipulations
  • They must meet all of the additional requirements listed above
  • They must do so within a maximum of three examination sessions
  • Candidates who successfully meet these conditions will be awarded the diploma
  • Candidates who take the diploma in multiple languages may be eligible for a bilingual diploma

The additional requirements are the following.

  • CAS requirements have been met
  • There is no “N” awarded for TOK, the EE or for a contributing subject
  • There is no grade E awarded for TOK and/or the EE
  • There is no grade 1 awarded in a subject/level
  • There are no more than two grade 2s awarded (HL or SL)
  • There are no more than three grade 3s or below awarded (HL or SL)
  • The candidate has gained 12 points or more on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count)
  • The candidate has gained 9 points or more on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL)
  • The candidate has not received a penalty for academic misconduct from the Final Award Committee

(Handbook of procedures 2017, section A1.2 Award of the IB diploma, available at