IB Internal Assessment Rubric and Grading Criteria

Throughout my years involved with the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, both as a student once and now a seasoned IB writer, I’ve gathered insights and strategies that have proven invaluable. Today, I’m eager to share this goldmine of knowledge with you, focusing on the cornerstone of your IB success: understanding and mastering the IB Internal Assessment Rubric and its grading criteria.

Breaking Down the IB Internal Assessment Rubric

Each IA rubric component, whether your research question, methodology, analysis, or conclusion, is crucial in your overall score. For instance, a well-defined research question sets the stage for a focused and coherent investigation. Similarly, a robust methodology underpins the credibility of your findings. Hence, understanding these components is crucial. Furthermore, integrating examples that align with each criterion can significantly bolster your IA.

The IA rubric varies by subject, but it generally assesses students on criteria such as research question formulation, investigation methodology, analysis and evaluation of results, and the overall presentation and structure of the work. Here’s an overview of the general criteria that can be applied across various subjects.

1. Criterion A. Focus and Method

Criterion A emphasizes the clarity, focus, and feasibility of the research question and the coherence and appropriateness of the methodology chosen to address it. This lays the foundation for a focused investigation.

2. Criterion B. Knowledge and Understanding

Criterion B assesses how well students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topic relevant to the research question. It also evaluates the application of theoretical concepts and the analytical depth they bring to their research topic.

3. Criterion C. Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking, covered in Criterion C, assesses the student’s ability to analyze and evaluate sources, data, or information critically. It examines how well students can synthesize information to construct logical arguments or conclusions.

4. Criterion D. Presentation

The presentation, detailed in Criterion D, concerns how the research is organized and presented. It requires students to adhere to academic conventions, including proper citation and referencing techniques, ensuring the work is coherent and scholarly.

5. Criterion E. Engagement

Finally, Criterion E reflects on the student’s reflection on their research process, the challenges they faced, the skills they developed, and their engagement with the topic, indicating their motivation and interest.

Who Will Grade the IA in the IB?

In the IB Diploma Programme, the Internal Assessment is primarily marked by the student’s teacher within the school. This approach allows for a detailed and personal assessment of the student’s work, drawing on the teacher’s understanding of both the subject criteria and the student’s skills and efforts throughout the research process.

After the teacher assigns a grade to the IA, a sample of IAs from the school is sent to external IB examiners for moderation. This process ensures consistency and fairness in grading standards across schools and countries. Moderation may result in the teacher’s marks being adjusted upwards or downwards to align with the global standard set by the IB for that subject.

The dual grading system, which includes internal and external assessments, is designed to maintain the integrity and international standardization of the IB Diploma Programme. It ensures that students around the world are assessed against the same criteria. It supports a comprehensive assessment of students’ skills and knowledge, considering both their teachers’ detailed insights and the objective standards of the IB.

Grading Criteria for All Types of IB Internal Assessments

As someone deeply immersed in the International Baccalaureate for many years, I’ve had the opportunity to guide countless students through the rigorous path of completing their Internal Assessments. Drawing from my extensive experience, I’d like to share some insights into the grading criteria for all IAs across the IB curriculum. These reflections are grounded in the general IB criteria and my observed nuances.

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Economics Internal Assessment Rubric

Drawing from my experience and insights into the Economics IA rubric, it’s crucial to consider the guidelines for a chance to excel. Here’s an overview tailored to guide you through this critical process:

  • Diagrams (up to 3 points). Achieve the highest marks by incorporating well-labeled diagrams, improving your analysis’s clarity and depth.
  • Terminology (up to 2 points). Use precise economic terminology to articulate your arguments clearly and effectively. It demonstrates your understanding of the subject matter.
  • Application (up to 2 points). Score top marks by accurately applying relevant economic concepts and theories to the article, showcasing your ability to connect theoretical knowledge with real-world scenarios.
  • Analysis (up to 3 points). Conduct a detailed economic analysis of your chosen article. High scores are awarded for insightful, comprehensive research of the economic implications.
  • Evaluation (up to 4 points). The pinnacle of your IA evaluation requires you to present well-reasoned judgments backed by balanced arguments.

To excel in the Economics IA, focus on integrating comprehensive diagrams, using precise terminology, and accurately applying economic theories.

Math Internal Assessment Rubric

Here’s a focused guide on the Math IA rubric, tailored to help you achieve success:

  • Communication (up to 4 points). For the highest score, present your research coherently, organizing and condensing your explanations effectively.
  • Mathematical Presentation (up to 3 points). Secure a top mark by maintaining appropriate presentation standards throughout your work.
  • Personal Engagement (up to 4 points). Demonstrate deep personal involvement in your research to achieve the maximum score.
  • Reflection (up to 3 points). Critically evaluate your mathematical process and findings for the highest reflection score.
  • Use of Mathematics (up to 6 points). Research and apply mathematical concepts accurately across all discussed topics for the top mark.

Integrating these components with a clear understanding and presentation of your chosen mathematical concepts is crucial to excel in your Math IA. Demonstrating comprehensive knowledge and a personal connection to your work will satisfy the rubric’s requirements and showcase your mathematical prowess.

Physics Internal Assessment Rubric

Excellence in the Physics IA requires understanding and meticulous attention to the criteria in the rubric:

  • Exploration (6 points). This criterion evaluates the formulation of a focused research question and the context of the investigation.
  • Analysis (6 points). Scoring well in analysis requires precise and appropriate data collection methods and thorough and accurate data processing. 
  • Evaluation (6 points). It assesses the discussion of uncertainties, the quality of the conclusion (which must be supported by the data), and suggestions for improving the investigation.
  • Personal Engagement (2 points). This criterion looks for evidence of personal interest, initiative, and creativity.
  • Communication (4 points). A well-structured, coherent, concise report effectively communicates the investigation process and findings.

Data collection and analysis should be methodical and accurately processed to support your conclusions. Critically evaluate your work, acknowledging any limitations and suggesting realistic improvements.

Chemistry Internal Assessment Rubric

Excelling in the Chemistry IA requires a deep understanding of the assessment criteria outlined in the rubric. Here’s a brief overview to guide you through these criteria and set you on the path to success:

  • Personal Engagement (2 points). This criterion rewards students for choosing topics with personal significance showing initiative, creativity, and passion.
  • Exploration (6 points). High marks are awarded for formulating a focused research question, choosing relevant variables, and methodical approach to the investigation.
  • Analysis (6 points). Effective data processing and presentation are critical. Applying appropriate mathematical and chemical theories, you must accurately and systematically analyze your results.
  • Evaluation (6 points). This criterion assesses your ability to critically evaluate your investigation, including the methods and results.
  • Communication (4 points). Your report should be well-structured, clear, and concise, allowing easy understanding of your research process and findings.

Be bold in discussing what went wrong or could have been improved. This reflection demonstrates maturity and a deep understanding of the scientific process.

Biology Internal Assessment Rubric

In the Biology Internal Assessment, students are assessed across five critical domains:

  • Personal Engagement (up to 2 points). Demonstrate your deep interest and involvement in the chosen topic.
  • Exploration (up to 5-6 points). Detail the investigation’s background, clearly define your research question, and describe your methodology.
  • Analysis (up to 5-6 points). Present a detailed analysis that leads to valuable conclusions.
  • Evaluation (up to 5-6 points). Critically assess your study, providing a reasoned justification of your topic and methodology.
  • Communication (up to 3-4 points). Your report should be crystal clear, so minimize errors and use specific scientific terminology accurately.

Focusing on these criteria will guide your writing of a Biology IA that demonstrates your scientific understanding and reflects your dedication and engagement with the subject matter.

Psychology Internal Assessment Rubric

In the Psychology IA, precision and clarity are your allies. Drawing from my experience through the IB Psychology course, I’ve come to appreciate the nuanced demands of this assessment:

  • Introduction (up to 4-5 points). In this segment, your task is to lay the groundwork for your investigation. You must briefly introduce the basis of your study, ensuring you weave in the relevant theories.
  • Method (up to 2 points). Detailing your method involves a delicate balance. As I know, you need to provide enough detail to allow for study replication without cluttering your report with redundant information.
  • Participants (up to 2 points). Here, clarity is paramount. Describe who your participants are, how they were selected, and any relevant demographics.
  • Procedure (up to 2 points). The procedure should be described with meticulous attention to detail. This will help the examiner fully grasp how you conducted your study.
  • Results (up to 2 points). When presenting your results, simplicity and accuracy are key. Charts and graphs can be effective here but must be relevant and clearly interpreted. 
  • Discussion (up to 2 points). Tie everything together. Discuss your findings in the context of the theories introduced in your opening. 

From my experience, success in the Psychology IA comes from a blend of thorough research, clear presentation, and deep reflection.

History Internal Assessment Rubric

Here’s a concise guide based on the rubric, combined with my experience and understanding of general IB criteria:

  • Identification and Evaluation of Sources (up to 6 points). This section examines your ability to select and evaluate two key sources relevant to your investigation.
  • Investigation (up to 6 points). This criterion, the core of your IA, assesses the depth and breadth of your research.
  • Reflection (up to 4 points). Here, you’re expected to reflect on the methods used by historians and how these influence the interpretation of historical events.
  • Structure (up to 3 points). A coherent structure that logically progresses from introduction to conclusion is key.
  • Critical Thinking (up to 9 points). This is where you analyze the significance and impact of the historical event or development you are investigating.

Tackling the History IA with a strategic approach to each rubric section and a genuine passion for your chosen topic leads to a high-scoring final product.


In conclusion, mastering the IB Internal Assessment Rubric and grading criteria is within your reach. Adopting a strategic approach, staying informed, and using available resources set the stage for success. Remember, this path is as much about personal growth as academic achievement. In addition, our IB experts are always available to help you write your Internal Assessment.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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