IB Courses and Assessments
IB academic courses, taken in the junior and senior year of high school, are similar in content, pace, and expectation to university courses in the same subject. Success in IB courses requires strong academic drive and personal desire to achieve as well as strong organizational skills and study skills. Developing a strong work ethic is key.
As a result of the rigor and challenge inherent, IB courses receive weighted credit toward the student’s high school GPA. A student completing the full IB Diploma Program stands to earn at least 14 weighted credits.
Most IB courses at BPHS are 2-year courses, meaning that the student begins the course in 11th grade and takes the end-of-course exam in May of the 12th grade. A few of the IB elective courses are 1-year courses and may be taken in either 11th or 12th grade.
IB reviews and revises the curriculum for each academic course on a 5-year cycle in order to ensure that the curriculum reflects the most current knowledge and skills involved in the subject.
Class Grades & IB Scores
Students will receive a class grade (A-F) for each SCPS marking period. These grades will be reflected on interim reports and report cards. The class grade is a result of all graded assignments for the class. These grades are used to calculate the student’s Grade Point Average (see note about weighted grades, above) and class rank.
The class grade and IB score are related in that class assignments and teacher-created assessments prepare students for the required IB Assessments; however, a student’s class grade is not the same as his or her IB score. The IB score is completely separate from the class grade and is maintained by IBO in the student's IB transcript. Students earn a composite IB Score of 1-7 by completing all of various required IB Assessments (see below) for a given class. Generally speaking, a 4 is considered “passing” on the IB score scale.
Internal and External Assessments
Each IB course includes required Internal Assessments and External Assessments (see below). Some courses may have only one Internal Assessment along with the end-of-course exam as the External Assessment. Other courses may feature multiple Internal Assessments throughout the course as well as External Assessments in addition to the end-of-course exam.
The student’s IB score for a given course is the result of his or her performance on all Internal Assessments and External Assessments required of the course. (This is a marked difference between IB courses and Advanced Placement courses, in which the student earns an AP score based solely on the end-of-course exam.) IB course assessments may take a variety of forms, including oral presentations, essays, short responses, laboratory investigations, and written assignments; however, IB assessments are rarely multiple-choice in nature. Instead, IB emphasizes open-response assessments and frequently offers the student a range of assessment prompts to choose from rather than a single mandatory prompt.
IB course results are scored on a 1-7 scale, with a 4 representing “passing.”
Internal Assessments (“IAs”)
- scored by the IB-trained classroom teacher, using IB scoring criteria rubrics
- scores for IAs are submitted to IB electronically
- IB requests a sample set of IAs for moderation
- the sample set is sent to IB and an IB examiner may moderate the teacher’s scoring down or up
- sent to IB to be scored by trained IB examiners who use IB scoring criteria rubrics
- the IB examiner’s scoring is checked by a senior IB examiner
- the senior IB examiner’s scoring may be checked by a master IB examiner
External assessments are not scored by the classroom teacher. In the case of IB Exams in May, classroom teachers do not see the students’ examination papers at all. Exams are proctored by the IB Coordinator and other IB subject teachers, then they are sealed and sent to IB examiners immediately after the students complete the exam.
With the exception of ToK, Visual Art and Theatre, all IB courses offered at BPHS have at least one end-of-course exam paper. Most courses feature two papers; a few have three. These timed exam papers take place in May at the end of each course.