About assessment

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Three of the IB's programmes offer summative assessments: the Diploma Programme, the Career-related Programme and the Middle Years Programme.

Our assessments use a variety of tasks, including examination papers, written assignments like essays, oral interviews, scientific and mathematical investigations, fieldwork projects and artistic performances, which are completed by candidates at various times during their course.

Passing criteria

The four programmes each have their own passing criteria. Read more about how the IB assesses the programmes and what criteria candidates must meet to receive a certificate:

The PYP does not offer formal assessment. The prime objective of assessment in the PYP is to provide feedback on the learning process. Additionally, the PYP stresses the importance of both student and teacher self-assessment and reflection.

Principles of IB assessment

The below videos explain the principles that underpin assessment in the IB which ensure our assessments deliver valid, fair and reliable results for our students across the world.

How the IB tests students, and why we use a range of tasks in our assessments.


The difference between marks and grades: How we take into account the difficulty of an assessment, and not just how much a student got right.


Setting grade boundaries: Why grade boundaries can change, and what it means if they do.


Introducing: The examiners: Who are they and what do they do?


The two methods of marking: How marking is carried out by examiners and teachers.


Reliability: How we make sure marking is fair.


Challenging results: What you can do if you think your work hasn't been marked fairly.


The life cycle of an exam: The steps that we go through from an exam being created to grades being awarded.

Additional resources