Investigating challenges in international assessment


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Louise Badham, Manager for Assessment Research at the IB, in an article with International School Magazine, shares how the IB assessment research team is investigating complex questions to offer the fairest and most valid assessments to our linguistically and culturally diverse IB community.


Article originally published in International School Magazine – Spring 2023: International School Magazine - Spring 2023 | School Management Plus: School & education news worldwide.

The rich diversity of the schools and students experiencing an IB education is one of the greatest strengths of the organization and evidences the IB’s mission of international-mindedness. Yet, when it comes to offering formal assessments, this wonderful diversity also presents the organization with unique challenges.

These questions centred around fair assessment include: 

  • How do we ensure that students taking exams in different languages face the same level of challenge?
  • How do we write exam questions that are culturally representative and inclusive for students all around the world?
  • How do we translate mark schemes consistently if key terms like ‘adequate’ and ‘good’ mean different things in different languages?
  • How do we guarantee that final grades reflect equivalent levels of attainment—regardless of the language in which the exams were taken?