This article is designed to outline the requirements for the Internal Assessment (IA) in the IB Psychology Course (for first examination in 2019).
The IA requirements are the same for HL and SL. They require students to,
- work in groups to design an experiment that investigates a psychological theory
- individually develop a research proposal
- work with their group to conduct the experiment
- individually apply descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse the data
- present the findings in a formal research report.
The group should comprise 2-4 members. SL and HL students may work together. Some students may be in a group with students from other Pamoja classes or even with students in other schools. Alternatively, students may work with another student who is not studying DP Psychology. This may be a student studying a Psychology course with another provider, or a student studying a related course such as an experimental science or social science course. Students may choose group members who share a common or they may join a group and then decide on an area for study within that group.
Students are introduced to the IA in the last week of Year 1 and are encouraged to form groups and select a background theory and related study to conduct. In the first week of Year 2, they are asked to commit to a group and to a suitable study. Course activities from Weeks 34 to 39 provide extensive guidance regarding the IA and Pamoja teachers conduct Online Lessons to offer further support.
The IB has provided strict guidance about the nature of the experiment students can undertake and the ethics involved in experimenting with human participants. Teachers will not grant students permission to carry out the experiment until their proposal meets these guidelines. Pamoja follows the IB recommendation to employ Turnitin.com to check the authenticity of the IA report.
The crucial milestones in the IA process are as follows:
- During Weeks 34-35 students form and work in groups of 2-4 members to investigate a psychological theory. They may work collaboratively to plan the study they will conduct based on the theory, design the essential materials and discuss the research design and sampling.
- In Week 35 students write and submit a research proposal individually. The proposal must be explicitly approved by the teacher of record to ensure that it meets IB requirements, before the student can proceed to the next step. Each member of the group must write their own proposal and get it approved by their teacher.
- In Weeks 36 and 37 students continue to work in their groups to plan and conduct the pilot study.
- During Week 36 each student submits templates of all the materials they will be using in their experiment. They are also to fill and submit a checklist that confirms the date of their final experiment and that they have understood all the research requirements.
- In Weeks 38 and 39 the group conducts their experiment and pools their data. Collaborative work stops at this stage. Students then work individually to analyse the data and write the report. The first draft is due in Week 40.
- From Weeks 40 to 47, teachers provide detailed, written feedback on the draft report and conduct one-on-one conference calls with every student. The final report is due in Week 47.
SBCs can support students in the following ways:
- Ask students about the study they plan to conduct.
- Ask them about their group members.
- Ask them if their proposal has been approved and if they are following the timeline set in the course.
- Provide logistical support to carry out the experiment (typically students use classmates as participants). This will include identifying dates for the pilot study and final countersigning the IA Checklist.
- Encourage students to attend IA-related Online Lessons.
- Reinforce the importance of academic integrity throughout the IA process.