Internal Assessment

The internal assessment exercise is worth 30 marks.

Introduction

Internal assessment is an integral part of the philosophy course at both HL and SL. The activity of writing a philosophical analysis of non-philosophical material has been chosen to reflect common activities used in teaching and doing philosophy. It allows students to explore what doing philosophy means. Through this activity, students will demonstrate their ability to apply their philosophical knowledge and understanding to real-life examples or situations, and how non-philosophical material can be treated in a philosophical way and challenge their philosophical reflection.

Nature of the internal assessment

Students at both HL and SL must produce a philosophical analysis of 1,600–2,000 words. This word limit does not include the bibliography or references. It also does not include the 200-word description that is necessary for lengthier non-philosophical material (for example, texts containing over 200 words, play/film/movie scenes, television scenes, radio shows, lengthier extracts from novels).

Students should identify an issue raised by the non-philosophical material and analyse it in a philosophical way. This analysis must relate to a philosophical issue or argument raised by the study of the course.

Suitable material for analysis includes:

  • novels, plays, poetry, song lyrics

  • films/movies, television and radio shows

  • cartoons, paintings, photographs or other visual images

  • newspaper articles/letters

  • Internet sites

  • advertisements

  • pamphlets

  • propaganda.

Students should select a short piece of non-philosophical material to analyse. A newspaper article can stand alone but where novels or plays are used, no more than two pages should be selected for analysis, and in the case of a television or radio show, film/movie or play, no more than two scenes should be used. The emphasis should be on the depth and quality of the philosophical analysis, and not on the length or the intellectual level of the source material used.

When the source material contains 200 words or fewer students must include a copy of this material. When the source material contains more than 200 words students must include a description of this material. Sources of 200 words or fewer may take the form of poems, pamphlets, song lyrics and newspaper articles/letters. Sources of over 200 words (poems, novels, newspaper articles) and film/movie scenes or television/radio shows (not the whole movie or show) must be described in no more than 200 words. All stimulus material must be accurately referenced.

Management of internal assessment

Integration into classroom activities

The philosophical analysis should be completed during the course. Work for the exercise should be incorporated into normal classroom activities and be related to one of the themes or a text being studied as part of the philosophy syllabus.

Time allocation

It is recommended that 20 hours of class time at both HL and SL should be allocated to this assessment component. During the suggested 20 hours, students may be able to complete more than one philosophical analysis. These students can then select their best piece to be submitted for final assessment.

Formal requirements

Students must adhere to the word limit and must provide the following information.

  • Title.

  • Part of the syllabus to which the exercise relates.

  • Number of words.

  • Bibliography and references.

  • A copy or description of the source material used for their philosophical analysis. Texts of over 200 words (poems, novels, newspaper articles) and film/movie scenes or television scenes/radio shows (not the whole movie or show) must be described in no more than 200 words.

Guidance and authenticity

The teacher plays an important role in advising students on the philosophical analysis. In particular, it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that students are familiar with:

  • the formal requirements for the internal assessment exercise

  • the assessment criteria that are used to assess their work

  • the amount of guidance students are allowed to receive from their teacher regarding the development and presentation of the exercise.

Teachers must discuss the activity with their students before they start work on the philosophical analysis. Students should also be encouraged to initiate discussions with the teacher to obtain advice and information. However, if a student could not have completed the work without substantial support from the teacher, this should be recorded on the appropriate form from the Vade Mecum.

As part of the learning process, teachers can give advice to students on a first draft of the philosophical analysis. Advice on improving the work can be given, but this first draft must not be heavily annotated or edited by the teacher. Constant drafting and redrafting is not allowed, and the next version handed to the teacher after the first draft must be the final one.

Teachers must explain clearly to students that the internally assessed work must be entirely their own. When authenticity is in doubt, the teacher should first discuss this with the student. In addition, one or more of the following actions may be helpful.

  • Compare the style of writing in the philosophical analysis with work known to be that of the student.

  • Check the references cited by the student and the original sources for the philosophical analysis.

  • Interview the student in the presence of a third party.

  • Use one of the many websites set up to detect plagiarism.

Teachers are required to sign the IA coversheet in the Vade Mecum to confirm that the work of each student is his or her own unaided work.

Submission of internal assessment

Teachers must assess the work students submit using the internal assessment criteria. The mark for each criterion for the exercise should be written on the appropriate form from theVade Mecum.


Linked below are sample student work and accompanying moderator comments from the IB OCC.  These are examples of three different approaches to writing  the Philosophy IA which is to craft a philosophical treatment of a non-philosophical work.

Citations: MLA formatting at Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
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Will Daniel,
Jan 15, 2014, 6:57 AM
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Will Daniel,
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Will Daniel,
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Will Daniel,
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Will Daniel,
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Will Daniel,
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Will Daniel,
Jan 12, 2014, 8:03 PM
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Will Daniel,
Jan 12, 2014, 8:04 PM
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Will Daniel,
Jan 12, 2014, 8:04 PM
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