10. Internal assessment

The Internal Assessment asks you to apply your understanding of experimental methods by replicating a published study to see if your results confirm those of the original study.

For SL candidates, this is 25% of your final IB Psychology grade.  For HL candidates, this is 20% of your final IB Psychology grade. You are allowed to submit one draft to your teacher for feedback. The final copy is submitted to the IB.

The following chapter gives you an in-depth explanation of how to carry out and write your internal assessment.

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Getting started

The basic requirements for choosing a study for replication. A review of ethical standards for experimentation.

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Writing the introduction

How to write the beginning of your report.  This includes an explanation of both the theory and the study on which your report is based.  This is also where you justify your research and state your aim and hypotheses.

Writing the exploration

The exploration explains the methodology that you used: the design, sample and procedure. It also explains how you designed the materials for your experiment. This is where you justify any changes you made to the original study that you are replicating.

Writing the analysis

The analysis is written after you have gathered all of your data.  It is here that you describe the data that you obtained and test it for significance.  It is also where you graphical represent your data for the reader.

Writing the evaluation

This is the most important part of your entire report.  This is where you evaluate your own work by outlining the strengths and limitations of your own study.  This is also where you discuss why your results may be the same or different from those in the original study.  Finally, this is also the part of the report where you discuss what you would do differently if you were to carry out more research on the theory that you investigated.

Overview of the report

This final part of the chapter is a review of the requirements for the internal assessment.  It is a good idea to go over this list of requirements carefully before submitting your final draft to your teacher for assessment.

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Comments 15

Karen Hinnen 5 April 2018 - 15:56

I have a student group who wants to conduct an experiment on the Stroop Effect. Do you think this study is too old?

John Crane 7 April 2018 - 17:10

Dear Karen

Personally, not a fan of Stroop for the IA. And there are so many copies of that IA online. However, it is not too old to replicate and is totally fine.

Doug Altizer 15 May 2018 - 16:21

Can students use a reading comprehension excerpt that they took from an online source for the IA. Replicating Anderson and Fuller.

John Crane 16 May 2018 - 04:58

Dear Doug

Students are not required to access the original study. As long as there is enough detail about the study, they are fine. As always, they need to cite the document that they used.

Doug Altizer 16 May 2018 - 16:13

Do we have any idea what the cut scores will look like for the new IA. We will be scoring for school based grades this year and the first set for submission will not be until May 2019. We try to maintain our consistency, but without prior year feedback it is hard to know.
Thank you!

John Crane 17 May 2018 - 05:10

Dear Doug,

There will be no markbands until after the first set of exams. So, I am only using scaled scores, assuming that the results will be very similar. You can find the scaled markbands here: thinkib.net

Joshua Viau 23 July 2018 - 19:27

Hi. I'll be teaching this course (the SL version) for the first time starting in August. In looking over the new guide (June 2018), I see that both SL and HL now require an IA summarizing an experiment that students have actually carried out. I believe in the past that SL students simply summarized an existing study. Am I right about the change I described? Thanks much for any clarification!

John Crane 24 July 2018 - 14:37

Dear Joshua,

The new IA is something of a hybrid between the old SL and HL IA's. The SL always had to explain the study to be replicated and the theory on which it is based. Now the HL will have this same requirement, rather than a mini literature review. The SL used to only have to do descriptive statistics; now they have to carry out hypothesis testing and apply inferential statistics, just like the HL students did in the past. For more information on the changes, click on "updates" above and on "IA Changes."

Chandana Bhandari 27 July 2018 - 07:28

Dear John,
Will appreciate if you could let me know if one of my groups could go ahead with this Ia keeping in mind the new syllabus Name of the experiment: KRISTIN L. MILLS, HEATHER K. MCMULLAN
Name of the author: Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
Hypothesis: the mean recall of Pictures and words together will be better remembered than mean recall of words or pictures alone.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to learn if people would be better able to have short-term recall for pictures, words, or pictures and words presented together.
IV: The list of words and pictures given to the participants: (Number of words and pictures will be decreased).
DV: Number of items on the list that are remembered.

Chandana Bhandari 27 July 2018 - 07:31

Dear John,
Will appreciate if you could let me know if one of my groups could go ahead with this Ia keeping in mind the new syllabus
Name: Availability: A Heuristic for Judging Frequency and Probability
Name of the author: Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman

Aim: The experiment I have chosen is the first in a series of ten that have been divided into 4 broad sections. My study falls under the first, that broadly aims to demonstrate that people can assess availability with reasonable speed and accuracy. In this particular study the speed and accuracy with which individuals can assess availability is through word construction problems.

Hypothesis: People can assess availability with reasonable speed and accuracy.

IV: The combination of letters in the 3X3 matrix
DV: The amount of words participants can form and estimate
Change in IV: The combination of words presented to the participants. As opposed to a random arrangement of consonants and vowels that they have to form words from, they will be shown existing words out of which they have to form anagrams.

John Crane 27 July 2018 - 12:13

Dear Chandana

Yes, both of those experiments are appropriate as are the changes proposed.

Chandana Bhandari 28 July 2018 - 05:13

Thanks so much John

Svetlana Gluvacevic 9 September 2018 - 15:53

Dear John,

one of the groups in my class wants to replicate Loftus and Palmer. As I understand, the students´s IA should have only two groups, so they would not be allowed, according to IA requirements, to use all five variations of verbs, but to choose only two.
That was the case in the old curriculum; could you please confirm if it is still the case.

Thank you,
best regards,

John Crane 10 September 2018 - 05:22

Dear Svetlana

They could have five groups, but this would require a much larger sample (a min of 10 per group to be able to carry out stats). And then they would have to use more advanced statistics. If you have not taught the ANOVA, then I would not advise them to do it. (Remember, it is an assessment, not a teaching tool.) If all those conditions are met, then they are welcome to do it.

Svetlana Gluvacevic 10 September 2018 - 09:10

Thank you, we´ll keep it on two groups.

best regards,