Assessment for IB Computer Science HL

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Grading, assessment, and knowing[1]


The assessment component is broken into two parts: external and internal assessment. The external assessment is 80% of your grade, and the Internal assessment is 20% of your grade. The total time for external assessment is 2 hours and 30 minutes. The total time for internal assessment is 40 hours. The material on this page is used and largely quoted from the IB Computer Science Subject Guide[2]. The use of calculators is not permitted in any computer science examination.

This page only details assessment mandated by the IB. You will have much more assessment in this class (both formative and summative).

External assessment (2 hours 10 minutes)[edit]

Paper 1[edit]

2 hour 10 minutes is allocated for an examination paper consisting of two compulsory sections:

  • Section A (30 minutes approximately) consists of several compulsory short answer questions. The maximum mark for this section is 25.
  • Section B (100 minutes approximately) consists of three compulsory structured questions. The maximum mark for this section is 75.

You can earn a maximum of 100 marks for paper 1. It is weighted for 40% of your final grade.

Paper 2[edit]

1 hour 20 minutes is allocated for paper 2 which is an examination paper linked to the option studied (which is web science).

  • The paper consists of between three and seven compulsory questions.
  • The SL/HL core questions are common and worth 45 marks. The HL extension is worth 20 marks.

You can earn a maximum of 65 marks for paper 2. It is weighted for 20% of your final grade.

Paper 3[edit]

Paper 3 is an examination paper of 1 hour consisting of four compulsory questions based on a pre-seen case study.

You can earn a maximum of 30 marks for paper 3. It is weighted for 20% of your grade.

Internal assessment (40 hours)[edit]

This component is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course.


The requirement of the internal assessment is to develop a solution for a specified client to a specified problem or an unanswered question.

The solution is assessed using five criteria:

  1. Planning
  2. Solution overview
  3. Development
  4. Functionality and extensibility of product
  5. Evaluation

Key terms:

  • The term “solution” refers to all the work submitted by the student for the internal assessment; the term “product” refers to the completed software only. The product is a subset of the solution.
  • The terms “developer” and “student” are synonymous.
  • The term “client” refers to the person for whom the product is being developed. The student may also be the client.
  • The term “adviser” refers to a third party the student must identify to assist him or her in the development of the product.

There are three scenarios for the development of the product:

  1. The student is developing the product for a third party who is the client and also acts as the adviser.
  2. The student is developing the product for a third party who is the client. Another person acts as the adviser.
  3. The student is the client (developing the product for himself or herself). An appropriate adult must act as the adviser.

The development of a computational solution. Students must produce:

  • a cover page that follows the prescribed format
  • a product
  • supporting documentation (word limit 2,000 words).

You can earn a maximum of 34 marks for your solution. 30 hours are allocated for the solution.

Group 4 Project[edit]

Personal skills rubric

The group 4 project is a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects work together on a scientific or technological topic, allowing for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to be shared. This is to encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method. The project can be practically or theoretically based. Collaboration between schools in different regions is encouraged.

The group 4 project allows students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science and technology. It may also allow them to understand the limitations of scientific study, for example, the shortage of appropriate data and/or the lack of resources. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary cooperation and the processes involved in scientific investigation, rather than the products of such investigation. 10 hours are allocated for group 4 project.

To be assessed using the criterion personal skills, which can be seen by clicking the image. You can earn a total of 6 marks. There are 10 hours dedicated to this project.


  2. IB Diploma Programme Computer science guide (first examinations 2014). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization. January 2012.