MUST READ: IB Psych IAs are now marked differently

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB) 9 Comments

Read about a major change in the marking of IB Psych IAs.

The first rule of IB examining is don’t talk about IB examining. I have broken this rule before by sharing valuable information with everyone (on the IB platform) and was kicked off marking. Watch video.

I’ve waited patiently to see if the shocking change in the IB’s marking of IAs was reported in this year’s subject reports. It was so let me share it here.

In the last two years, students have been able to use an “effect” as their background theory or model in the IA. This year in May 2021, however, effects were not considered background theories or models. This includes things like the Stroop effect, misinformation effect, anchoring effect, etc. Also not accepted are biases, such as confirmation bias.

A friendly request to the IB assessment team: Can you please announce these changes before they take effect? It is unfair to penalise students for following advice that was previously valid. If you are going to make these drastic changes to the way assessments are marked, simply announce it 12 months earlier. Thanks.

I have always encouraged students to use theories or models to explain effects and biases as it makes for better explanations, anyway. This just solidifies the need for specific models and theories to be used in the IA.

From the May 2021 subject report, available for teachers on MyIB (and for students probably on some subreddit or tiktok stream somewhere).

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Comments 9

  1. Hi Travis, I’m brand new to IB and my students are in the middle of doing their IAs. I have one group replicating a study that uses the Irrelevant Sound Effect. Could you point me in the right direction for the model or theory that underpins this? I’m thinking it might be the Working Memory Model, but am feeling a little out of my depth here.

    1. Also, I should have said ‘THANK YOU’ for highlighting this information. There is just so much to read about the IB course. There’s every chance I would have missed that. You are a lifesaver. 🙂

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      1. Thank you! I’m aware they need to be doing this work for themselves, but I just feel more comfortable if I have a good understanding of it myself first.

  2. How hard would it really be for the IBO to announce a curriculum revision just once every 5-7 years and then stick with it? Extra guidance & additional topics were added after the 1st year, & significant changes in grading are now being added each additional year. That is crazy-making! Kudos to you for pointing out the latest changes & calling on IBO to give better advance notice in the future.

  3. Hi Travis,
    Would it be ok, therefore, within the parameters of the above statement from the examiners’ report, to have students conduct their IA on an effect, such as “Anchoring effect” if it is firmly established within the Dual Process Theory in the student’s introduction?

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  4. Hi Travis,
    I have 2 questions about this year’s cohort planning their IA.
    One group want to do the link between time spent on social media and working memory capacity using digit span tests – but it would be correlational – think it would be great but I imagine it’s a no no.
    The other group would like to do stereotyping and using a replication of Cohen’s waitress/ librarian study – I’m worried that this won’t give them results that they can use stats – unless it could be chi squared.
    Would really welcome your thoughts.
    many thanks

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      No to correlational you’re right. Second one could be done just get them to count how many correct details they remembered. Sorry for delayed response

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