IBDP History: Internal Assessment

The following information applies to the new Internal Assessment which will be submitted for the first time by students taking examinations in May 2017.

The Internal Assessment is an individual project of 2,200 words maximum.

It is a chance to study a topic that interests you which is not covered by the syllabus.
It can cover any historical topic of your choice.
The mark awarded for the study accounts for 20% of the final grade for Higher Level students, and 25% for Standard Level students.
It is marked by the history teacher within the school but is subject to moderation by the IB board.

Click on the following headings to get guidance in choosing a question and writing your study.
There are also exemplar studies for download from students at the International School of Toulouse and elsewhere which were graded in the top level.

I have also produced useful video: "Google Books for Student Research: 3 minute guide"

The first draft of the study is submitted in the first week of September and is used (along with Summer Examination results and prior classwork and homework) to help the teacher to decide upon a predicted grade for students' university applications. In the case of "borderline" students only, the teacher may agree to increase the predicted grade by one point if the candidate's final draft, submitted at the end of September, reaches a sufficiently high mark.
You should download and read this Timetable and Procedures for the History Internal Assessment.

You will have to complete this Initial Proposal Sheet and hand it to your teacher.

Start by considering if there is a period / place / person / issue in history that would like to investigate further. Maybe this is something you have read a little about, watched a film about or are interested in from your other studies / hobbies. The only strict rule is that anything that happened in the past 10 years is not allowed.

The three main focuses of study tend to be focused on

  • EITHER Causes of an event / situation;
  • OR Consequences of an event / situation
  • OR Relevance of particular evidence about an event / situation (e.g. a painting, novel, film, biography).

The following resources may help you in your quest for a topic:

Online archives:

Other resources:

  • History Department Magazine collection
  • History Department DVD collection

Once you have settled upon a topic, you have to then turn this into a question - a problem that your study will solve, in other words.

The following table could help you get started

To what extent was... [Event]

responsible for...

the most important result of...
How useful is... the Novel...
the Album...
oral testimony...
the painting...
the film...
for a historical investigation of...
How successful / significant was... [Individual] (e.g. politician / sportsperson / entertainer / film director / etc) in the context of...

The following list of past Internal Assessment questions from IST will also be helpful:

  • "Evidence based"
    • What are the values and limitations of the PC game 'Company of Heroes' to the Historian studying D-Day?
    • What are the values and limitations of the film "Amistad" to the historian studying the transatlantic slave trade?
    • How accurate is the depiction of the 'White Rose' in the film 'Sophie Scholl - The Final Days'?
    • How useful is "The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole" for an investigation of Thatcher's first administration?
    • How useful are declassified documents t for an investigation of the treatment of the Jewish Population of Vichy France?
    • To what extent are photographic sources of the Vietnam War more useful to the historian than written accounts?
    • How useful are visual sources in knowing what really happened during the 1984-5 miners' strike?
  • "Event based"
    • How representative is the My Lai massacre as evidence of American Experience in Vietnam?
    • To what extent was the Jewish State of Israel established through means of terrorism?
    • To what extent was the bombing of Dresden a necessary act of war?
    • How was the visual image manipulated in Stalin's USSR?
    • What was the Significance of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in terms of American Involvement in the Vietnam War?
    • Why was the transatlantic slave trade abolished?
    • Did Hitler really snub Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics?
    • To what extent were the student riots of the 1980s in Korea the result of the policies of President Park?
    • Is the Italian liberation still celebrated today as it was in 1945?
  • "People based"
    • What is the Historical Significance of the Roman Emperor Nero?
    • Why was Fidel Castro able to take power in Cuba?
    • Assess the accuracy with which the life and career of Rosa Parks has been depicted by commentators and historians.
    • How typical were the motives of Count Raymond IV of Toulouse for going on The Crusade?
    • What was the historical significance of the sporting career of Muhammad Ali?

You will be required to identify THREE articles/books and TWO websites that will form the basis of your study. To help you find the books/articles, use these

You are now ready to complete the Initial Proposal Sheet and hand it to your teacher.

Make sure that this is a detailed, considered proposal. A superficial proposal could lead to the proposal being declined and the teacher imposing a title of their choice upon you instead.

You are now ready to start work on the study itself.

Start by downloading this Markscheme and Guidance for Students document. It makes a lot of sense to tackle each section separately.
Stick carefully to the word count!

Here are a selection of studies from the International School of Toulouse that were graded highly in the most recent format (marks shown are those awarded after moderation by the IBO).


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