Moderator’s comments

Every year, the moderator for IB CompSci gives feedback on the previous cohorts’ achievement and then makes suggestions for the next year. Below is the most recent report:

Moderator Feedback (specifically for IA)

It is HIGHLY recommended that you follow the suggestions offered if you would like a level higher than a 4.

Here is the summary of their recommendation for this year’s students:

The aim of the Internal Assessment for IB DP Computer Science is to create a working solution for a real client. The consultation (which must be included as an appendix) should be the basis for the description of the scenario, leading to Criteria for Success of a chosen solution. All high scoring projects showed ample evidence of client involvement.

Criterion B should provide evidence of a rigorous design stage with an overview of all five stages of the project (including the actual intended use of the product by the client) in the Record of Tasks, detailed layout design sketches that include annotations for complex techniques, evidence of algorithmic thinking (in the form of flowcharts, UML diagrams, pseudo-code), and a test plan that addresses all Criteria for Success. All high scoring projects included a thorough design stage.

Criterion C provides candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the tools and techniques used in creating the product. The use of tools/techniques should be explained in relation to screenshots that show their use.

Criterion D does not require written documentation. The video should be around 5 minutes and should only show the proper working of the final solution. The structure of the video should be scripted by the candidate. For example, the video could show the testing of the implemented solution following the test plan from criterion B. Successful videos showed comprehensive evidence of the solution’s functionality with lots of data, but were edited to avoid viewing tedious data entry. Candidates are advised to test their videos to ensure the playback is correct. 

Extensibility can be evidenced by a detailed design in criterion B, by a detailed description of the creation process in criterion C. 

Criterion E should provide evidence of a rigorous evaluation stage. The client feedback (which can be included, in full, in an appendix) should be cited and discussed by candidates as part of their own evaluation of the solution. A table showing the Criteria for Success with a tick for “met” and a cross for “not met” is not sufficient to achieve the highest level.

Recommendations for improvement should go beyond simply restating the success criteria that have not been met. 

A word of caution: treating the project as a purely academic exercise typically means that there is no proper client and that the solution is not being implemented, which will likely impact upon the marks in criteria A, D and E.  

The recommended word count for each section is only for guidance. The overall word count of 2000 words however, is a fixed limit and a moderator is not required to read beyond this limit, which may lead to marks being lost in criterion E.