Assessment in the Diploma Program (DP)

Reporting in the DP

Students receive four report cards per year.  Interim achievement grades will be reported halfway through each semester, based on all assessment tasks done up to that point, and a final report will be issued at the end of each semester.

In all reports after term 1, students are assigned grades based upon their progress towards meeting academic learning objectives and benchmarks.  Each semester teachers will also provide comments about student behavior and progress within their subject, based on assessment objectives.  For students completing the full Diploma Programme, comments will also be made regarding progress in the Theory of Knowledge class, CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) and Extended Essay components.


DP teachers do not regularly give nightly homework tasks to students. The total amount of homework given generally does not require more than 60 minutes of work per night. Students are provided with ample time in class to complete tasks, if students have not completed work in class, they may need to finish it at home.  A DP assessment task calendar is created to ensure that teachers are aware of DP workloads and are working together to minimize student workloads during key assessment times. Teachers plan and incorporate the subject specific guidelines in regard to IA time so that students receive adequate time in class to complete the tasks. The school builds in 2 hours a week in the timetable for students to be working on tasks that need to be completed.


All students will attend classes and complete the ISNS assessments according to their programme requirements.  Full DP students and DP certificate candidates will also be required to complete the IB assessments as outlined in the respective subject guides.


All IB DP courses require both Internal (IA) and External Assessment (EA).  Internal Assessments are assessed by ISNS staff following IB issued guidelines and are moderated by external IB examiners.  External assessments are developed by the IB and assessed externally.  The combination of these two assessments will result in an IB grade of 1 to 7, issued by the IB in July of the graduating year.  ISNS will not report these official IB grades on report cards or transcripts.

Teachers will be asked for predicted grades for each subject, to support Higher Education applications and to send to the IB before students sit for final exams.  Predicted grades are only used on official ISNS transcripts and shared directly with Higher Education institutions and the IB.  Predicted grades are a point in time, professional judgement, made by the teacher based on the student’s progress towards meeting subject assessment objects. 

IB DP Predicted Grades

Teachers will be asked for predicted grades for each subject, to support Higher Education applications and to send to the IB just before students sit for final exams.  Predicted grades are the professional judgement of the teacher, at that moment in time, of how the student will perform in the final formal assessment.  While they are informed by achievement grades in reports and by trial exam grades, they may or may not be the same as achievement grades in reports or trial exam grades. Predicted grades are not formally reported to parents, although they will be shared verbally with students as appropriate.  The integrity of the process requires that students and parents are not allowed to influence teachers to give higher predicted grades.

All DP subject teachers will assign internal grades based upon student progress towards meeting academic learning objectives and benchmarks.  The IB’s Internal Assessment work may also be included in this mark.  New Brunswick, Canada academic credits (2 for each year of a DP course) will be issued upon the successful completion of each course on the final report card of the academic year.  Successful completion of an IB DP subject (for New Brunswick credits) requires a final report card grade of 3 or higher.

Assessment in the DP will be based upon and lead towards the types of assessment that will be used for the final assessment of the course. DP assessment tasks at ISNS will use official DP criteria to assess a piece of work, or will use mark schemes and grade boundaries that are similar to IB DP exams.

Methods of Assessment

Many assessment tasks in the DP use assessment rubrics, just as in the MYP.  These rubrics contain descriptors used to assess a student’s performance in a task.  The descriptors are hierarchical and are associated with a numerical grade.  Examinations in the DP generally use standardized mark schemes to arrive at a numerical grade.

Assessments in the DP are rigorous and demanding. Each student at the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen is expected to submit assignment work on or before the due date (or the negotiated deadline if an extension of time has been given). The vast majority of ISNS students work hard to meet assignment deadlines. In the event that a student is unable to complete the assessment on time, a extension may be granted under certain circumstances. Refer to the ISNS Late Submission Policy for more details on how ISNS grants extensions in the DP.

Achievement Grade Descriptors 

Achievement grades in all subjects in Groups 1-6 are on a 1-7 scale. In the core areas of Theory of Knowledge (ToK) and the Extended Essay (EE), an A-E scale is used. Descriptors for this scale are given below. Refer to the descriptors in the IB DP “Grade Descriptors 2017”.

IB DP Assessment Components

Each IB DP subject has a variety of assessment components that are marked using an IB rubric or mark scheme. Grade boundaries are then applied to arrive at an overall grade on the 1-7 scale for that component (A-E for ToK and EE).

IB DP Grade Boundaries

Grade boundaries for all subjects are published annually by the IB in subject reports.  In some subjects, the grade boundaries remain consistent over time, while in other subjects the grade boundaries change year to year.  ISNS uses representative grade boundaries to give an accurate judgement of student achievement during a semester. These grade boundaries may change from year to year.

IB DP Overall Achievement Grades

To arrive at an overall achievement grade for a subject, the numerical marks for each component that has been assessed are combined together using appropriate weightings to give a total value.  Overall grade boundaries are applied to give an overall achievement grade on the 1-7 scale (A-E for ToK and EE). Not all components are assessed in all subjects in all semesters of the course.

Assessment Training for New DP Teachers

The DP Coordinator at ISNS is responsible for the induction and training of all new DP teachers at ISNS.  All new DP teachers will complete a Category 1 IB subject PD (if not already completed) within their first year of employment at ISNS.  The DP Coordinator is responsible for ensuring new ISNS DP teachers review the ISNS Assessment Policy.