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Assessing MYP student ePortfolios

By Gill Chudley

Are you teaching arts, design or physical and health education in the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP)? As you will soon be assessing your students’ work, we have put together some tips and guidance to help you through this important process. You will also find the advice useful for the personal project.

Let’s start with standardization, what is it?

It’s important that where more than one teacher is responsible for marking work in a subject/language that they apply the assessment criteria in the same way. We call this process standardization.

MYP-Stock-20To ensure that examiners apply a common interpretation of the strand achievement levels* (I refer to these as ‘levels’ in the rest of this post) we ask the principal examiner for each subject to mark some sample student work. They then annotate it and produce a commentary to explain both why they awarded a particular level for each strand and how they came to the overall level for each criterion. The rest of the examining team can study the principal examiner’s work to learn the interpretation—what we call the definitive global standard—and apply it to their own assessment work.

In the next stage of the process, the teachers have moderated the work and the school has submitted their sample to the IB for examiner review. Where the examiner is in agreement with the levels awarded by the school for their sample, no change is made to the school’s levels. They remain as awarded for every student whether or not they were in the sample – this is the best outcome for the students, their teachers, and for us.

What happens when the examiner does not agree with the school’s marking?

Where the school applies their standard consistently, but perhaps are a little harsh or a little generous in comparison to the IB’s global standard, the school’s totals for each student in the cohort can be adjusted to reflect this by applying a moderation factor. This adjustment might increase the criterion level total for each student by one or two. The examiner will supply feedback via IBIS to the school in this instance. The feedback should help the school understand the reasons for the adjustment, and allow them to work toward achieving the global standard with their next cohort.

IBAEM-MYP-InternationalSchoolTheHague-AC-PL-SM-Web-189Alternatively, where the standard has not been consistently applied—for example, where the top range within the sample has been marked harshly and the lower range has been marked generously—the moderation factor will adjust some criterion level totals upwards and some downwards. This will bring the inconsistency across the cohort in line with the same adjustments. The examiner will also provide feedback to the school in this situation via IBIS.

How will the school and the examiner know which strands to apply to which aspect of the work?

We produce partially-completed unit planners—each year on 1 November for the following May session, and each year on 1 May for the next November session—which indicate where the primary focus will be for each strand. Examiners won’t ignore evidence that is demonstrated elsewhere, of course, but the primary focus will be clearly indicated.

What tips can you give students to help the assessment process?

Student work must be legible, audible and/or viewable for the examiner to be able to consider it properly, ensuring that pages are correctly orientated to be read on-screen.

1. Handwritten work should be scanned or copied carefully to make sure the outer areas have not been cropped.

2.The maximum limits for pages or minutes should be observed – work that is beyond the maximum limit will not be considered, and valuable evidence for a strand or strands might therefore not feature in the assessment.

3.Remember, although the teacher would recognize their student in a video recording, the examiner will not know who they are and won’t even be aware of their name while undertaking the assessment – work is anonymous. Teachers will need to ensure that they refer to students in group work in a way that identifies them when writing their comments, so students could help their teachers by ensuring that they are clearly discernible in some way e.g. “girl in the red shirt.”

What strengths did you find in the work submitted by schools in the 2014 trial for ePortfolio assessment?

Examiners were impressed with:

  • good teaching that guided students while allowing them to follow a personal interest, as that led to strong motivation;
  • units that had been developed to encapsulate clearly the inquiry section of the partially-completed unit planner to ensure conceptual understanding;
  • schools who had been creative in developing the units within the mandatory elements;
  • the opportunity for students to work in a variety of electronic and paper formats;
  • deep research that led to interesting outcomes;
  • a good use of technology to record the evidence to be assessed.

Trials lead to greater understanding. Were there other points of advice from examiners for schools to make improvements?

IBAEM-MYP-InternationalSchoolHilversum-134The examiners in the trial were keen to make recommendations toward the very best of practice in all areas for everyone which are listed on the trial report for each subject.

One thing highlighted by examiners in all subjects is for schools to ensure their students have access to the highest appropriate achievement levels. For example, ensuring they use pre-created templates for responding to summative assessment tasks as differentiating tools rather than asking all students to work with them.

How might the strands being assessed in each task and each session within the partially-completed unit planners differ to the “typical” example in the Guide to eAssessment?

The example written for the Guide to eAssessment is exactly that – a typical example. If schools always use the partially-completed unit planner for the correct session as their guideline, they will be correct.



Available on the programme resource centre:

  • Reports from the arts, design and physical and health education, and language acquisition trials
  • Guide to eAssessment
  • Handbook of procedures for the Middle Years Programme
  • Partially-completed unit planners
  • Subject guides
  • Further guidance for MYP physical and health education
  • The task specific clarifications (marking tools) have been published in English within the Further guidance for the personal project and Further guidance for arts. French and Spanish versions will follow once translations have been completed.
  • Marking guidance for the arts and the personal project by way of an examination session task specific clarification
*Each assessment strand has a descriptor at each level 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. Teachers use the descriptors against evidence in the work to decide which level to award the student per strand, and after all strands of a criterion have been attended to, to come to a holistic level for that criterion.

Gill Chudley is the IB’s Subject Manager for MYP Arts, Design, PHE and Personal Project.



  • @LCISDesign Swiss

    This is a very useful blog entry for those dealing with E-Portfolio submission and preparation. Thanks for posting Gill.

  • Anissa

    How many files can be uploaded for each task? Is it one or 2? We need this answer. We have been told ONE file per task by another school, yet we’ve heard 2 files per task….. which one is it and NO ONE at IBO can give us an answer.

  • Kate Taverner

    Hi Anissa, I checked with my colleagues in Assessment who recommend that you take a look at pages 38 and 39 of the 2017 MYP Handbook of Procedures where you’ll find the detailed information of how many files (including their type and maximum size) for all the ePortfolio subjects. You can also see the Guide to MYP eAssessment as this contains important information about the ePortfolios and on-screen examinations. Both documents can be found on the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC) - Hope that helps.

  • Andy LUU

    Can students use their laptop to type their essay for the written exam?

  • Mickie

    Hi Andy, MYP subjects for which students received IB-validated grades through on-screen examinations can be delivered on laptop computers. Details are available in the publication ‘IT requirements for conducting MYP on-screen examinations’ which you can find in the programme resource centre——and where you can also find a compatibility checker. For further technical questions, our IB Answers team will be happy to help you—you can find their contact details here: and also in the IB Answers section of My IB. I hope this helps. Thanks, Mickie.

  • Andy LUU

    Hi Mickie,

    Thank you for the information. I asked about this because I teach English Language Acquisition rather than Language and Literature. That means I have to submit an e-portfolio with 4 exams, one of which is a written exam. I couldn’t find anywhere that specify the exam must be written. So I want to make sure that the students can type their written exam on the computer instead of writing it on paper.

  • Mickie

    Hi Andy, thanks for the additional context. I checked with the MYP development team and they explained that there’s no rule against it, so long as it’s under examination conditions (no spell check, outside assistance, internet access, etc.). Good practice also advises that students would have similar experience in course work and formative assessment, that is, not find themselves undertaking an assessment using the keyboard unless they had worked extensively and were comfortable in responding with a keyboard.) There are also, of course, a variety of practical considerations in using computers (dealing with lost files, capturing students’ work, ensuring academic honesty, etc.). I hope that clarifies? Thanks, Mickie

  • Andy LUU

    Hi Mickie,
    Thank you SO much for the clarification! Your response came just in time for me to prepare them for the written exam in the next couple of days. I will make sure they take the appropriate actions before the exam. Again, I really appreciate the help.

  • Jonathan

    Hello everyone. I have a question in regards to the grade one of my students eportfolios. If they uploaded an ePortfolio that is partially completed, with two tasks completed, and two completely blank, would their entire portfolio be given a 0? Or will the sum of the grades of the first two tasks be considered?