Using global impression marking
The method of assessing the essay on a prescribed title and the presentation in TOK judges each piece of work in relation to written descriptions of performance and not in relation to the work of other students.
The assessment of both tasks is envisaged as a process of holistic or global judgment rather than an analytical process of totalling the assessment of separate criteria. Although in the essay the assessment is presented as two aspects, they are integrated into five described levels of performance, allowing for variation in student performance across different parts of the overall assessment. Because of the requirement for a reasonable mark range along which to differentiate student performance, each markband level descriptor corresponds to a range of two different marks.
Assessment judgments should in the first instance be made with reference to the level descriptors for typical characteristics. The possible characteristics underneath are intended as starting prompts for discussion and development of a shared vocabulary among examiners, moderators, teachers and students as to how work at each level might be described.
The possible characteristics corresponding to a level of performance should not be thought of as a checklist of attributes; they are intended to function only as tentative descriptions, some of which may seem appropriate to apply to work at that level.
The achievement level descriptors concentrate on positive achievement, although for the lower levels (zero is the lowest level of achievement) failure to achieve is included in the description.
These level descriptors are designed to be used as a whole, and operate at a global level. It is to be understood that:
- the described levels are not a checklist or necessary minimum
- the different levels of performance are not discrete, and differences of degree are involved
- different levels suggest typical performance, and there are always exceptions requiring individual or case by case judgments
- the performance of students can be uneven across different aspects, but it is the overall impression that is most important.
Examiners and moderators will use the levels of performance as the terms on which they make a judgment that draws on their knowledge of what students at this level can do with tasks of this kind. How examiners and moderators will make a judgement about the level of performance attained in a particular student response will vary.
Essay examiners may make a decision in the course of reading the piece, and then review it and make a final judgment after completing a reading. Or they may register the comments and arguments of a student, read the essay as a whole and make a decision in retrospect. In either case the described levels are to be seen as global and holistic rather than a checklist of necessary characteristics. Examiners will make judgments about individual pieces of work by taking into account and evaluating the distinctive characteristics of a particular script.
Presentation moderators will similarly endeavour to reach a holistic judgment based on the responses of the student(s) and teacher on the TK/PPD form.
The markbands for each assessment task in effect represent a single holistic criterion applied to the piece of work, which is judged as a whole. The highest descriptor levels do not imply faultless performance and examiners and teachers should not hesitate to use the extremes if they are appropriate descriptions of the work being assessed.
Part 1: Essay on a prescribed title
The following diagram shows the question underpinning a global impression judgment of the TOK essay. This question is to shape the reading and assessing of TOK essays.
The judgment about the TOK essay is to be made on the basis of the following two aspects:
1. Understanding knowledge questions
This aspect is concerned with the extent to which the essay focuses on knowledge questions relevant to the prescribed title, and with the depth and breadth of the understanding demonstrated in the essay.
Knowledge questions addressed in the essay should be shown to have a direct connection to the chosen prescribed title, or to be important in relation to it.
Depth of understanding is often indicated by drawing distinctions within WOKs and AOKs, or by connecting several facets of knowledge questions to these.
Breadth of understanding is often indicated by making comparisons between WOKs and AOKs. Since not all prescribed titles lend themselves to an extensive treatment of an equal range of AOKs or WOKs, this element in the descriptors should be applied with concern for the particularity of the title.
Relevant questions to be considered include the following.
- Does the essay demonstrate understanding of knowledge questions that are relevant to the prescribed title?
- Does the essay demonstrate an awareness of the connections between knowledge questions, AOKs and WOKs?
- Does the student show an awareness of his or her own perspective as a knower in relation to other perspectives, such as those that may arise, for example, from academic and philosophical traditions, culture or position in society (gender, age, and so on)?
2. Quality of analysis of knowledge questions
This aspect is concerned only with knowledge questions that are relevant to the prescribed title.
Relevant questions to be considered include the following.
- What is the quality of the inquiry into knowledge questions?
- Are the main points in the essay justified?
- Are the arguments coherent and compelling?
- Have counterclaims been considered?
- Are the implications and underlying assumptions of the essay’s argument identified?
- Are the arguments effectively evaluated?
Analysis of a knowledge question that is not relevant to the prescribed title will not be assessed.
Note: The TOK essay is not an assessment of first or second language literacy. Students should have properly edited their work, but whether they have done so is not in itself a matter for assessment. While the two are usually highly correlated, assessors will be wary of taking linguistic fluency for substantive understanding and analysis of knowledge questions. A fluent and stylish rendition of different knowledge questions does not in itself amount to analysis or argument. Discussion of knowledge questions must be clearly related and appropriately linked to a set title. Equally, an essay written with minor mechanical and grammatical errors can still be an excellent essay and examiners will not take these errors into consideration when marking the essay. It is only when these errors become major and impede the comprehension of the essay that they will be taken into account.
TOK essay assessment instrument
|Aspect||Level 5 |
|Level 4 |
|Level 3 |
|Level 2 |
|Level 1 |
|Understanding knowledge questions||There is a sustained focus on knowledge questions connected to the prescribed title and are well chosen— developed with investigation of different perspectives and linkedeffectively to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing.||There is a focus on knowledge questionsconnected to the prescribed title—developed with acknowledgment of different perspectives and linked to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing.||There is a focus on someknowledge questionsconnected to the prescribed title—with somedevelopment and linking to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing.||Someknowledge questions that are connected to the prescribed title are considered, but the essay is largely descriptive, with superficial or limitedlinks to areas of knowledge and/or ways of knowing.||The essay has only very limited relevance to the prescribed title—relevant points are descriptive.||The essay does not reach a standard described by levels 1–5 or is not a response to one of the prescribed titles on the list for the current session.|
|Quality of analysis of knowledge questions||Arguments are clear, supported by real-life examples and are effectively evaluated; counterclaims are extensively explored; implications are drawn.||Arguments are clear, supported by real-life examples and are evaluated; some counterclaims are identified and explored.||Somearguments are clear and supported by examples; some counterclaims are identified.||Arguments are offered but are unclear and/or not supported by effectiveexamples.||Assertions are offered but are not supported.|
Part 2: Presentation
The following diagram shows the question underpinning a global impression judgment of the TOK presentation.
TOK presentation assessment instrument
|Do(es) the presenter(s) succeed in showing how TOK concepts can have practical application?|
|Level 5 |
|Level 4 |
|Level 3 |
|Level 2 |
|Level 1 |
|The presentation is focused on a well-formulatedknowledge question that is clearly connected to a specifiedreal-life situation. The knowledge question is effectively explored in the context of the real-life situation, using convincingarguments, with investigation of differentperspectives. The outcomes of the analysis are shown to be significant to the chosen real-life situation and to others.||The presentation is focused on a knowledge question that is connected to a specifiedreal-life situation. The knowledge question is explored in the context of the real-life situation, using cleararguments, with acknowledgment of differentperspectives. The outcomes of the analysis are shown to be significant to the real-life situation.||The presentation identifies a knowledge question that has some connection to a specified real-life situation. The knowledge question is explored in the context of the real-life situation, using some adequatearguments. There is some awareness of the significance of the outcomes of the analysis.||The presentation identifies a knowledge question and a real-life situation, although the connection between them may not be convincing. There is some attempt to explore the knowledge question. There is limited awareness of the significance of the outcomes of the analysis.||The presentation describes a real-life situation without reference to any knowledge question, or treats an abstract knowledge question without connecting it to any specific real-life situation.||The presentation does not reach the standard described by levels 1–5.|
|Some possible characteristics|
Все выглядело совсем не так, как несколько минут. ТРАНСТЕКСТ выступал серым силуэтом в слабом сумеречном свете, проникавшем сквозь купол потолка. Все лампы наверху погасли. Не было видно даже кнопочных электронных панелей на дверях кабинетов.