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The assessment criteria for the TOK exhibition

As part of the IB Diploma Programme, every student writes a ToK essay. As a result, students are encouraged to think critically and summarise their findings. A verbal presentation is also submitted for the assessment of the ToK essay.

Though the essay expects students to focus on the concept itself, the presentation assesses their application of the Theory of Knowledge to existing life situations and aspires to extend beyond the subjects taught at school.

The students are assessed on their ability to explore different questions based on actual life objects positioned in the world around us. It is an endeavour to look at ordinary items that they have observed for the majority of their life and associate them with something massive - namely, the Theory of Knowledge.

The evaluation instrument will assess the students and their performance based on five levels, from the bottom up: Rudimentary, Basic, Satisfactory, Good and Excellent.

Arguments are straightforward and adequately supported by examples. The discussion has a constant focus on the title and is connected to the areas of knowledge. There is awareness and some evaluation of various viewpoints. Arguments are offered and there is little awareness of different viewpoints. The essay is linked to the title and makes trivial and insufficient links to the area of knowledge. The discussion is poorly linked to the title. And relevant points are not detailed or consist only of baseless statements.

The students need to include three specific objects that they find an interest in and could explain and relate to their prompt.

  • First of all, the objects need to be physical, tangible things set in the real world. Digital objects can be tangible too. e.g. printed photos.
  • Secondly, the objects should have a specific practical context and not be a generic example of something.
  • The students must have justification skills to relate each of these objects in their IA prompts.

The Assessment Criteria

  • The students must justify their choice of objects. They must showcase why their choice contributes correctly to their argument.
  • The networks made by the students to the IA prompt, will be assessed. The students should refer to the prompt at the end of their analysis for each object, including their conclusion.
  • The rationalisation for each subject is crucial. Students must justify their chosen objects; without that, it would not suitably align with their overall argument.
  • Evidence and analysis are also pivotal. If the students are also familiar with the PEEL (Point, Evidence, Explain and Link) technique, they can see how far an elaborate explanation will go to authenticate their argument.

If all the above-mentioned criteria are met by the students for the content for the Exhibition, they would score the highest band, which is a score of 9-10.

Sub-Criteria for the assessment

A Convincing Presentation

The students will be evaluated on the quality of their expression of a subjective outlook about an entirely hypothetical concept. The focus will be on whether the evidence is presented conclusively with clear links and transformations.

The argument should convince the reader of their awareness of knowledge and convey the student's personal interest in their pursuit of the exhibition.

Lucid Language

Here, the central point will be the language style used and if the discourse of one idea can flawlessly flow into another. It will be beneficial if the students are cautious of their argument delivery as it is a considerable part of their presentation, regardless of the ToK terms or the general definitions they use.


The focus will be on whether students can master the words of their argument to make it authentic, by using the exact words for narratives and ideas. The students need to take into account that precision is a necessity for scoring well on the ToK.

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