Changes in the ib history Curriculum/Assessment General Change

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Changes in the IB History Curriculum/Assessment

General Change

  • There is no longer a Route 1 or Route 2 it is now combined into one History course.

  • Key Concepts: Causation, Consequences, Significance, Perspectives, Change, Continuity

  • All three papers now have a broader range of topics across historical eras

  • Teachers are not required to broaden their approach but now have the option to do so.

  • Cross regional case studies are now required for the Prescribed Subjects (Paper 1) and World History Topics (Paper 2).

Prescribed Subjects


Both structure and number of Prescribed Subjects is changing. They will be organized in a “case study” approach and both case studies must be studied. The new prescribed subjects are:

  1. Military Leaders

    1. Themes: Leadership, Campaigns, Impact

      1. Genghis Khan 1200-1227

      2. Richard I of England 1173-1199

  2. Conquest and its Impact

    1. Themes: Context and motives, Key events and actors, Impact

      1. Final stages of Muslim rule in Spain

      2. Conquest of Mexico and Peru 1519-1551

  3. The Move to Global War

    1. Themes: Causes of Expansion, Events, Responses

      1. Japanese expansion in East Asia 1931-1941

      2. German and Italian expansion 1933-1939

  4. Rights and Protest

    1. Themes: Nature and characteristics of discrimination, Protests and Action, The role and significance of key actors/groups

      1. Civil Rights Movement in the United States 1954-1965

      2. Apartheid South Africa 1948-1964

  5. Conflict and Intervention

    1. Themes: Causes of the conflict, Course and interventions, Impact

      1. Rwanda 1990-1998

      2. Kosovo 1989-2002


It will not long be necessary to pre-register a choice for Paper 1, all choices will be combined in one test document. There will be four sources instead of the present five, with source types being primary, secondary, written, pictorial and diagrammatic.

  • Paper 1 will be out of a total of 24 marks instead of the present 25.

  • The four questions will be similar to the present style but will be in a slightly different order.

    • Question 1A: will test understanding of 1 source 3 marks

    • Question 1B: will test understanding of 1 source 2 marks

    • Question 2: will analyze the value and limitation of 1 source, in their analysis students will now refer to origin, purpose and content (a change in this style). 4 marks

    • Question 3: Compare and Contrast

      • Now using markband for assessment

        • Best fit model 6 marks

    • Question 4: Mini-essay using sources and own knowledge.

      • Now using markband for assessment

        • Best fit model 9 marks

World History Topics


There will now be 12 topics instead of the present 5. This broadens the study to “World History Topics” as opposed to “20th Century Topics”. The regions have again had a minor change and are now: History of Africa and the Middle East; History of the Americas; History of Asia and Oceania; History of Europe

  1. Society and the economy 750-1400

  2. Causes and effects of medieval wars 750-1500

  3. Dynasties and rulers 750-1500

  4. Societies in transition 1400-1700

  5. Early Modern states 1450-1789

  6. Causes and effects of Early Modern wars 1500-1750

  7. Origins, development and impact of industrialization 1750-2005

  8. Independence movements 1800-2000

  9. Evolution and development of democratic states 1848-2000

  10. Authoritarian States (20th century)

  11. Causes and effects of 20th century wars

  12. The Cold War: superpower tensions and rivalries


  • Teachers must select case studies from different regions as questions may be comparative calling for examples from two different regions.

  • Material in the subject guide under these headings are no longer “Material for Detailed Study” but “Suggested Examples” as the guide is less prescriptive.

  • Each topic will only have two questions for the students to choose from instead of the present 6. Because of this change all of the Paper 2 questions will be “open” questions allowing students to use the case studies they have been taught.

  • It is crucial that teachers look carefully at the prescribed content and make sure they have covered all themes effectively. It may be better to cover three or four authoritarian leaders rather than just two as the case studies must be effective in comparing or contrasting each prescribed theme.

  • New Markbands have been created for Paper 2, which are now out of a possible 15 marks instead of the present 20 marks.

    • There are five clear bands, each with three levels giving each band a low, middle and high range.

Higher Level Options


There will now be 18 topics for each regional study instead of the present 12. This again broadens the subject time frame for each of the regions. Three of the sections must be taught and as is presently the case they must be taught thoroughly with all bullets being addressed.

  • Each topic has an introductory paragraph and bullet points. Teachers need to understand that both the introductory paragraph and the bullet points are considered prescribed content for this component.

  • Teachers still have the flexibility to select any three of the topics.


  • There will still be two questions for each topic.

  • Students can answer any three questions.

  • New Markbands have been created for Paper 3, which are now out of a possible 15 marks instead of the present 20 marks.

  • There are five clear bands, each with three levels giving each band a low, middle and high range.

Internal Assessment

  • Still a historical investigation where student determines the research topic/question with teacher guidance.

  • New Format with three basic components:

    • Identification and evaluation of sources

      • Includes a clearly stated research question.

    • Investigation

      • Organized essay which incorporates evidence, analysis and conclusion (no longer are evidence and analysis separate).

    • Reflection

  • Maximum word count is now 2200 words

    • No specific penalty for going over but teachers/moderators are to stop reading at 2200 with no credit being given for anything after that.

  • No marks are awarded for works cited or referencing.

    • If this is not done correctly it becomes an academic honesty issue (this is the way this is now being addressed across all DP subjects)

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