Site navigation: [ Home | Theory | Java | About ]

Dossier issues

This and linked pages contain material used at workshops for new and experienced teachers of the programme. They are no part of IBO policy however, simply the views of one teacher (and yes, other points of view are possible, tenable and equally valid).




Students will need additional access time to computers to work on their own and probably additional time with the teacher if possible.


Problems also need to have an identified end user.


Dossier Self-assessment Form (word doc)


On this page: [ Hints &Tips | Choice of Problems | Mastery ]

A possible model

This would typically give students the first term of year 2 (about 16-18 weeks) to develop their dossiers. They then might have time allocated as follows:

Weeks 1 through 6 The analysis, prototype, design, data structures and criteria for success.
Weeks 7 - 12 Working on the application (coding)
Weeks 13 - 16 Testing and final documentation.

Hints and Tips
These are a combination from myself and the previous chief examiner (Glen Martin) for the subject:

Level of Supervision
Give regular feedback as to student's current "rating" in each section so that they can prioritize tasks. You can use the evaluation forms (for volume 1 and volume 2) developed by Mikk Towers at UWCSEA.

Choice of problems
All students should ideally be working on different dossier programs to help avoid plagiarism and make it easier for teachers to sign the statement that the work is an individuals.

Some suggestions for dossier projects are included here.

Back to top

Weaker Students
All SL topics can be covered by a file maintenance program such as student, medical, dental records etc. HL topics can be covered by a similar program but with the addition of a linked list of search results from the data file.

Where a data file is used, there is often an opportunity to merge files or sorted lists of search results. Linked list operations can also be handled recursively (have an option to show the list in forward or reverse order - difficult to handle iteratively).

This can additionally lead to the creating of two different kinds of composite data structure (one for the records in the file and a different one for records in the linked list - there will be at least a pointer field and optionally a record number field in this structure).

Try to give examples of comparable situations so that students have a chance to think through rather than give direct help with the particular problem at hand. In cases where candidates are directly given code (or want to use your sample code, or code from a book) have the students put in comments to show where such code starts and ends. If you are using a modern editor different coloured fonts can be used to good effect.

Back to top

Mastery of topics
Is not the same as simple "using". The justification for inclusion of each topic will be more convincing to the moderator and this should appear in the data structures discussion as well (where appropriate).

It is a good idea to make the students create an "index" of mastery for their dossiers and for the code listing. This will help them focus on the need to cover the appropriate aspects. This can also be done to good effect if you use the strategy of having them design the detailed pseudocode first (which, of course, they should be doing).

Back to top


Online workshops for computer science teachers are run from this site on a regular basis.

Talk to your IB Coordinator or direct to us.

The site is partly financed by advertising revenue, partly by online teaching activities and partly by donations. If you or your organisation feel these resouces have been useful to you, please consider a donation, $9.95 is suggested. Please report any issues with the site, such as broken links, via the feedback page, thanks.

Questions or problems related to this web site should be addressed to Richard Jones who asserts his right to be identified as the author and owner of these materials - unless otherwise indicated. Please feel free to use the material presented here and to create links to it for non-commercial purposes; an acknowledgement of the source is required by the Creative Commons licence. Use of materials from this site is conditional upon your having read the additional terms of use on the about page and the Creative Commons Licence. View privacy policy.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. © 2001 - 2009 Richard Jones, PO BOX 246, Cambridge, New Zealand;
This page was last modified: October 28, 2013