Extended Essays are a nightmare

Having just completed the marking of 59 Physics extended essays for the IB, I am compelled to write this post about the appalling quality of them.  Of the 59, only a handful scored over 20/36 – which is pretty poor.  The main reasons are: 1. Theoretical and Inappropriate Some extended essays are theoretical. Whilst these are allowed (and I have seen a few good ones over the years), in general they do not score well. The work is often inappropriate and although ...

They think it’s all over, it is now – NOT!

This blog is being written at the end of quite a stressful weekend for the students.  The first two Physics exams (P1 & P2) were on Friday and then the final P3 today. Part of my build-up for the students is to always tells them that the best way to revise is to look a past exam papers, go through the questions topic by topic, and then look at the marking schemes.  There should obviously also be a place for doing ...

Revision for your students is a mini-nightmare!

This is really the 11th hour for the IB2 students – the final exams are VERY close and they should all be working ridiculously hard on their revision – and physics teachers should all be working to help wherever possible. This final comment does sound a little strange, especially as I am a Head of Physics and have every confidence in the fact that my team of teachers have worked hard for the last 2 years, with a syllabus that remains ...

The new IA – views from DP subject experts

The Group 4 IA is changing. For those teaching students in their first year of the DP, these changes will be taking effect now. As a teacher or a Head of School, do you know which methods and practices your school will be adopting? Some of OSC’s subject experts have written specific blogs on the changes and offer advice on how to approach them. Biology Chemistry. Article 1 | Article 2 Physics Design Technology

Something wicked this way comes

The new IA needs to be addressed very soon. If you have not given this some thought, then you could be heading for problems. The Old and New.  As teachers will know, the new form of the Gp4 IA is very different to the old.  In some ways better and in others, worse.  Whatever you think of it, it is here to stay ... for a few years anyway.  One of the good things is that it is a single piece of ...

It’s tough at the top

This post is a short discussion of the problems with Physics which result in a relatively low proportion of top grades being produced.  The fear is that these problems will not go away with the new course and might even be worse! The pass-rates for all IB courses are very similar.  However, there are marked differences between the grades that are achieved.  Statistically, the three subjects which seem to be the toughest to get a ‘7’ in are HL Physics, Chemistry ...

Two for the price of one

The 2014/15 academic year is going to be really quite tough on IB teachers for Group 4, especially if you are the only teacher for the IB physics course in your school.  If you are the IB teacher, then you will need to teach both the last year of the old course and the first year of the new course together. This produces two main problems:   1.  The syllabus.  The new syllabus is VERY different to the old.  To present both at ...

The New Course approaches

Preparations for the new Physics course starting this September MUST start now to avoid potential disaster. As all IB physics teachers should know, the revision of the Group 4 subjects has been essentially completed and the new syllabus for Physics begins this September – for first examination in 2016. The truth is that we are still waiting for sufficient exemplar IA materials – material that teachers can blind mark to the new marking criteria, producing marks which match the accepted values.  Also, ...

Gp 4 Project – Start Early to not be disappointed

  Planning of the Group 4 project is crucial if it is to be successful. This is the part of the year when we start to think about the organisation of the group 4 project.  I will be provocative and say that if you are not thinking about it now, you may not be using it to its best effect.  Let’s consider a couple of the key issues:   Timing:  Students have no choice about the G4 project – it is a condition of ...

Exam Advice – the Devil is in the Details

By Thursday, October 31, 2013 , , , , 0

I know it may well seem that the exams are a long way off, but actually, they could be ‘just around the corner! The November exam session is about to start and already, some of my colleagues have got extended essays to mark.  Coupled to this, the subject reports have recently been released on the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC). A quick word about the OCC before we drop into the advice we can glean from the reports.  The IB’s OCC has had a ...