Changes to DP Biology (III) Internal assessment

There have been some significant changes to the internal assessment portion of the  Group 4 Diploma subjects, and they include the following:

The  weighting of experimental work to the overall grade has been reduced to 20% from 24% (I know this is stating the obvious, but it is worth emphasising that the syllabus content has now increased in weighting to 80%).

Seven set practical activities have now become a mandatory component of the skills section (six in SL and one in HL) and these are examinable within the three papers.

There are now five assessed criteria and all are moderated. Three of these are out of 6, one out of 4 and one out of 2.

Personal skills and manipulative skills  are no longer assessed.

The Group 4 project remains, as does the required number of practical hours for SL and HL.

AND arguably the most significant change to the whole revision of DP Science – There is now a SINGLE assessed practical that will count for upto 10 hours of the PSOW (This form is still required).

It remains rather unclear of the best way to manage the transition to a single experiment while still carrying out the required lab work. The logistics within the classroom alone, for schools will potentially be problematic. The teacher time required to monitor and support a class of differing practicals, the development of the necessary skill sets to complete the process, the differing forms of practical work that are now acceptable for submission and its effect on the Grade 10 programme, have yet to be fully appreciated.

I fear that the transition will lead to a lowering of IA scores and the tendency for schools to ignore the variety of project possibilities, in preference for a full lab experiment that has familiarity and its demands understood. The  obvious similarities to the extended essay lead to other unknown issues.

In the final posting on this series I will draw attention to the changes that have been made to the exam structure and assessment objectives. (all of what I am highlighting can be read in full in the Pre-publication DP biology guide that can be found on the OCC website).

And to close, if you have not heard, Getty images have now made the bulk of its images free to imbed on social media sites (as long as you only embed them). And if that does not interest you, follow the link to a post I made 2+ years ago where I posted my favourite websites. I wrote the blog when TripleA learning came to an end, and before the OSC took over a year later.

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