Preparing students in Grade 11 for Internal Assessment

By Friday, September 29, 2017 , , , , 2

The Internal Assessment represents an examination of the students understanding of the experimental programme. To this end, Grade 11 is of great importance in preparing students for the independent investigation (or II) that is most commonly carried out in Grade 12.


The experimental programme is pivotal in the teaching of Biology, illustrating, teaching and reinforcing the theoretical concepts of IB Biology.

It comprises three parts:

  1. Practical activities including Applications / Skills / Mandatory labs (These can be found within ‘My IB‘ (the platform which has now replaced the OCC))
  2. The Group 4 project
  3. The Individual investigation

Therefore the individual investigation can be seen as an assessment of the experimental programme.

The individual Investigation can include anyone of the following:

  • hands-on experiment (the more common)
  • The use of a database for analysis and modelling
  • A simulation
  • A hybrid of hands on / spreadsheet/database

Within My IB >Biology > (teaching material)  Biology Teacher support material,  you will locate Guidance for the use of simulations under Information and Communication Technology. It is most worthwhile going there to read and review what is acceptable. One of the key requirements is that repeated runs give you different data/outcomes.

As part of Grade 11 , it’s important to provide students with a range of experiences so that they are able to make an informed choice of an appropriate lab when it comes to the II and grade 12. Equally important is developing an awareness of the assessment criteria and understanding appropriate paraphrasing etc so that students are clear on how to apply the learner profile Principled through academic honesty. Equally important is the correct and proper adherence to the Animal Experimentation Policy which can also be located within My IB >Biology > (teaching material)  Biology Teacher support material.


It is worthwhile reflecting on how you will provide these varied experiences and strategize at the earliest juncture so that they are mapped out within your programme.


Will you, for example;

  • utilize the Group 4 project as an experimental based activity and have students collaborate to write a procedure that can be graded against the II criteria?
  •  have your students do a self-directed practice lab II in Grade 11?
  • if they do well in this, what will their motivation be in completing a second in Grade 12? What are your thoughts?
  • How will you develop a culture of questioning within Grade 11 so they are used to formulating ideas when it comes to grade 12?

will you make this a graded activity, asking students for a detailed question with variables, scientific context, and methodology? I like to ask students to describe the what, the why and the how.


The experimental programme comprises a stipulated 40 hours SL and 60 hours HL. With the explicit listing of applications and skills within the Biology guide, together with the designated 10 hours to the II and the Group 4 project, it is no longer a number that really concerns. What is required, however, is that you list the labs you have carried out in Grade 11 through the completion of a document called the 4/PSOW. You only need complete one of these and they should be stored somewhere in case requested at the 5-year school inspection.

You only need complete one of these and they should be stored somewhere in case requested at the 5-year school inspection.

And finally, onto something completely different. I very much wanted to make a copy of a folder on my Google drive and found this was not possible. I, therefore, did an online search and came across which works a dream. Just thought I would throw in a bit of technology which you may find useful.

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