I have spent several hours this Crocus holiday grading internal assessments (IA) from both my Year 1 and my Year 2 students. I am somewhat comforted in seeing that the Year 2 students do, indeed, have more depth in their reports than the Year 1 students. So I know improvement is eminent with the first year students. However, there is still so much lacking with the senior reports that I’m concerned whether they’ll pull it together by our final March 6th deadline. Some of them simply need to redo an experiment or, at a minimum, rework their Data Collection and Processing (DCP) and Conclusions and Evaluations (CE).
I spent some time on the ibo.org site looking at the subject reports from last year, with a focus on IA. This proved exceedingly valuable. I recommend this practice to all new teachers. There are some concrete suggestions for things teachers should be looking out for in the IAs their students are preparing. I even copied the list of reasons why papers were marked down in 2013 and sent the list to my Year 2 students. I advised them to look at each item on the list against their own write-ups before submitting it to me. We’ll see if it helps.
With the year one students I completed essentially a joint construction with them on the Effect of hydrogen peroxide substrate concentration on leaf extract catalase activity. Even with all the joint work, there are a lot of misconceptions and omissions. I’ve used the IB rubric to assess their work. They’ll have an opportunity to fix their mistakes, hopefully leading to stronger experimental process next time.
This is my 3rd year teaching IB. The students are definitely becoming progressively more prepared as they experience the science program at our school from MS and HS that has IB standards as a goal. Additionally, I am becoming a stronger teacher as I do more PD in the IB area and as I become more familiar, through experience, with the IB criteria. I remain an advocate of the IB Science standards and am happy to see that with the changes in Group IV for 2016, these standards will be more clearly defined for new teachers.