Uploading IA samples to IBIS?

Saturday 24 March 2018

In the northern hemisphere only a few weeks remain before the April deadline to upload samples for the Biology IA - the Individual investigation. 
Here are a few reminders for teachers.

Where should I put teacher annotations?

For more detail please see my blog post  How to annotate investigations for the moderator about this topic.

  • Remember your audience!  Annotate students' work to help the moderator understand your marking.
  • Put comments in the document, next to the work which merits the marks.
  • Use software which puts text simply on the page and doesn't condense the comments as speech bubbles.
    I prefer Adobe acrobat to add text comments on the page directly into pdf documents.  (In Acrobat, click on 'Tools' and then 'Comment')
  • If you use a marking 'topsheet' put it on the front page, so you can be sure moderators sees your notes before reading (and moderating) the IA.

How can I apply the assessment criteria more rigorously?

This is another of the main recommendations, that teachers were more often too generous than too severe and thus teachers should "apply the criteria more rigorously".  This is an important idea to consider if you don't want your marks adjusted by the moderator.

The choice between two marks in each band is crucial. Remember that the descriptors in a mark band refer to the evidence required to award either the lower or the upper mark.  It is tempting to always awarded 4 mark in the 3-4 band (for example) if the work sounded like the 3-4 mark description. It is better to try to discriminate between the 3 and the 4 more carefully.
I think that this is really what this point, "apply the criteria more rigorously" in the examiners report refers to.

An example would be the communication criteria above.  I have separated the different aspects of the communication criterion as I find this easier to apply when marking, but remember this is a holistic judgment. 

Mark the students' work first decide if it fits the 4 marks box or the 2 marks box in each column, or possibly the 0 too. 
I might have made the following observations about a piece of work.  Of course you would put the red comments as annotations on the student's work, not on the markscheme.

Although the work met these descriptions it could have been better work in places, and I should have also considered 3 marks as an option for each judgment.  If I had done this I might have decided something like the image below.

Students who read the criteria could ask, "Why haven't I got 4 marks, I have done all the things mentioned in the grade 4 descriptor?"  A good answer might be, " Yes, but that is the descriptor for 3 or 4 marks. To get 4 marks requires a little more than the bare minimum in the description."

Do I have to upload the ICCS/4 form and the PSOW?  NO.

The ICCS/4 form has been discontinued in 2019. 
It gives details about the group 4 project and students might have written a short reflection on this form. 
Although it doesn't have to be uploaded on IBIS when you upload the students work for your sample, you might like to use it in school.

The PSOW form does not need to be uploaded on IBIS, but the IB can ask to see this, and it is likely that you would be asked to show this during a Verification visit or a 5-year visit by the IB.  So keep a record of all the labs you have done.  Remember that this can include simulations and demonstrations as well as wet labs.

Other points to remember:

  • Names of student and school - should not be shown on the work
  • Maximum length - six to twelve pages, including any appendices.
  • Spacing - Single line spacing is OK
  • Font size - A 'normal size' 11 or 12 is best
  • Title page and contents list - not required. The title can be on the first page of work.

Biology teachers should be congratulated

The first sentence in the examiners report, and something worth remembering when completing the IA work, which does take a lot of time, "A very large range of inventive and original investigations were presented. This was a huge positive move and teachers should be congratulated."


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