Group 4 Aims

Importance of the aims

It may seem self-evident that any decent programme should have clear aims upon which the whole programme is based. The aims for Chemistry, Physics and Biology are identical and are listed on page 18 of the 2014 IB Chemistry Guide. In fact they are very similar to the aims for the previous 2007 programme. The opening descriptive paragraph is almost word for word the same. The only slight difference is the introductory sentence introducing the ten aims which includes reference to the overarching theme of the Nature of Science.  

The ten aims that follow are also very similar to those listed on the past programme.  Most are obvious and you are advised to read them carefully so that you can plan your course around them. Although they do underpin the whole rationale of the course in one way they are not so important as they are not examined as such. The assessment tests the four objectives so in reality these are of more pragmatic importance.  The biggest change from the previous programme is Aim 8. On the 2007 programme it stated that the aim was to raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology. This was a strong statement and there were several specific references to ‘Aim 8’ in the syllabus and it was tested in the written examinations. The new Aim 8 is considerably watered down. It now states that students should become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and technology. Ethics is still there but there is now no mention of the economic or environmental implications of using science and technology. In fact there is no mention of the environment in any of the ten new aims. This is bizarre as the actual 2014 syllabus places a very strong emphasis on environmental issues and it forms a significant part of the assessment. For example, each of the four Options has an environmental strand and global warming etc. is now a specific sub-topic on the core.  It does make you wonder whether the people who wrote the syllabus had any idea that environmental issues had been left out of the new aims. In fact there is some evidence that they did not as on page 82 under Topic 14.1 it lists under Aims " Aim 8 Moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of ozone depletion and its solution".

Comparison of the 2014 and 2007 Aims

© IB (taken from the 2014 and 2007 guides)

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