Not a checklist

One of the advantages of the old system of internal assessment was that it was quite easy to produce a checklist for each criteria. This was also one of the aspects that the assessment team didn't like, it became too formulaic. In the new system there are many ways to score maximum marks so its not just a matter of drawing a graph with the correct axes, error bars and best fit lines to score complete in aspect 3 of DCP for example. The new assessment is more holistic therefore not so easy to compartmentalise into a checklist however it might be worth making a list of all the top mark statements with some guidelines as to what might be expected for a maximum score. This is more for the students to check that they have covered all of the bases rather than for teachers as an aid to marking. Some parts like communication are really impossible for the student to check themselves. It's difficult to spot errors and know if terminology has been used correctly, here some guidance from the teacher is required. This is not exhaustive (yet) I'll be adding to the list as I think of more things.

Personal Engagement

Clear evidence of personal engagement, justification of topic and evidence of personal input in design, implementation or presentation:

  • Statement of reason why the topic is interesting.
  • Context of the research given.
  • Interesting use of apparatus.
  • Novel method.
  • Adaption of equipment to suit requirements.
  • comparison of different methods.
  • Use of simulations to compare results.


Focused research question, relevant background information with highly appropriate method all factors influencing reliability considered with full awareness for safety ethical and environmental issues.

  • Research question clearly stated in introduction.
  • If applicable variables identified.
  • Theoretical background explained.
  • Equations derived not just stated.
  • Method is described fully showing attention to detail and consideration of controlled variables.'
  • Appropriate method (if it worked it was probably appropriate).
  • Adaption of method to reduce errors.
  • Use of different methods to reinforce conclusion.
  • Use of simulations to support theoretical background.
  • Mention of factors that can not be controlled.
  • Mention of safety issues (not trivialised).


Raw data is displayed in a table and processed correctly. Uncertainties are justified and processed. Results are correctly interpreted and the impact of uncertainties is fully understood.

  • Relevant raw data collected.
  • Raw data is displayed in a clear table.
  • Raw data table has correct units and uncertainties in headers.
  • There is enough raw data to support conclusion (at least 5 values of independent variable for a linear relationship more for non linear).
  • Measurement of dependent variable has been repeated (about 5 times) and mean value calculated.
  • Uncertainties calculated from (max -min)/2 or percentages.
  • Some processing of data (at least finding mean).
  • Results used to show the impact of uncertainties (e.g. intercept, spread of data or size of error bars).
  • Data used to find relationship or value.
  • Uncertainty in gradient found where appropriate.


A detailed and fully relevant conclusion justified with reference to accepted theory. Strengths and weaknesses are discussed, limitations of method understood and improvements discussed.

  • Any calculated values are expressed correctly and compared to accepted.
  • Any claims made are justified and backed up with evidence from the results.
  • Shows an understanding of how the results support the theory and where it deviates from it.
  • Understands how uncertainties affect the results (with evidence).
  • Tries to adapt the method to reduce uncertainties or test their impact.
  • Highlights weaknesses in the method (with evidence).
  • Discusses how to address weaknesses (weaknesses addressed should be those mentioned).
  • Discusses what the next step would be given more time.


Clearly presented, well structured, coherent, focused, relevant with correct use of terminology and few errors.

  • Can a it be read in one go without having to re-read sections in order to understand it.
  • Correct use of physical terms.
  • Organised into short sections with relevant sub titles.
  • Not more than 12 pages.
  • Doesn't contain irrelevant information.
  • Correct units used throughout.
  • Derivations and equations correctly performed and well laid out.
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