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The syllabuses and Internal Assessments for all three DP Science subjects are changing this year. Here, IB curriculum reviewer Dr Mark Headlee advises on what you can expect to change...
...the new IA consists of a single scientific investigation, worth 20% of a learner's mark
The Course Guides for DP Biology, Chemistry and Physics have recently undergone revisions - this includes revised syllabuses and new internal assessment expectations. Teaching the new syllabuses begins in September 2014 and will be first examined in May of 2016.
Teachers have been asking about the changes to practical work and the Internal Assessments (IA) – here’s what you can anticipate will change:
Practical work & what has changed for the IA:
The new IA is not an extended essay nor are students expected to do work in areas that go beyond the course level content. However, students may decide on a topic that is outside the syllabus, something of personal interest to them.
Practical work – what is not changing:
You will need to play an active role in preparing learners for the individual scientific investigation. This could include explaining the requirements, allocating class time, setting deadlines and consultation on issues like research questions and structure, as well as teaching the necessary analytic and ICT skills.
You may need to monitor student progress, guide the student into productive lines of thought and check for authenticity. You also might find it helpful to start work on the IAs towards the latter end of the two year DP course. This approach could enable learners to better build up the scientific skills they will need to draw on throughout the project.
Resources and support
Teachers have been asking about support for the changes - the Oxford Course Books for IB Biology, Chemistry and Physics include dedicated support for the new IAs and are the only DP Science resources written with the IB for the new syllabuses. These resources are out from February 2014, giving you over 6 months to prepare.
Dr Mark Headlee has nearly three decades of IB teaching experience, and has taught in Germany, Scotland and the United States. In addition to being the author and instructor of numerous IB online and face-to-face workshops, he is an IB curriculum review member and author of teacher support material.
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