Understanding Standards: Biology An Overview of the Standards for Unit and Course Assessment
Structure of Presentation Aims Course Structure Unit Assessment: o Outcome 1 o Outcome 2 o Added Value Unit (National 4) o Investigative Biology Unit (Advanced Higher) Course Assessment o Question Paper o Assignment o Project Key Documents
Aims To provide subject specialists with a general overview of the standards for Unit and Course assessment. To highlight differentiation in standards and assessment across all the levels of the Course. standards and assessment across all the levels
Biology Course Structure Level Number of Units Mandatory Units National 33 Cell Biology Multicellular Organisms Life on Earth National 44 Cell Biology Multicellular Organisms Life on Earth Added Value Unit National 53 Cell Biology Multicellular Organisms Life on Earth
Biology Course Structure Level Number of Units Mandatory Units Higher 3 DNA and the Genome Metabolism and Survival Sustainability and Interdependence Higher Human Biology 4 Human Cells Physiology and Health Neurobiology and Communication Immunology and Public Health Advanced Higher 3 Cells and Proteins Organisms and Evolution Investigative Biology
Each Unit has two Outcomes which are both internally assessed: Outcome 1 Apply skills of scientific inquiry and draw on knowledge and understanding of the key areas of the Unit to carry out an experiment/practical investigation. Outcome 2 Draw on knowledge and understanding of the key areas of the Unit and apply scientific skills. Unit Assessment: Outcomes
Each Outcome has a number of Assessment Standards which vary depending on the level of the Course: Outcome 1: 5 - 6 Assessment Standards Outcome 2: 2 - 4 Assessment Standards To achieve a Unit pass, candidates must achieve all of the Assessment Standards for Outcome 1 and Outcome 2. Unit Assessment: Assessment Standards
Unit Assessment: Approaches to Assessment Assessors must gather evidence for the Outcomes and Assessment Standards for each Unit. This can be generated using a variety of activities, some of which are suggested in the Unit Assessment Support Packs (UASP). Alternatively, other discrete assessment activities or those which occur naturally, during learning and teaching, could be used.
The Judging Evidence Tables in UASP describe how the Assessment Standards may be met. Assessors should use their professional judgement in ensuring that candidates’ evidence meets the requirements of the Outcomes and Assessment Standards for the Unit being assessed. Unit Assessment: Assessment Judgements
National 3 Outcome 1: Assessment Standards Assessment Standards 1.1Following given procedures safely 1.2 Making and recording observations/measurements correctly 1.3Presenting results in an appropriate format 1.4Drawing valid conclusions 1.5Evaluating experimental procedures
National 4 – Advanced Higher Outcome 1: Assessment Standards Assessment Standards 1.1*Planning an experiment 1.2Following procedures safely 1.3* Making and recording observations/measurements correctly 1.4*Presenting results in an appropriate format 1.5*Drawing valid conclusions 1.6*Evaluating experimental procedures *Differences in evidence requirements at different levels.
Evidence Requirements Assessment Standard 1.1 National Qualification Level 4 5 H AH A clear statement of the aim A hypothesis A dependent and independent variable Variable(s) to be kept constant minimum of one all Measurements/observations to be made The equipment/materials A clear and detailed description of how the experiment/practical investigation should be carried out, including safety considerations where appropriate Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 1.1
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 1.3 Making and recording observations/measurements correctly: at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher repeat measurements should be made and recorded where appropriate and collated in a relevant format. need to repeat measurements and calculate averages where it’s appropriate. This is not a requiremen4dates need to repeat measurement
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 1.4 Presenting results in an appropriate format: at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher these should also be processed (e.g. averages calculated) before being presented in an appropriate format.
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 1.5 Drawing valid conclusions: at Advanced Higher these must be supported by evidence.
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 1.6 Evaluating experimental procedures: National 4 – provide one possible improvement. National 5 – provide one possible improvement and justify their suggested improvement. Higher and Advanced Higher – provide two possible improvements and justify their suggested improvements.
Outcome 1 – Re-assessment For the purpose of re-assessment candidates: only need to be re-assessed on the specific Assessment Standard(s) that has not been met. should be given the opportunity to re-draft their report. can achieve these via a number of different pieces of evidence.
Outcome 1 – Transfer of Evidence From National 3 to Higher an Outcome 1 pass in one Unit can be used as evidence of an Outcome 1 pass for any other Unit at the same level. An Outcome 1 pass at National 4 can be used as evidence of an Outcome 1 pass at National 3. An Outcome 1 pass at National 5 can be used as evidence of an Outcome 1 pass at National 4.
Assessment Standard National Higher Advanced Higher 345 2.1 Making Accurate Statements 2.2 Solving Problems 2.2 Describing an application of biology 2.3 Describing a biological issue in terms of the effect on the environment /society 2.4 Solving Problems Outcome 2: Assessment Standards
Level Assessment Standard Evidence All2.1 Responses to a set of questions covering all key areas and problem solving skills National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher 2.2 National 3 and 42.4 National 32.2 and 2.3 Short report (30 to 50 words) National 42.2 and 2.3 Short report (40 to 70 words) Outcome 2: Evidence Requirements
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 2.1 Candidates must be given the opportunity to make accurate statements about all of the key areas for each Unit. At least half of these statements should be correct for each Unit. A sample set of questions for each Unit is provided in the UASP. Questions can be replaced with suitable alternatives. The answers provided can also be adapted. When to use prior verification.
Assessment Standard 2.1: Re-assessment Candidates may be re-assessed in only the key areas that they have not achieved or they could sit a new test covering all of the key areas. Whichever method is used, at least 50% of the statements made by candidates must be correct.
Skill National Higher Advanced Higher 345 Selecting Information Making generalisations/predictions Processing Information Analysing Information Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 2.2/2.4 - Solving Problems
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standard 2.2/2.4 - Solving Problems Candidates must pass all of the problem solving skills across the Course but can pass these skills in different Units. If a candidate is given more than one opportunity in a Unit assessment to provide a response for a problem solving skill, then they must answer at least 50% correctly. Once a candidate has achieved a problem solving skill then the evidence can be banked. A sample set of questions for each Unit is provided in the UASP.
Assessment Standard 2.2/2.4: Re-assessment If a specific problem solving skill (e.g. Processing Information) is not achieved, then only that skill needs to be re-assessed. If the candidate fails to demonstrate this problem solving skill on reassessment, they should be given further assessment opportunities to demonstrate this skill in the other Units of the Course.
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standards 2.2 and 2.3 (National 3 - 4) To meet these Assessment Standards candidates can: produce two separate short reports, one covering Assessment Standard 2.2 and one covering Assessment Standard 2.3. or produce one short report which covers Assessment Standards 2.2 and 2.3. If two separate reports are produced, the biological issue described to meet Assessment Standard 2.3 does not need to be related to the application described in the report produced to meet Assessment Standard 2.2.
Evidence Requirements: Assessment Standards 2.2 and 2.3 (National 3 & 4) National 3 candidates should be given an application of biology to describe but at National 4 they can, with guidance, select an application to research. To meet these Assessment Standards the evidence produced must: o Use biology knowledge to describe the application/issue. o Demonstrate knowledge of the underlying biology. o Use terms and ideas that are correct and at a depth appropriate to the level of study.
Assessment Standards 2.2 and 2.3 (National 3 - 4): Re-assessment For the purpose of re-assessment candidates: Only need to be re-assessed on the specific Assessment Standard(s) that has not been met. Should be given the opportunity to re-draft their report(s).
Outcome 2 – Transfer of Evidence Assessment Standard 2.1 is not transferable between Units or levels. A pass in any of the other Outcome 2 Assessment Standards can be used as evidence of a pass in the corresponding Assessment Standard in a different Unit of the Course or at a lower level. Assessment Standards 2.2 and 2.3 can be overtaken as part of the Added Value Unit.
This Unit has one Outcome: Apply skills and knowledge to investigate a topical issue in biology and its impact on the environment/society. The issue should draw on one or more of the Units of the Course. There are five Assessment Standards to meet to achieve the Outcome. National 4 Added Value Unit
National 4 Added Value Unit: Assessment Standards Assessment Standards 1.1Choosing, with justification, a relevant issue in biology 1.2Researching the issue 1.3Presenting appropriate information/data 1.4Explaining the impact, in terms of the biology involved 1.5Communicating the findings of the investigation
There are two stages to this assessment: Stage1 - research stage - conducted under some supervision and control. Stage 2 – communication stage – conducted under controlled conditions. The candidate selects, processes and presents their information/data from Stage 1. The evidence produced does not need to be in the form of a report. National 4 Added Value Unit: Assessment conditions
Candidates only need to be re-assessed on the specific Assessment Standard(s) that has not been met. The candidate can be re-assessed by re-drafting the evidence for that particular Assessment Standard. National 4 Added Value Unit: Re-assessment
National 4 Added Value Unit: Transfer of Evidence Assessment Standards 2.2 and 2.3 can be overtaken as part of the Added Value Unit. The report produced for a National 5 Assignment can be used to meet the Assessment Standards for the Added Value Unit but this must be internally assessed.
Unit Assessment: Advanced Higher Investigative Biology
This Unit has two Outcomes which are both internally assessed: Outcome 1 Apply skills of experimentation and draw on knowledge and understanding of scientific principles and process to carry out a biological investigation. Outcome 2 Draw on knowledge and understanding to analyse and evaluate reports of biological research. Advanced Higher - Investigative Biology Unit Assessment: Outcomes
Assessment Standards 1.1Designing investigative procedures appropriate to the aim 1.2 Taking account of ethical considerations, as appropriate, in, for example, the use of living materials, human subjects and the conservation of natural habitats 1.3 Identifying potential hazards, assessing associated risks and applying appropriate control measures 1.4Collecting data with precision and accuracy 1.5 Using initial results to develop or confirm procedures in the experimental design Advanced Higher - Investigative Biology Outcome 1: Assessment Standards
The investigation from this Unit can also provide the basis of the project–report for the Course Assessment. Topic choice – candidates can choose any topic provided it enables them to achieve Outcome 1 of the Unit. Candidates are not permitted to work in groups. Assessor support is essential. A record of work is required. Advanced Higher - Investigative Biology Outcome 1: Points to note
If a candidate has passed Outcome 1 for the Investigative Biology Unit this can be used as evidence of a pass for Outcome 1 in the other Units of the Course. However, an Outcome 1 pass in the other Units of this Course cannot be used as a pass for Outcome 1 for the Investigative Biology Unit. Advanced Higher - Investigative Biology Outcome 1: Transfer of Evidence
Advanced Higher- Investigative Biology Outcome 2 : Assessment Standards Assessment Standards 2.1Evaluating the scientific method 2.2Analysing the experimental design 2.3Evaluating the analysis and presentation of data 2.4Evaluating conclusions
The report must be given to candidates in advance of the actual assessment. Assessors may discuss the underlying biology in the report with the candidates but direct discussion of the scientific methods must be avoided. The assessment questions focus on the scientific approach, the experimental methods used, the analysis of the results and the conclusions drawn in the report. Candidates are not permitted to take any notes, supporting materials or the report into the assessment. Advanced Higher - Investigative Biology Outcome 2: Points to note
Advanced Higher - Investigative Biology Outcome 2: Transfer of Evidence Evidence for the achievement of this Outcome is not transferable to other Units of this Course.
Course Assessment Overview National 5 – Advanced Higher LevelCourse Assessment National 5 Question Paper and Assignment Higher and Higher Human Question Paper and Assignment Advanced Higher Question Paper and Project Report
Course Assessment Component Mark allocation National 5Higher Advanced Higher Question Paper Section 1 20 25 Question Paper Section 2 608065 Assignment 20 NA Project NA 30 Course Assessment: Mark Allocation
The purpose of the Question Paper is to assess breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding from across the Units. It will assess scientific inquiry skills, analytical thinking skills and the impact of applications on society and the environment. The mandatory skills and knowledge are specified in the ‘Further mandatory information on Course coverage’ section at the end of each Course Assessment Specification. For example: Course Assessment Specification National 5Course Assessment Specification National 5
There are two stages to this assessment: Stage1 - research stage - conducted under some supervision and control. Stage 2 – communication stage – conducted under controlled conditions. The candidate selects, processes and presents information/data from Stage 1. Assignment: Assessment conditions
Assignment – Advice and Guidance Instructions for candidates Choice of topic – underlying biology Choice of topic – suitable data Scientific report Marking guidance Time limits Exemplar assignments
Project Report – Preparation Advice Instructions to candidates Topic choice – the investigation from the Investigative Biology Unit can provide the basis for the project- report Assessment conditions Word limit - 2000-3000 words
Key Documents: Mandatory Information DocumentPurpose Course specification Explains the overall structure of the Course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed Unit Specification Provide an outline of what each Unit will cover within the Course and detail the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Course Assessment Specification Explains the structure of the Course Assessment; including the type and method of assessment. It also includes information on Course coverage.
Key Documents: Advice and Guidance DocumentPurpose Course and Unit Support Notes These documents contain the Course Support Notes and the Unit Support Notes for the Course. They provide advice and guidance for teachers/lecturers on learning, teaching and assessment within the Course and its Units.
Key Documents: Assessment Support DocumentPurpose Unit Assessment Support Packs Contain details of Unit assessment task(s), show approaches to gathering evidence and how the evidence can be judged against the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Prior Verified Packs Contain assessments that have been produced by centres and prior verified by SQA. They meet the minimum Assessment Standards and can be used as an extra resource. Understanding Standards Packs Contain candidate evidence and commentaries for internally assessed Units that explain why this evidence does or does not meet the relevant national standards for assessment.
Key Documents: Assessment Support Purpose Verification Key Messages Produced after each round of verification to provide teachers and lectures with comments on the approach to Unit Assessment and assessment judgements of the Assessment Standards for Unit Assessment. Course Reports Published annually for each Course to provide information on the performance of candidates which should be useful to teachers and lecturers in their preparation of candidates for future examinations.