IB Group 4 subjects

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The Group 4: Experimental sciences subjects of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme comprise the main scientific emphasis of this internationally recognized high school programme. They consist of seven courses, five of which are offered at both the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL): Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Design Technology, and, as of August 2012, Computer Science (previously a group 5 elective course) is offered as part of the Group 4 subjects.[1] There are also two SL only courses: a transdisciplinary course, Environmental Systems and Societies, that satisfies Diploma requirements for Groups 3 and 4,[2] and Sports, Exercise and Health Science (previously, for last examinations in 2013, a pilot subject[3]). Astronomy also exists as a school-based syllabus. Students taking two or more Group 4 subjects may combine any of the aforementioned.

The Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Design Technology courses will be updated for first teaching in September 2014, with syllabus updates (including a decrease in the number of options), a new internal assessment component similar to that of the Group 5 (mathematics) explorations, and "a new concept-based approach" dubbed "the nature of science". A new, standard level-only course will also be introduced to cater to candidates who do not wish to further their studies in the sciences, focusing on important concepts in Chemistry, Biology and Physics.[4][5]

Structure and assessment[edit]

All group 4 subjects (except computer science and environmental systems and societies; see below) follow roughly the same format. Each subject has its Subject Specific Core (SSC), i.e., material taught at both the standard and higher levels. Students sitting the Higher Level examination study the Additional Higher Level (AHL) material. Lastly, there is a list of options for each subject from which two are chosen. Higher Level students are sometimes unable to choose certain options that are available to Standard Level students because the AHL already covers it. Ideally, students choose the options based on their own abilities and preferences, but in practice the options are usually chosen by the school (based on the school's scientific facilities as well as the discretion of the instructor). Students spend one-quarter of the 150 hours of SL instruction (240 hours for HL; however, both numbers are merely recommendations and are not enforced) doing practical work in the laboratory. Group 4 subjects at the Standard Level are tailored for students who do not see themselves in further science instruction after leaving the programme.[6]

Assessment of a Group 4 subject comprises the following:

  • Internal assessment of the practical work (24%)
  • Paper 1 – multiple choice questions on the SSC (20%)
  • Paper 2 – free response questions on the SSC (32% at SL, 36% at HL)
  • Paper 3 – free response questions on the options (24% at SL, 20% at HL)

At the Standard Level, the examinations are respectively 45 minutes, 1 hour and 15 minutes, and 1 hour long. At the Higher Level, they are 1 hour, 2 hours and 15 minutes, and 1 hour and 15 minutes long. Calculators are not permitted for Paper 1, but they (as well as a provided formula booklet and periodic table) are permitted for papers 2 and 3.

Physics (2009–2015)[edit]

Standard level[edit]

80 hours of instruction on 8 topics

with 30 hours of instruction on two optional subjects:

and 40 hours of practical work.[7]

Higher level[edit]

80 hours on Physics SL core subjects, with 55 hours on 6 additional topics:

and 45 hours of instruction on two optional subjects:

and 60 hours of practical work.[8]

Physics (2016–2022)[edit]

[9]

Topics[edit]

SL/HL core[edit]

HL extension[edit]

Options[edit]

Chemistry (2009–2015)[edit]

Standard level[edit]

80 hours of instruction on the topics:

and 30 hours on two options from the topics:

  • Modern analytical chemistry
  • Human Biochemistry
  • Chemistry in industry and technology
  • Medicines and drugs
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Food chemistry
  • Further Organic Chemistry

together with 40 hours of practical work.[10]

Higher level[edit]

80 hours on the core subjects of the Standard level course with 55 hours of instruction on these topics:

and 45 hours on two of the options in the standard course, and 60 hours of practical work.[11]

Chemistry (2016–2022)[edit]

[12]

Topics[edit]

SL/HL core and HL extension[edit]

Options[edit]

Biology (2009–2015)[edit]

Biology is the science of life and living organisms. Aside from instruction relevant to this, students are given the chance to learn complex laboratory techniques (e.g., DNA extraction) as well as develop mindful opinions about controversial topics in biology (e.g., stem-cell research and genetic modification). The syllabus lists thirteen topics, to be covered in an order varying from school to school:

Standard level[edit]

80 hours of instruction on 6 topics

with 30 hours of instruction on two options from:

Higher level[edit]

80 hours of instruction on 6 topics in the standard course and 55 hours on a further 5 topics:

with 45 hours of instruction on addition topics in the SL course plus:

Biology (2016–2022)[edit]

[15]

Topics[edit]

SL/HL core[edit]

HL extension[edit]

Options[edit]

Design technology (2009–2015)[edit]

Topics addressed in this course include:

  • Design process
  • Product innovation
  • Green design
  • Materials
  • Product development
  • Product design
  • Evaluation

with additional topics in the higher level:

  • Energy
  • Structures
  • Mechanical design
  • Advanced manufacturing techniques
  • Sustainable development.[16]

Design technology (2016–2022)[edit]

[17]

Topics[edit]

SL/HL core[edit]

  • Topic 1: Human factors and ergonomics (12 hours)
  • Topic 2: Resource management and sustainable production (22 hours)
  • Topic 3: Modelling (12 hours)
  • Topic 4: Raw material to final product (23 hours)
  • Topic 5: Innovation and design (13 hours)
  • Topic 6: Classic design (8 hours)

HL extension[edit]

  • Topic 7: User-centred design (UCD) (12 hours)
  • Topic 8: Sustainability (14 hours)
  • Topic 9: Innovation and markets (13 hours)
  • Topic 10: Commercial production (15 hours)

Sport, exercise and health science (2014–2020)[edit]

[18]

Topics[edit]

Core[edit]

All candidates study the 6 core topics (80 hours):

  • Topic 1: Anatomy (7 hours)
  • Topic 2: Exercise physiology (17 hours)
  • Topic 3: Energy systems (13 hours)
  • Topic 4: Movement analysis (15 hours)
  • Topic 5: Skill in sport (15 hours)
  • Topic 6: Measurement and evaluation of human performance (13 hours)

Options[edit]

In addition, they also study two of the following four options (30 hours):

  • Option A: Optimizing physiological performance (15 hours)
  • Option B: Psychology of sport (15 hours)
  • Option C: Physical activity and health (15 hours)
  • Option D: Nutrition for sport, exercise and health (15 hours)

Environmental systems and societies (2010–2016)[edit]

[19]

Topics[edit]

All topics are compulsory (i.e. there are no options).

  • Topic 1: Systems and models (5 hours)
  • Topic 2: The ecosystem (31 hours)
  • Topic 3: Human population, carrying capacity and resource use (39 hours)
  • Topic 4: Conservation and biodiversity (15 hours)
  • Topic 5: Pollution management (18 hours)
  • Topic 6: The issue of global warming (6 hours)
  • Topic 7: Environmental value systems (6 hours)

The remaining 30 hours are derived from the internal assessment (practical work), making a total of 150 teaching hours.

Assessment[edit]

There are two external assessment components and one internal assessment component.

External assessment[edit]

Calculators are required for both papers.

  • Paper 1 (45 raw marks contributing 30% of the course, 1 hour) consists of short-answer and data-based questions.
  • Paper 2 (65 raw marks contributing 50% of the course, 2 hours) consists of:
    • Section A: Candidates are required to analyse and make reasoned and balanced judgements relating to a range of data on a specific unseen case study.
    • Section B: Candidates are required to answer two structured essay questions from a choice of four.

Internal assessment[edit]

Candidates will need to complete 30 hours of practical work throughout the course. Each of the three criteria - planning (Pl), data collection and processing (DCP) and discussion, evaluation and conclusion (DEC) - are assessed twice, while the fourth criterion - personal skills (PS) - is assessed summatively throughout the course. The maximum raw mark is 42, which contributes 20% of the course.

Computer science (2014–2020)[edit]

[20] The computer science course was recently updated and moved from Group 5 (as an elective course) to Group 4, becoming a full course, from first examinations in 2014. The structure and assessment of the course has changed to greater emphasize problem solving rather than Java program construction.[21] The curriculum model for the course still differs from other Group 4 subjects however.

Topics[edit]

Standard Level candidates study the SL/HL core (80 hours) and the core of one option (30 hours), while Higher Level candidates study the SL/HL core (80 hours), HL extension (45 hours), an annually-issued case study (30 hours) and the whole of one option (30 + 15 hours). The remaining 40 hours for both Standard and Higher Level comes from the internal assessment component, for a total of 150 teaching hours at SL and 240 hours at HL.

SL/HL core[edit]

  • Topic 1: System fundamentals (20 hours)
  • Topic 2: Computer organization (6 hours)
  • Topic 3: Networks (9 hours)
  • Topic 4: Computational thinking, problem-solving and programming (45 hours)

HL extension[edit]

  • Topic 5: Abstract data structures (23 hours)
  • Topic 6: Resource management (8 hours)
  • Topic 7: Control (14 hours)

Options[edit]

  • Option A: Databases (30/45 hours)
  • Option B: Modelling and simulation (30/45 hours)
  • Option C: Web science (30/45 hours)
  • Option D: Object-oriented programming (30/45 hours)

Assessment[edit]

There are three external assessment components and two internal assessment components.

External assessment[edit]

Unlike other Group 4 subjects, calculators are not permitted in any computer science examination.

  • Paper 1 (SL: 70 raw marks contributing 45% of the course, 1 hour 30 minutes; HL: 100 raw marks contributing 40% of the course, 2 hours 10 minutes) consists of:
    • Section A (about 30 minutes): Compulsory short answer questions on the SL/HL core and (for HL) the HL extension. Some questions are common to HL and SL. The maximum raw mark for this section is 25.
    • Section B (60 minutes for SL, 100 minutes for HL): 3 (SL) or 5 (HL) compulsory structured questions on the SL/HL core and the HL extension. Some questions may be common to HL and SL. The maximum raw marks for this section is 45 (SL) or 75 (HL).
  • Paper 2 (SL: 45 raw marks contributing 25% of the course, 1 hour; HL: 65 raw marks contributing 20% of the course, 1 hour 20 minutes) consists of 2 to 5 (SL) or 3 to 7 (HL) compulsory questions based on the option studied. For HL, questions in section A (45 marks) consists of the core of the option, which may be common to the SL paper, and questions in section B (20 marks) are based on the extension of the option.
  • Paper 3 (HL only: 30 raw marks contributing 20% of the course, 1 hour) consists of 4 compulsory questions based on the pre-seen case study annually issued by the IBO.

Internal assessment[edit]

Both SL and HL candidates must complete the following:

  • A computational solution (30 hours, 34 raw marks). Candidates will need to develop a solution for a client to a problem or an unanswered question. This can be in the form of an entirely new system, or an addition of functionality to an existing system. Candidates will need to select, identify and work closely with an adviser, a third-party that can assist the candidate throughout the creation of the product. Candidates will need to complete an electronic HTML cover sheet (not assessed), the product and the documentation of the product (maximum 2000 words in total), including a 2 to 7-minute video showing the functionality of the product. The entire solution and documentation is marked against 5 criteria and is digitally compressed in a ZIP file and submitted for moderation.
  • The group 4 project (10 hours, 6 raw marks). Candidates will need to complete an interdisciplinary project with other science students. This is marked against the personal skills criterion.

Both components carry a weightage of 30% (SL) or 20% (HL) of the computer science course.

Group 4 project[edit]

All students of the Diploma Programme in any of these subjects, with the exception of environmental systems and societies, will compulsorily complete an inter-disciplinary and collaborative investigation called the Group 4 project. The Group 4 project assessment is included in the internal assessment marks. Students undertaking two or more group 4 courses will obtain the same mark for all of the courses.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Diploma Programme curriculum: Group 4, Experimental Sciences". ibo.com. Retrieved 3 Jul 2009. 
  2. ^ "Diploma Programme curriculum". ibo.com. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  3. ^ Sports, Exercise, & Health subject guide 2007, p. 4.
  4. ^ "Group 4 Curriculum Review - AEM Annual Conference" (PDF). International Baccalaureate Organization. The Hague. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Allott, Andrew. "The 2014 IB Science changes". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Diploma programme assessment, IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  7. ^ IB physics standard level subject brief (PDF), IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  8. ^ IB physics higher level subject brief (PDF), IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  9. ^ IB Diploma Programme Physics guide (first assessment 2016) (PDF). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd. February 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  10. ^ IB chemistry standard level subject brief (PDF), IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  11. ^ IB chemistry higher level subject brief (PDF), IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  12. ^ IB Diploma Programme Chemistry guide (first assessment 2016) (PDF). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd. February 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  13. ^ IB biology standard level subject brief (PDF), IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  14. ^ IB biology higher level subject brief (PDF), IB, retrieved June 5, 2011 
  15. ^ IB Diploma Programme Biology guide (first assessment 2016) (PDF). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd. February 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Syllabus, SL/HL core content, DesTech Wiki, retrieved June 6, 2011 
  17. ^ IB Diploma Programme Design technology guide (first assessment 2016) (PDF). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd. February 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  18. ^ IB Diploma Programme Sport, exercise and health science guide (first examinations 2014). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization. March 2012. 
  19. ^ IB Diploma Programme Environmental systems and societies guide (first examinations 2010). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization. January 2008. 
  20. ^ IB Diploma Programme Computer science guide (first examinations 2014). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization. January 2012. 
  21. ^ "Changes to the IB Diploma Programme computer science courses: A guide for universities" (PDF). International Baccalaureate Organization. December 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 

References[edit]

  • Diploma Programme, Sports, Exercise, and Health Science draft subject guide. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2007. 
  • Schools' Guide to the Diploma Programme (PDF). Geneva, Switzerland: International Baccalaureate Organization. 2002. Retrieved 3 Jul 2009. 

External links[edit]