I am now well into moderating my IA samples of labs and would like to share some of my experiences. In total I have 108 students to work through which I guess approximates to a minimum of 216 labs.

As I mark I am constantly referring to the  guidelines from the published Biology guide found on the OCC website. I have also been reminded that I am moderating and not marking and I should try and go with the teacher where ever possible. However, many of the samples I am marking have no comments from teachers, which can make it rather difficult on occasion to go with the teachers grade. I need to read the argument put forth why a grade should be given, especially if its a borderline one. When I have it I am far more inclined to go with the teacher than if they do not. One school did not circle which labs I should mark for which criteria. E.g. I received three full labs and for a criteria for which there were three 5’s I had to chose myself.

I have also been concerned the lack of complexity in some experiments I have moderated too date. Its not really appropriate to set a potato / osmosis lab for design as you can find those labs scattered all over the internet. Nor is it really appropriate to set Design only labs for submission. Acceptable to help develop skills yes, but is far more desireable to have students complete the lab.

Its also important to remember there is now an Animal Experimentation Policy. It is no longer acceptable to treat animals to an environment which will do it harm, even if the lab is only a   Design lab and has not / will not be carried out.

And finally, students should be setting out data so that all stages to the final result can be followed. That includes the t-test. I need to know whether the student has processed it as a one tail test or a two tailed test and whether its paired or equal variance. Without that how can one repeat it?

I have been ammending scores, some more dramatically than others. Scoring a six does not mean it has to be perfect but it does have to be good. The overall quality of labs I have moderated to date is high and this process has already given me several ideas for my own classroom practices.

Thanks for reading, good luck if the Easter bunny is popping by, back to the grindstone. Only two more school packages left in the house, presume more will be waiting for me when I get back to school after the Easter vacation.