…and so the TSM (Teacher Support Material) for the new Biology syllabus is now posted on the OCC website:


The purpose of the teacher support material (https://ibpublishing.ibo.org 08/08/2014)

Welcome to the Biology teacher support material (TSM). The biology subject guide for first assessment in 2016 represents a significant shift, in a number of aspects, from the previous biology course and this TSM is specifically designed to assist both new and experienced teachers to build or revise their course design so that it reflects the new guide.

The TSM is designed to:

  • support experienced and inexperienced teachers alike in structuring and delivering a course
  • support teachers with the organization of practical work
  • complement IB professional development.

Read more at the website.

If you have attended a recent workshop you will be glad to see additional examples of IA work. Though from my perspective I remain a little unsure of the rigour with respect to a literature review and the establishment of a basis upon which an experiment should be carried out. Of the papers I have looked at, I have seen little by way of references etc. One moderator commented on “relevant background information is provided”, yet there was not a single reference.

From what I have read and learnt from others: I have gleamed the following.

  • Though the NoS is repeatedly stated as being assessed throughout the Biology Syllabus document, I have it on good authority that it will NOT be the NoS statement directly below the “Essential idea” that will be assessed. Only the Nos statements as they apply to the “Applications and skills” will be assessed.
  • Group work is a no-go area. Students should not be pooling data for the IA, even though the Biology guide seems to indicate that if they say which is theirs, its permissible.
  • Students CAN have the same independent variable but a different dependent variable. e.g.  students could pair up to measure the height of students, though one then may look at heart rate and the other weight etc etc etc.

I would encourage you to post these issues on the OCC forum and ask for confirmation. The OCC is where I will be going for the next few months as I read the discussions that help build a community consensus.