1. Carry out a practical investigation involves
- developing a statement of the purpose written as a hypothesis linked to a scientific concept or
- using a method that describes:
for a fair test: a range for the independent variable, the measurement of the dependent
variable and the control of some other key variables
for a pattern seeking or modelling activity: the data that will be collected, range of
data/samples, and consideration of some other key factors
- collecting, recording, and processing data relevant to the purpose of the investigation
interpreting and reporting on the findings
- reaching a conclusion based on the student’s processed data which is relevant to the purpose
of the investigation
- identifying and including relevant findings from another source.
2. Carry out an in-depth practical investigation involves:
- using a method that describes:
- for a fair test: a valid range for the independent variable, the valid measurement of the
dependent variable and the control of other key variables with consideration of factors such
as sampling bias and sources of errors
- for a pattern seeking or modelling activity: a valid collection of data with consideration of
factors such as sampling bias and sources of errors
- collecting, recording, and processing data which enables a trend or pattern (or the absence of
a trend or pattern) to be determined
- reaching a valid conclusion based on the student’s processed data which is relevant to the
purpose of the investigation
- a discussion of the biological ideas relating to the investigation that is based on the student’s
findings and those from other source(s).
3. Carry out a comprehensive practical investigation involves
- justification of the choices made during
the sound investigation, ie evaluating the validity of the method or reliability of the data and
explaining the conclusion in terms of the biology ideas relevant to the investigation.
4. A practical investigation is an activity covering the complete investigation process: planning and
carrying out the investigation, collecting primary data, processing and interpreting data, and
reporting on the investigation. Students may make changes to their initial method as they work
through the investigation.
5. Assessment against this standard may be based on a stand-alone or an individual investigation
that can contribute findings to a larger group or class investigation. In a group or class
investigation, individual findings may be discussed and individual students may interpret their own
findings in the light of other students’ investigations and findings. Findings from outside the group
or class such as published information or historical findings relevant to the investigation may also
6. The nature of the investigation could be the manipulation of variables (fair test), the investigation of
a pattern or relationship or the use of models.
7. It is intended that this investigation be carried out with supervision. This means that the teacher
provides guidelines for the investigation such as the context for the investigation, instructions that
specify the requirements for a comprehensive investigation, and broad experimental conditions
such as the availability of equipment or chemicals. Students then develop and complete the
investigation from the initial guidelines given by the teacher. Supervision may involve discussion
between teachers and individual students in order to clarify the students’ ideas and may also
involve teachers managing the process of sharing findings.