There have been many changes introduced to the IB Science Department that will be affecting the 11th grade next year and the years to come. These changes will be affecting the way students are graded and the way they are supposed to think about the field of science. According to Ms. Mihalache, the changes include internal assessments that require a great depth of knowledge inscientific investigation. The internal assessment is 20% of a student’s final grade. A 10 hour long scientific investigation on an area of a student’s personal interest within the scope of their subject of study is required. The other laboratory investigations are a mix of mandated labs and teacher selected labs.
Another new methodology that is going to be assessed is the nature of science. The curriculum is also being reduced to one of four options that IB gives students. Dr. Helfenbein adds that the biggest change is the concept of a student creating their own experiment and conducting it themselves. He states “The changes are going to require a lot of time, thought and determination. They are major changes and it’s the first time IB asked for this to happen. It is going to require thinking and reading over the summer. When students start to work on it, it is going to require meeting with teachers on several occasions.”
Although there are going to be a lot of changes and new concepts introduced, there should not be any excessive worry from students because teachers have been trained to adjust to these changes. Ms. Mihalache claims that the best advice she gan give is the following: “Participate actively in laboratory activities and accumulate the content and skills needed in order to be successful in the DP program.” She continues, “Finding a topic that they [students] are interested and passionate about would also make the process much easier. And for that, one does not have to wait to be a DP student!”
Even though these changes from IB require a lot of work and effort over the summer and during the year, it should not pose a great amount of stress and difficulty on students. Dr. Helfenbein says in the end it will be worth it because “students will get a great deal out of it and as long as everyone does their part it will benefit them.”