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This criterion assesses the extent to which you identify and evaluate at least one way to apply the outcomes of the investigation in relation to the broader environmental issue that was identified at the start of the project.

Applications (3)

You are expected to reflect on the results of your study in the light of the broader environmental issue and suggest how your findings could be applied to address the environmental issue or to propose a potential solution to one aspect of the issue. This criterion is therefore concerned with the synthesis of new ideas based on research findings. The suggestion might be based in the local context of the study itself, or might have relevance in a wider field, depending on the nature of the initial research question and the quality of the data obtained.

  • Make sure you refer to your environmental issue 

  • Make the solution realistic.

  • No outrageously expensive solutions 

  • No overly simplistic solutions

  • Relate your solution to the data you collected from the experiment. 

  • Justify your solution as to why it would be an answer to the conclusion of your experiment. 

  • Evaluate your solution.

  • What are its strengths? 

  • What are its weaknesses?

  • Why is this actually a realistic solution to the problem? 

  • Would it actually be successful? How do you know?

  • Come to a conclusion about your solution being useful for solving the environmental issue.

In order to score highly, you must JUSTIFY AND EVALUATE your suggestion rather than just stating a proposal.. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of this solution in addressing the environmental issue

  • Explain your application/ solution and its relationship to the environmental issue AND your research

  • Justify why this application/ solution is relevant to your experiment

  • Evaluate the Strengths, Weakness, & Limitations of the application/solution

  • Discuss the strengths of your application/ solution

  • Discuss the weaknesses of your application/ solution

  • Discuss the limitations of your application/ solution

  • Reach a conclusion on how useful or relevant your solution is


Application Rubric


Make sure you identify and evaluate one way to apply the outcomes of the investigation in relation to the broader environmental issue. You need to justify one potential application and/or solution to the environmental issue based on the findings of the study and evaluate the relevant strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of this application/solution.


This criterion assesses whether the report has been presented in a way that supports effective communication in terms of structure, coherence, and clarity. The focus, process, and outcomes of your report are all well presented..

Communication (3)


·       A consistent linguistic style is maintained throughout the writing.

·       No spelling or grammar errors are present.

·       Written in the past tense with a good paragraph structure.

·       Legible font style and size are used.

·       Use of color in images or graphs is appropriate.

·       Citations given for all material taken from sources.

·       All unneeded or unnecessary information in an appendix

·       All sections properly headed clearly and in the same format - 1.5 spacing

·       Clear fonts, no funny colors, etc

·       Include in-text citations where necessary (typically background, hypothesis, and conclusion) Single accepted format

·       Include works cited page? (Is it in alphabetical order?) Is it all in a single acceptable format (MLA, APA, or Chicago


·       There are clear headings for each section, with consistent formatting.

·       Graphs, tables, images sequentially titled (i.e. “Figure 1…”).

·       Graphs, tables, and images included as close as possible to its first reference.

·       Tables and graphs do not break across pages.

·       Parenthetical in-text references/citations are given an inconsistent format.

·       A Works Cited List with consistent formatting is given at the end of the report.

·       Sources are written in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

·       Between 1,500 & 2,250 words


·       All data, graphs, and images are relevant to the RQ.

·       All citations are relevant to RQ.

·       All analyses and discussions are relevant to RQ.

​Terminology & Conventions:​

·       Tables are well organized, with specific and clear titles, headings, and units.

·       Table column headers are present and correct (IV in the first column).

·       Graphs are well organized, with specific and clear titles, labeled axis (with the unit), and appropriately scaled axis.

·       Images annotated with captions to add information of value to the investigation.

·       Avoid excessive use of jargon.

·       Non-standard technical terms are explained and used in the correct context.

·       You reflect what your lab is actually about

·       Academic Integrity. Is it below 20%? 


Communications Rubric


Make sure that your report is well structured and well organized. The report should make consistent use of appropriate terminology and be concise, follow a logical order, and be clearly written.

                                            PERSONAL SKILLS IN YOUR INTERNAL ASSESSMENT

The personal skills criterion is assessed throughout most of the two-year course, with a single summative mark awarded at the end. The mark given should not be the average achieved over the whole practical scheme of work but should reflect any sustained improvement in performance. It is important, therefore, that the scheme of work chosen by the teacher sets the students a variety of tasks, allowing them to carry out a range of different techniques and work in different group settings. The examples below are suggestions to aid the assessment of personal skills and are not considered to be a prescribed list.

Note: No supporting evidence is required for the moderation of personal skills.

Aspect 1: Carrying out techniques

Sampling techniques
How well do students choose randomly and how well do they use the quadrat?

Effect of concentration of hydrogen carbonate on the rate of photosynthesis
This is done using a syringe with a capillary tube attached to the base. Water and a piece of Elodea are added to the syringe. A plunger is placed on top. There should be no air inside. A meniscus is made by pulling up on the plunger until it reaches the top of the capillary tube. The distance the meniscus has traveled in a time of three minutes is measured. This is repeated with different concentrations of hydrogen carbonate (0.001 mol dm–3 up to 0.01 mol dm–3).

Winkler titration for dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

Secondary productivity
Accurate measurements and respirometer are required.

Effect of light intensity on the rate of photosynthesis
Accurate movement of the light source is required, and the whole apparatus is set up underwater.

Aspect 2: Working in a team
Any sampling techniques, such as transects and quadrats
The sampling can be undertaken in pairs. The whole group can then discuss how to tabulate the class data. Each pair collects data in one hour but, generally, grouping the data gives more validity to the answers. There can be group discussion at the beginning on how to collect data and how to determine abundance. Each pair's work can be compared to the rest of the group.

Long-term investigation on population growth of flour beetles
Each student is assigned one or two containers of flour and beetles. The group must agree on how to count the adults, larvae, and pupae each month. Students should ensure that they share the results so that each has a complete
record of the findings.

Collection and identification of organisms from the school pond
Each group looks at one area of the pond, using identification keys to find out the type of organisms present. The whole group then researches in the library to find out what the organisms eat. Finally, a food web is drawn by the whole group.

Predator/prey simulation
Students work in pairs on a complex "game" requiring collaborative behavior.

Pollution in the atmosphere
The whole class discusses where to place sticky traps around the school. The students work in pairs to make and hang up the traps, which are left for one week before the results are collected. Another class discussion is required to
determine the categories of pollutants recovered.

Natural selection
Some 1 cm pieces of colored straw (60 of each color) are scattered in a small area of grass. Together, students collect as many as they can in 30 seconds. They then calculate the percentage they found of each color. Brown is
the hardest to find so would reproduce more.

Global warming in a jar
Each student is responsible for one jar, and the results are pooled at the end of the experiment. Open and closed containers with a thermometer are used. To extend the experiment, water and soil can be added. Students must agree on the position of the thermometer and on how much water and soil to add.

The tragedy of the commons
A simulation of fishing in a common pond using jelly beans, small cheese crackers or some other edible item. Each group of students represents a family that has to eat a certain amount of fish to survive from year to year.

Aspect 3: Working safely and ethically
Working in an ethical manner

Teachers and students should be familiar with the Ethical practice in the Diploma Programme poster.
Students can lose patience and be tempted to invent values to support their hypotheses. The authenticity of data can, therefore, be evaluated in this aspect. Students need to be familiar with and follow the IB guidance on academic honesty in the Diploma Programme. Care and respect for the delicate apparatus and living materials can also be observed. Investigations that cause distress, harm or lead to the death of an animal are unethical and should therefore not be carried out, even as a theoretical exercise. Students should consider that animals can be stressed or die even in investigations that are not designed to cause harm.

Paying attention to environmental impact
Experiments, whether undertaken inside or outside the laboratory, allow students to show whether they have a responsible approach to working with living material and an awareness of the potential impact of being careless with

Safety issues
Students should follow teacher instructions on issues of safety within and outside the laboratory, for example, inappropriate behavior in class, in the field or on a trip; not listening to instructions; failure to use appropriate
safety equipment; any breach of school safety regulations.

Adapted from © International Baccalaureate Organization

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