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NCEA Level 1 AS90926

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Biology clarification

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90926: Report on a biological issue

Updated June 2014. This document has been updated in its entirety to address new issues that have arisen as a result of the external moderation process.

A biology topic is an issue where people hold different opinions or viewpoints about it (e.g. the Swine Flu epidemic, using 1080 to control possums, animal cloning, genetic modification of plants). Students can be given the issue. If they select it themselves then it must be approved by the teacher.

A general agreed question/purpose about the issue is refined by the student to guide their research, e.g. with the general question of whether to use 1080 to control possums, a single, refined question could be, ‘Should the aerial drop of 1080 be used to control possums in New Zealand native forests?’

Processing data/information

This involves the student selecting biological ideas relevant to the issue, from a range of at least three sources, and organising these ideas for reporting.

  • The sources can be of the same type e.g. all from the Internet. ‘Recording sources’ involves writing a list of sources in a way that they can be identified and accessed by others.
  • The processing of information could involve listing, sorting, collating, highlighting, or summarising relevant scientific information. The report is completed individually.

Presenting findings

  • Processed material is submitted with the report, for the teacher to verify the sources used and as evidence of the student’s processing.
  • The holistic judgement is made on the evidence presented in the final written report. While this can also be a slideshow or oral presentation, any supporting information is required as evidence, and must be submitted for moderation.

Evidence to support different points of viewmay be both for, both against, or one for and one against. Biological ideas are required to support why a named person, group or organisation holds their points of view.

‘Taking a position’ on the issue means stating a personal opinion for or against an aspect (or aspects) of the issue, rather than simply describing how the research was carried out. Justifying a position at Merit and Excellence means saying why a personal opinion is held with specific reference to the researched information used.  A recommendation for action involves the student clearly stating what should be done about the issue, as well as giving reasons why.

‘Evaluating sources’includes identifying those that provide biological ideas relevant to the question, discussing whether a source is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased, complete, or providing reasons why a particular source was/was not used.

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