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Environmental Systems & Society ESS
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Environmental Systems & Society ESS
IB ESS Internal Assessment Guidelines

Planning          Marks =    /6

To score a complete for each aspect you must have addressed each numbered point in your lab report.

Aspect 1 - Defining the problem and selecting the variables

  1. The research question is stated and includes both the dependent and independent variables.  Eg What is the effect of X on Y as shown by…..?
  2. A hypothesis is stated (which helps to clarify the research question with reference to both dependent and independent variables).
  3. Theory to back up the hypothesis is briefly outlined.
  4. Theory is fully referenced (footnote indicated in the text with a number and details giving the book and author or the website and the day accessed at the bottom of the page).
  5. The independent, dependent and all relevant controlled variables are clearly stated.
  6. SI units are used throughout (see list of accepted units).

Aspect 2 – Controlling Variables

  1. The apparatus, chemicals and solutions are listed and / or shown in a diagram if relevant.
  2. The method is detailed (this can be in prose or recipe format and candidates must make it clear that they would use X equipment to measure Y variable).
  3. Why AND how the variables will be controlled is explained (as a separate paragraph or in the method).
  4. SI units are used throughout (see list of accepted units).
  5. A risk assessment of apparatus and chemicals is completed.

Aspect 3 – Developing a method for collection of the data

  1. Method includes sufficient range and repeats
  2. The range AND intervals of the independent variable are stated (5 is the recommended minimum for continuous variables)
  3. The range and intervals of the independent variable are justified using scientific research (either notes/textbook or preliminary results if available).
  4. The number of repeats to be carried out is specified (5 minimum) AND it is explained why doing repeats is necessary.




Data Collection and Processing     Marks =    /6

To score a complete for each aspect you must have addressed each numbered point in your lab report.

Aspect 1 - Recording data

  1. Raw data (measurements) is tabulated (with horizontal and vertical lines)
  2. Tables have a title that refers to the column headings eg A table to show….
  3. Column headings are clear and precise
  4. Data within a column has a consistent number of decimal places
  5. Column headings include SI units (you must use a solidus or / not brackets)
  6. Column headings have uncertainties (the uncertainty is usually half of the smallest value on the equipment) Eg Starting Temperature / °C ± 0.5
  7. Associated qualitative data is also recorded e.g. observed effects in the experiment.

Aspect 2 - Processing Data

  1. Quote the relevant equation(s) (this can be excel formula)
  2. Clearly show worked example(s) using the equation(s)
  3. Present processed data in a separate table following above rules or in the raw data table if it allows for improved clarity.  (Uncertainties are not required for processed data.)

Aspect 3 - Presenting Processed Data

  1. Select the appropriate type of graph (do you have continuous or discontinuous data)
  2. Graph is clear and large (over half a page)
  3. Graph has horizontal and vertical grid lines
  4. X axis is used for the independent variable
  5. Axes have a suitable scale.
  6. SI units on axes (with uncertainties if relevant ie not for calculated values)
  7. Graph has a clear and precise title Eg Graph to show the effect of X on Y
  8. Error bars are drawn (use either the range of the raw data or the standard deviation)
  9. State what the error bar shows (range or standard deviation)

For Scatter graphs only:
  1. If appropriate a straight line is drawn or curve of best fit to reflect the trend- do not join the data point to point.



Discussion, Evaluation and Conclusion                  Marks =    /6

To score a complete for each aspect you must have addressed each numbered point in your lab report.

Aspect 1 – Discussing and reviewing

  1. The trend (as shown by the line or curve of best fit) is briefly described (refer to the x-axis)
  2. The range of the independent variable is commented on. (Have you sufficient data to test your question?)
  3. The reliability of the data is evaluated in the following ways:
    1. Anomalies in the raw data have been identified
    2. The significance of the error bars has been discussed

If appropriate:
    1. The closeness of the data points to the line of best fit has been discussed.

  1. The discussion is explained using relevant scientific knowledge
  2. The discussion is compared with both published data (text book counts) where possible and the hypothesis
  3. Any sources used are fully referenced (footnote indicated in the text with a number and details giving the book and author or the website and the day accessed at the bottom of the page).

Aspect 2 - Evaluating procedure(s) and suggesting improvements

In prose or as a table:
  1. Three or four weaknesses in the procedure have been identified and discussed. These must not be irrelevant i.e. “I could have measured more accurately” will not score a point.
  2. The significance of each weakness has been evaluated in relation to the reliability of the data collected.
  3. Suggest detailed, realistic improvements for each of the above weaknesses and limitations.


Aspect 3 - Concluding

  1. A conclusion(s) is / are stated based on the graph, data and discussion.
  2. The conclusion is explained using relevant scientific knowledge.

IB ESS Extended Essay:

An extended essay in environmental systems and societies may be investigated either through primary data collection (from fieldwork, laboratory experimentation, surveys or interviews) or, alternatively, through secondary data collection (from literature or other media). It may even involve a combination of the two, although, given the limited time available and word limit for the essay, the emphasis should be clearly with one or the other to avoid the danger of both becoming rather superficial.



 
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