Here you can find documents that will be useful throughout the entire year. Some of them are provided to you in hard copy form, but in the event you misplace one (or more), you're welcome to view, download, or print out duplicates (on your own printer) as I will not provide more than one hard copy.


Biology Syllabus                                                            ISD Safety Agreement

Lab Grading Rubric                                                       Walking Field Trip Permission Form


Grading Information

For many students, the primary motivation to complete work and perform well on tests is to earn "good" grades. However, from an educator's perspective, the function of school is to learn new information, and develop skills like critical thinking and problem solving. To that end, a student's grade should reflect what s/he knows and can do. With the availability of quick and easy access to resources like the internet, or help from classmates, older siblings, and parents, some work that a student submits is not a good indication of what they know and can do. Below you can find a table outlining what types of work are "included" in a student's grade and what isn't along with the philosophy and rationale behind them.

Student Work                      Included in Grade?                   Percent of Grade                                 

Assessments (Tests)                             YES                                                75%                     


Rationale: Unit tests, and the final exam, are summative assessments of a students knowledge on the topics and concepts included in that unit. On them, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their level of understanding of the ideas, processes, and scientific methods they've been learning about. The test scores they earn reflect only what they know, without the help of others.

Quizzes                                                  NO                                                 n/a

Rationale: Quizzes are short, formative evaluations of a student's level of understanding. They are used to inform the student on what ideas and concepts they are strong in, and which ones may need reinforcement. They are just "checkpoints for understanding."

Homework                                              NO                                                 n/a

Rationale: Homework is intended to be used as practice to reinforce concepts learned in class. Since students would be able to complete homework with outside help (internet, friends, parents, etc.), it cannot accurately illustrate what a student knows.

Lab Activities                                         YES                                                25%

Rationale: Hands-on lab activities are at the core of how science is conducted. Students carry out investigations and learn about how variables can affect one another. The work they submit for an activity identifies their level of understanding of the concept(s) and shows their proficiency in "doing" science. Although students work together during the activity in class, each student has to write their own submission in their own words.

Classwork                                               NO                                                  n/a

Rationale: Classwork is essentially the in-class version of homework. It allows students to practice concepts alone or with their peers, and to get help from me. For that reason, as with homework, it cannot effectively be used to assess a student's level of understanding or ability.

Projects                                             Sometimes                             Included in Lab Activities

Rationale: Projects, when tied to an activity or keystone element of the curriculum, can be useful in gauging a student's understanding of that element. When working in groups or pairs, all members earn the same score for the project.

Science Notebook                                  NO                                                   n/a


Rationale: A student's science notebook is the ultimate repository for all things in their science class. Recorded in it are all lab activity observations, data, and analyses. Also, students keep track of most homework and classwork assignments, along with all lecture notes. If complete and thorough, it is the best possible study guide a student could want.


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