Biology - Terminologically challenged

30th April 2010 at 01:00

The small number of Higher candidates encountering "real difficulties" suggested that they were entered for the right level of exam. The pass rate improved and, generally, students were able to make "appropriate responses" to exam questions.

In the short-answer questions to Section B, candidates "generally performed well", but assessors did notice that a lot of pupils were confused over biological terms such as "tyrosine", "thymine" and "thyroxine", and very few could explain photoperiodism or the impact of grazing on plants.

Assessors were also keen that candidates allocate enough time to decide which question to answer in the extended response question, as choice "continues to be important".

In Standard grade, results were again good and provided "a fair assessment of candidates' abilities", but markers were concerned over the number of pupils losing easy marks through poor use of English, lack of basic knowledge, and failure to read the questions thoroughly.

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