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The "Science Portfolios".... Are they mandatory?

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My friends and I had a strange discussion about the so-called "science portfolios" in our schools and had few questions about them. The main one would be though:

"Do the 'science portfolios' exist as such that the IBO tells each school to do them?"

The reason for us thinking about it was that the 'science portfolios' we have to do in our school does not seem to appear anywhere on web (or at least we can't find information about it easily). Nevertheless, some science teachers in our school base our predicted grades heavily on these and tell us that the 'science portfolios' are part of the Internal Assessment section in the IB.

Is it really true? :)

The 'science portfolio' I am talking about is something where we tend to spend at least 15 hours to finish one and it often happens to be that the teachers are giving us a topic from the syllabus (e.g. cells from biology, nanotechnology from chemistry etc.) and they tell us to research about these themes. We then have to put the information together, write about them, explain the principles through our own words, diagrams, pictures, etc. and should have referenced to authentic sources etc. etc.

I have to admit, making the portfolios helps us to study the topics and after we are done with them, we have covered the topic intensively on our own, so it does have some advantages. But it is hard for us to spend freaking 15-20 hours for every single portfolio (and believe me, we have to do many of them) when we already have so many other things to do in IB.

On top of it, we can't find any assessment criteria for the "portfolios" either. The IA criteria for science subjects are obviously thought for the lab reports and wouldn't fit at all for grading the "portfolios" we get to do. Our school's IB is also pretty new (we are the fourth generation) so we are slightly worried whether the teachers have got it right themselves :)

Do any of your schools have these at all? Or is it just us stressing us about something that is indeed actually part of the IB?

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For our portfolio we have evidence lab reports and marked lab reports. The evidence one's just prove that we have spent an hour doing the experiments, this is because the IB requires you to have done 60 hours of this minimum I think. For the evidence one's we just write up a small lab report without making an effort since it doesn't count. Maybe you're portfolio session just allows you to eliminate the required 60 hours in big chunks? You do write lab reports too and do experiments right?

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For our portfolio we have evidence lab reports and marked lab reports. The evidence one's just prove that we have spent an hour doing the experiments, this is because the IB requires you to have done 60 hours of this minimum I think. For the evidence one's we just write up a small lab report without making an effort since it doesn't count. Maybe you're portfolio session just allows you to eliminate the required 60 hours in big chunks? You do write lab reports too and do experiments right?

The 60 hours of work applies for the amount of practical work needed in a HL IB course, as far as I know. It is 40 for the SL people. Anyhow, we have to write extra lab reports too, and I doubt that the portfolio counts as eliminating the 60 hours time because it simply is not pracital work. And if it should count towards it.... Lovely... I spent about 100 hours doing the portfolios....

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The closest thing that I can relate to is in the lab report, we have to make our intro pretty long. We have to research the topics that the lab is about and past experiments and so on, but they are centered around a lab experiment. Hmm I've never heard of your type of portfolio otherwise. I do advise you to approach your teacher calmly and ask to see assessment criteria if possible, if you do plan to accost the teacher. They tend to do really weird things, but often, there's an ingenious method to their madness =)

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The closest thing that I can relate to is in the lab report, we have to make our intro pretty long. We have to research the topics that the lab is about and past experiments and so on, but they are centered around a lab experiment. Hmm I've never heard of your type of portfolio otherwise. I do advise you to approach your teacher calmly and ask to see assessment criteria if possible, if you do plan to accost the teacher. They tend to do really weird things, but often, there's an ingenious method to their madness =)

Dammit... We were suspecting that and were worried about it. We also have to make our lab reports pretty long including background information in the introduction part. And on top of that comes a separate portfolio. Thank you for replying.

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Sounds to me like an evil and unnecessary way of helping you learn the syllabus! On the plus side you're learning, on the downside... sounds like lots and lots and lots of effort! :)

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...

to the extent of my knowledge, i have never heard anything like that

it sounds like a research project rather than an actual lab report

as mentioned in the posts above, there is a required number of hours that ib students must spend doing practical work.

in addition to that, you have to submit a portfolio that basically consists of some pracs covering: design, data collection and processing, conclusion and evaluation (i strongly suggest you pull out your group 4 syllabus to find out more details as well as the marking rubic)

you can either submit full pracs or cover each section separately, the IB lets you do both (or at least our coordinator did)

oh and introductions aren't actually marked in the criteria, but since our teachers insisted on having them, we just had to wrote them according to the teachers tastes :P (eg. bio = 1pg min; chem = 3 lines sufficed)

p.s - your portfolio contributes to 24% of your final mark

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