21.5: Summative Questions - Biology

  1. Describe three adaptations that SVPs have that allow them to compete with bryophytes.
  2. Commonly called spike mosses and club mosses, lycophytes aren’t truly mosses at all. How could you distinguish between a moss and a lycophyte?
  3. Each time a rhizome produces a new shoot, it also produces roots. What type of roots emerge from stem tissue, such as a rhizome?
  4. Compare and contrast the role of the gametophyte in bryophytes and SVPs.
  5. What are the advantages to having a branching sporophyte?

Alternatives to the Frog Dissection

Objective: Students who cannot perform the actual frog dissection can use this alternative to learn the parts of the frog and receive credit for the dissection. Keep in mind, there is no substitute for actually viewing the real structures on the frog and having the real experience of dissection. Many students will remember the frog dissection long after they have left school. However, it is understood that some students opt out for moral reasons, or some cannot complete the dissection due to health reasons. This project has three parts, to be completed by the student on their own time, using a computer and an internet connection.

Artifacts You Must Turn in for Full Credit

Summative assessment in science

I have struggled for ages knowing how summative assessment should work in science. Moving from levels to grades between KS3 and KS4 always seems unsatisfactory, requiring students to move from one assessment system to another this change in grade makes it difficult to track progress.

Unlike many skills-based subjects, the longer you study science the harder it becomes, as students have to remember an ever increasing amount of stuff.

A single assessment system seems the answer. But making this meaningful for Year 7 through to Year 11 is problematic. Should grades be based on percentages or should they be descriptors of attainment targets? Can a grade 4 be awarded to a single piece of work? If so, how does this compare to a grade 4 gained on a full examination paper at the end of Year 11? These two grades are clearly not the same.

Perhaps we should use descriptors of performance, where a grade describes the ability of a student to perform a specific cognitive process, such as describe or explain? This is difficult to achieve with a single assessment pathway for Years 7 to 11 because skills, processes and knowledge need to be mapped and described into a vast number of perhaps meaningless and vague divisions. It is also easier to describe cell structure than cell structure AND atomic structure – yet descriptors of cognition fail to account for this. Similarly, most children would find it easier to explain why polar bears have white fur than to state the number of atoms in a 250ml bottle of water and yet stating is associated with low level thinking.

What you measure reveals what you value

The assessment system you use ultimately depends on what you want it to achieve. For example, you may want to know what your students would get if they sat a GCSE paper today. This would allow you to see how far students are from the end goal. However, this will only work if you have a clear idea of where students are expected to be at different points of their school career. Giving full GCSE papers to students in Year 7 to 9 is not advisable as it will sap motivation and result in all students getting similar grades. But using full assessments before everything has been taught – i.e. at the end of Year 10 – has some merit as it will provide you with a confident grade.

Alternatively, you may want to know how your students compare to other students in the class/year, for example if you want to set them. Here, a simple percentage from an assessment combined with teacher input would suffice. Or, you may want to know what specific skills and content your students have developed in specific topics.

These differing questions probably cannot be answered by one single assessment style and it may be that schools need to use different assessment methods throughout the year. Below I have summarised three distinct ways to assess students in science in a way that can produce a grade.

Option 1: How far are you from the end goal? Assigning grades and levels in science based on curriculum taught

Students sit an exam with questions carefully selected from GCSE papers. This can be done from Year 7 onward. Exam questions are modified to ensure there is not an emphasis on recall only. Grades 9- 1 are awarded according to how much of the course has been taught. Download an illustration of the assessment system and adapt this for your exam board and specification. A disadvantage of this approach is that it caps student attainment and so can artificially restrict high-flyers. It also doesn’t give you much information about the cognition of your students. A potential advantage of this approach is that it’s quite a motivating system to be part of students see their grades increase over time.

Example: A student scores 100% on an exam when they have covered only 20% of the content and skills. The grade awarded would be a G3 as in a full Year 11 exam paper. A G grade boundary is 20% of the total marks.

Option 2: Can you state, describe, explain? Assigning grades based on descriptors of performance

Students are awarded a grade based on the cognitive demand of the questions they correctly answer. Exam questions are graded before the exam is sat (adapted later if necessary) using this document of performance descriptors in science. I found it easier, and perhaps more reliable, to assign questions as A, C or F distinguishing between an A and a B grade question is difficult and time consuming (exam boards provide grade descriptions in the specification for A, C and F grades). With the new GCSE grading system you can grade 8,5 and 2.

With a little help from Excel, total scores can be converted into a grade, as illustrated below. This approach does have a drawback: as students study more, their overall grade can fall for reasons discussed above. Students may also perform differently in different areas but this best-fit approach allows a grade to be assigned that gives some information about what a student can and cannot do. I have tested this approach using a full exam paper and the method broadly recovers the boundaries set by the exam board.

Example: A student got all the F-grade questions correct and half the C-grade questions correct in their assessment. This student would be given a grade C3. Had they got all of the C-grade questions right, they would have got a C1. You can use Excel to fill in the other boundaries using combinations of F, C and A marks.

Option 3: An age-related scale. I think Daisy’s cracked it!

What does an A actually mean? Up until I met Daisy Christodoulou I believed an A meant something about the types of question a student could answer i.e. it could be defined by grade descriptors. But I was wrong. An A grade simply means that a child is achieving in the top 10% of students of their age nationally (percentiles differ for each subject – see JCQ for GCSE and A Level percentiles). A C grade student is doing better than 60% of their peers but not better that the top 30%, otherwise they would get a B. It’s so simple it’s beautiful and works for years 7-11. A summative grade is simply a way of expressing where a student sits on an age-related national distribution. Of course this will, to some extent, serve as a corollary to the types of question students can answer. A summative grade then is really a statistical phenomenon, with a bit of tweaking around the edges by the awarding bodies.

So how does this help us to grade a student in Year 7 without assessing every 11 year old in England? Let me try to explain how this could work in your school.

Some students will need to sit a nationally benchmarked assessment such as a GL progress test. All Yr 7 students sit your school assessment. A simple graph can be drawn plotting the GL assessment result versus the school assessment result. By extrapolation, you can then work out where every mark and therefore student sits on the national, age-related distribution gained from the GL. And remember, if a student in Yr7 moves from a B to an A over five years they have made a whole grade better progress than the average student nationally. It’s a massive amount of progress so this is not a model for low expectations. This is a model for meaningful tracking.

A final thought

Summative assessment will always play some role in influencing teachers’ and students’ motivation and attitudes. The priority for examination boards is to implement an assessment system that is both reliable and valid. Whilst schools also need valid and reliable assessments, they also want to create an assessment system that motivates teachers and students. So, if in creating an assessment system you prioritise reliability and validity over one that motivates students, there is the risk that you will prioritise the measurement over the aspects you wish to develop in the long term this will negatively impact student progress.

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Summative Assessment in Distance Learning

Whether schools are using regular grades or not, teachers need to accurately assess learning while their students are at home. These are some helpful ideas to consider.

All of us are challenged with trying to implement effective teaching in this distance learning environment, and assessment is certainly part of that. Many schools are wrestling with grading practices, with some choosing pass/fail structures and others are sticking with traditional grading practices. And of course, there are others who are somewhere in between. But all of us will need summative assessments of student learning, whether we report them as a grade or pass/fail.

It’s important that we not rely solely on tried-and-true summative assessment practices and strategies during this time—we should reflect on those practices and strategies and approach assessment differently. Some of our practices may shift. Here are some points to consider as you reflect on the shifts needed to arrive at effective summative assessments of your students’ learning.

Implementing Summative Assessment in Distance Learning

Stop assessing everything: By everything, I mean every single content standard. In order to make a “guaranteed and viable curriculum,” we need to make strategic decisions about what is “need to know” and what is “nice to know.”

This is an idea we should apply in both in-person and distance learning. However, with distance learning, this is a further call to distill our curriculum to essential learning and target specific standards and outcomes. All of us in the distance learning world know it will take much longer to move through our curriculum, so there is not enough time to cover what we intended when we had being in the classroom in mind.

Take this time to work with teams to further clarify which standards are priorities to ensure that you’re assessing the essentials. Consider using the R.E.A.L. criteria—Readiness, Endurance, Assessed, and Leverage—to help you make those decisions. These criteria were developed by Larry Ainsworth, an expert in curriculum design and power standards.

Assigning performance tasks and performance items: This isn’t a new practice for assessment, but in these times of distance learning, it’s important that the assessments we design for students demand that they apply their knowledge to new and novel situations. Performance tasks do that, and they create engaging multistep opportunities for students to show what they know. Performance items are similar, appearing in many traditional exams. Both require students to perform by applying their thinking performance items are more limited in scope and often assess a single standard or skill.

When teachers express concerns around cheating or academic honesty, I recommend that they change their assessments to be more performance-based. Teachers can also consider long-term PBL projects that also leverage performance tasks.

Moving from one big event to a series of smaller events: Performance tasks are a research-based practice to assess student learning. However, the tasks we give students may be too much for them during this time of uncertainty and anxiety. If students are required to complete multiple performance tasks, across multiple disciplines or classes, that can create stress that is detrimental to student wellness.

Depending on what is being assessed, teachers may be able to take these tasks and split them into shorter tasks or performance items to be completed over a longer term rather than in one sitting. As a performance task often assesses multiple standards, it can be broken apart into discrete mini-tasks that each assess an individual standard or learning target.

Using conversations and oral defense: Anthony Poullard, an associate principal at Korea International School, said that “students must always be prepared to explain their thinking or learning with their teacher, and they know that a teacher may ask for an explanation of assessment answers one on one.” In an article on formative assessment in distance learning, I discussed conversations as one of the best ways to check for understanding, and this holds true for summative tasks as well. Students can do presentations or engage in an oral explanation or defense of their final product. This provides further evidence of student learning.

Leveraging technology tools: I want to first acknowledge the inequities here. We know that many students do not have access to technology, so these strategies may not apply. However, there are ways to use technology to support summative assessment practices. You can have students take the assessment at the same time, during a synchronous virtual session. This is similar to timed in-class writing. Schoology, for example, allows you to time quizzes and tests. Tools like Draft Back, a Google Chrome extension, can show patterns in work submitted and play back the process. And student-created videos are great tools for students to share what they know.

Teaching academic honesty and trust students: We need to acknowledge there is no foolproof way to ensure academic honesty, and that is OK. Education consultant Ken O'Connor explained in a recent webinar that we need to educate students about academic honesty, adding that if there is a problem in this area, we may not have intentionally educated students on it.

Instead of a deficit-based approach to assessment—expecting that students will cheat—we need to have an asset-based approach where we trust them to do the right thing and engage them in teachable moments around academic honesty. Teacher expectations matter.

Using professional judgement: Ultimately, teachers need to use their professional judgement when summatively assessing students and determining scores. Teachers can decide that a summative assessment should instead be formative and then reteach and support students in learning before attempting another summative assessment. And if a teacher wonders about a student’s academic honesty on a summative, they can meet with that student to make an informed judgement. We need to trust not only students but also our teachers.

I want to emphasize that these are strategies, not necessarily solutions. As O'Connor says, the “order of operations” in teaching should be: first, student relationships and wellness second, learning and third, assessment. When we approach assessment practices, we should not lose sight of our priorities.

Biology CIE IGCSE Classification and Cell Biology Multiple Choice Pack *With Answers*

I have been teaching Biology for 17 years and I have struggled to find concise and engaging resources for teaching Biology, which is why I have set about creating my own. I hope that my resources are enjoyed by your pupils and of course support their learning of such an interesting and great subject. We are currently offering a 50% discount to all members who sign up now for our website for the first year, just copy and paste the code 3711E747FB when prompted during the signing up process.

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pdf, 7.46 MB pdf, 9.44 MB pdf, 91.91 KB pdf, 32.47 KB

The Biology CIE IGCSE Classification and Cell Biology Multiple Choice Pack has forty multiple choice questions covering the following topics from the specification:

1 Characteristics and classification of living organsims 2 Organisation of living organisms 3 Movement into and out of cells

Uses of the Question Pack:

  • As a class exercise: students work through the question pack as individuals or in small groups with a competitive timed element and see which individual/team can get the most correct in the time allocated - this works well during revision sessions.
  • As a homework task for students to complete - there is an student answer document provided for students to write their answers into for marking.
  • As a formative assessment to identify topics covered by the questions that students may need to revisit.
  • As a summative assessment at the end of teaching the topics covered by the questions.
  • Or another way I have used the packs is to print off several copies and place in a labelled document wallet. During general exam preparation sessions, these are provided alongside other topic MCQ packs (I will be adding more topic packs soon as a bundle). Students can pick and choose which topic packs to attempt, but they don’t write on the question paper so it can be reused. Answers can be recorded in a printed copy of the student answer table. You can also print off a few of the mark schemes for pupils, and place in the folder too, so they can mark their own answers or peer mark.

There is two formats provided for the answers:

  • A table of correct answers which can be displayed or printed with all answers shown at the same time.
  • A PDF copy of the questions, marked up with the correct answers, this is great for displaying on an interactive board for discussion of the questions and their answers


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21.5: Summative Questions - Biology

Cells: The Basic Unit of Life

Cell Theory: All known living things are made up of cells. All cells come from preexisting cells by division. The cell is structural and functional unit of all living things.

Cell Structural Overview: The major parts of a cell are the nucleus, cytoplasm, and cell membrane.

  • The nucleus contains a nucleolus and is separated from the cytoplasm by the nuclear envelope.
  • The nucleus contains the cell’s DNA, a type of nucleic acid.
  • The nucleolus is like a “tiny nucleus” inside the actual nucleus. It contains RNA, a type of nucleic acid.
  • The nucleus communicates through holes in the envelope called nuclear pores.
  • The nucleus decides what the cell needs and uses DNA to print out instructions for the rest of the cell to produce that need.


  • Hold the cell’s DNA in the nucleus.
  • The nucleus contains genetic information in the form of DNA (the universal genetic code).
  • The DNA does not hang around loosely in the nucleus. The DNA is packaged with proteins and wound up.
  • Recall that the role of nucleic acids is to carry genetic information, which is inherited by an organism’s offspring.
  • These wound up DNAprotein structures are called chromosomes.

Cytoplasmic Organelles: Are compartmentalized structures that perform a specialized function within a cell.

Golgi apparatus: ships packages around the cell.

  • The golgi is made up of flattened, folded sacs.
  • Packages (e.g. containing proteins) are carried to the golgi in vesicles.
  • The golgi receives an incoming vesicle, tags the package, and sends the vesicle to its final destination.
  • Lysosomes contain an environment made to destroy waste.
  • Vesicles carry the waste (bacteria, old organelles, etc.) into the lysosome.
    Once inside, the waste is destroyed and its parts recycled.
  • Smooth ER is NOT attached to the nucleus and DOES NOT have attached ribosomes (thus smooth).
  • Smooth ER synthesizes carbohydrates (sugars) and lipids (fats).

Mitochondria: produce energy to power the cell.

  • The mitochondria convert carbohydrates (sugar) taken from food into ATP.
  • The mitochondria are unique in that it has two protective shells.
  • The ribosome reads the DNA strand instructions to make proteins for the cell to use in its normal activities.
  • The units clasp around a strand of nucleic acid instructions from the nucleus.
    Each ribosome is made of two protein subunits.

Rough endoplasmic reticulum: The two types of ER make different building blocks for the cell.

  • Rough ER is found attached to the outside of the nucleus. It appears rough because of the ribosomes on its surface.
  • Rough ER helps the attached ribosomes in finishing protein synthesis.
  • Plasma Membrane, the cell’s membrane is made of phospholipids, which have carbohydrate heads and lipid tails.
  • Embedded proteins are anchored to the cell membrane.
  • Exterior of the plasma membrane touches water polar heads touch water on the inside of the cell and water on the outside of the cell.
  • Interior Blocks Passage However, water and other molecules cannot pass through to either side because of the nonpolar tails.
  • Provides a stabilized environment, which protects and maintains the cell’s internal environment, separate from the environment outside.
  • Proteins embedded into the membrane send and receive signals to communicate with other cells.

Three types of passive transport are osmosis, diffusion, and facilitated diffusion. Osmosis is the natural movement of water from a high concentration of water to a lower concentration of water. Diffusion is the natural movement of molecules from a higher concentration to a lower concentration. Facilitated Diffusion is the natural movement of molecules from a higher concentration to a lower concentration with the help of a transporter protein embedded on the cell membrane.

Active transport requires energy to occur. Active transport is “forced” movement of molecules from a lower concentration to a higher concentration. The most common type of active transport is a pump. Pumps are proteins embedded in the cell membrane, which use ATP energy to work.

Different Cell Types: Prokaryote and Eukaryote.

  • Prokaryotic: Bacteria and other microscopic organisms are made up of prokaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells do not have any complex organelles (not even a nucleus). However, prokaryotes do have ribosomes.
  • Eukaryotic: Two types of eukaryotic cells are plant and animal cells.

The cell contains a nucleus, which contains the genetic material necessary for reproduction. Within the cytoplasm of the cell are the organelles the cell requires to reproduce, energy production, and removal of waste.

Key concepts about how cells obtain and import the necessary nutrients for survival along with the energy requirements of these processes will be presented.

Specific Tutorial Features:

  • Detailed description of the function of each organelle within cells is discussed.
  • The role of the nucleus as a command center will be covered along with the location of the cellular DNA within chromosomes.
  • Concept map showing inter-connections of new concepts in this tutorial and those previously introduced.
  • Definition slides introduce terms as they are needed.
  • Visual representation of concepts.
  • Examples given throughout to illustrate how the concepts apply.
  • A concise summary is given at the conclusion of the tutorial.

The definition of a cell: The smallest unit of an organism that can live independently.
The nucleus of the cell:

  • Nucleus
  • Nucleolus
  • Nuclear envelope
  • Chromsomes
  • Golgi apparatus
  • Lysosome
  • Smooth endoplasmic reticulum
  • Mitochondria
  • Nucleus
  • Ribosomes
  • Rough endoplasmic reticulum
  • Provides a stable internal cell
  • Transport across the cell
  • Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic
  • Cell Levels of Organization.

See all 24 lessons in Anatomy and Physiology, including concept tutorials, problem drills and cheat sheets: Teach Yourself Anatomy and Physiology Visually in 24 Hours

  • Includes online, paper, Spanish, and accommodated versions (large print, Spanish large print, American Sign Language, text-to-speech, accommodated screen reader file, Braille ready files, and tactile graphics)

Notes about scoring:

  • All of the Computer-Based Practice Tests have scoring capability built into the tool. Additionally, IAR has provided answer keys and rubrics for educators for all of the practice tests.
  • The IAR English Language Arts/Literacy summative assessments include one prose constructed response item for each of the tasks that appears on the Performance-Based Assessment component. Teachers can reference the scoring rubrics as they review the three prose constructed responses.
  • The full list of accessibility features embedded for all students and accessibility features that need to be identified in advance can be found in the Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual.
  • Answer masking, color contrast (background/font color) and text-to-speech for mathematics, are available for all participating students who need these tools, but need to be identified in advance via the Personal Needs Profile (PNP).

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Additional Resources

  • Burton, Steven J., Sudweeks, Richard R., Merrill, Paul F., and Wood, Bud. How to Prepare Better Multiple Choice Test Items: Guidelines for University Faculty, 1991.
  • Cheung, Derek and Bucat, Robert. How can we construct good multiple-choice items? Presented at the Science and Technology Education Conference, Hong Kong, June 20-21, 2002.
  • Haladyna, Thomas M. Developing and validating multiple-choice test items, 2 nd edition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999.
  • Haladyna, Thomas M. and Downing, S. M.. Validity of a taxonomy of multiple-choice item-writing rules. Applied Measurement in Education, 2(1), 51-78, 1989.
  • Morrison, Susan and Free, Kathleen. Writing multiple-choice test items that promote and measure critical thinking. Journal of Nursing Education 40: 17-24, 2001.

This teaching guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Watch the video: 25 Human Body Trivia Questions. Trivia Questions u0026 Answers (January 2022).