Changes to National 5 Biology course assessment

We have recently published further information with regard to the changes to National 5 Biology course assessment for session 2017-18 onwards.

Changes to coursework:

Experimental/fieldwork will become a mandatory feature of the assignment, which will result in some changes to the activities that make up the assignment. The assignment will be worth 20 marks and will contribute to 20% of the course assessment.

There will no longer be a requirement for the aim to be linked to an application of biology and its effect on the environment/society. This will allow for a wider range of experiments / fieldwork to be carried out that could be appropriate for gathering data for use in the assignment. We will produce a list of appropriate experiments/fieldwork at National 5 level which can be used, however this list will not be exhaustive.

We are currently working in partnership with SSERC and the Wellcome Trust to produce resource materials for the assignment that will help support you. We will also produce two exemplar assignments with an accompanying commentary.

Changes to the exam:

The question paper will be extended to include more questions and the number of available marks will increase from 80 marks to 100 marks, as follows:

  • Section 1 – 25 marks
  • Section 2 – 75 marks

The duration of the exam will increase from 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes.

Reasons for these changes:

The question paper is being extended to ensure it samples a greater amount of course content, following the removal of units.

Experimental/fieldwork will become a mandatory feature of the assignment, following the removal of the units which currently assess this within outcome 1.

Additional information:

The assignment will be scaled to maintain the current 20%:80% course assessment weighting.

We are removing some content from the course following feedback from teachers who indicated that there is more course content than necessary. The mandatory content is currently being reviewed based on survey results and feedback from the Royal Society of Biology and National Qualifications Support Team (NQST) members. This will include a list of apparatus and techniques with which candidates should be familiar.

For further information, please visit the changes to assessment of National Courses webpage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.