AQA ISA (New Specification)
The ISA is a practical assessment (a controlled assessment) and counts towards 25% of a GCSE. This is the same amount as your end of year Biology, Chemistry or Physics Exam.
It is broken into 3 main parts:
There are 2 exam papers to complete and a graph to draw. These are all marked by your Science teachers and then moderated by the exam board.
All work must be the student's own. Limited control means that work is supervised but it is not done in total silence. High control is done in examination conditions.
This is an overview of each lesson that you will have during your ISA.
Stage 1 – Planning – limited control
Introduction to investigation
* Students must research the context of the investigation and identify a method that could be used including a risk assessment
* Candidates must create one side of handwritten A4 of their own research that will be used in steps 2 & 5, written on the Candidate Research notes AQA sheet – this is a structured writing frame
Stage 2 – Reporting on the planning research – high control
* Produce a blank results table – this may be completed during or immediately after the Section 1 exam, but under controlled conditions
* Section 1 of ISA exam – exam conditions 45 minutes = 20 marks. This tests students on hypothesise, sources used, variables, testing hypothesise, preliminary investigations, writing detailed methods, risk assessing and producing a results table.
* students can take in their Candidate Research notes sheet.
Stage 3 Practical work – limited control
Undertake practical work either individually or in groups
Use school/AQA method and provide students with a results table to use
Stage 4 – Processing Primary Data – high control
Draw graph or bar chart of own results – must work individually under direct supervision
Stage 5 – analysing results – high control
Section 2 of ISA exam – exam conditions 50 minutes = 30 marks. This tests students on conclusions and evaluation: how to analyse results and draw conclusions; how to match results to a hypothesis; how to evaluate method of collecting data and quality of results; how to analyse secondary data
* students can take in their Candidate Research notes sheet
EXAMPLES OF BIOLOGY CONTROLLED ASSESSMENTS