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Purpose  of  the  Bulletin 

The  purpose  of  these  bulletins  is  to  provide  students  and 
teachers  with  information  about  the  diploma  examinations 
scheduled  for  the  1999-2000  school  year. 

Please  share  the  contents  of  these  bulletins,  particularly  the 
sample  questions,  writing  assignments,  and  the  scoring  criteria, 
with  your  students. 

These  bulletins  include 

• descriptions  of  diploma  examinations  that  will  be 
administered  in  November  1999,  and  in  January,  April,  June, 
and  August  of  2000 

• the  blueprints  for  the  examinations 

• the  scoring  criteria  for  the  1999-2000  school  year 

• suggestions  for  students  about  writing  the  examinations 

• descriptions  of  the  standards  for  the  courses  and 

• examples  of  students’  responses  for  Mathematics  30, 
Mathematics  33,  Science  30,  Biology  30,  Chemistry  30, 
Physics  30.  (Examples  of  students’  responses  for  humanities 
examinations  are  on  the  extranet.) 


Information  for  Markers/T eachers 

Scoring  and  Marking  of  the  Examinations 

Scoring  and  marking  of  the  examinations  takes  place  shortly  after 
each  administration  date. 

All  writing  assignments  and  extended-response  assignments  are 
scored  by  teachers  selected  from  among  those  who  have  been 
recommended  as  markers  by  their  superintendents  to  the  Student 
Evaluation  Branch. 

In  early  September,  the  Student  Evaluation  Branch  sends 
superintendents  a letter  requesting  the  names  of  recommended 
markers.  Dates  for  scoring  the  examinations  are  armounced  in  this 

Student  Evaluation  Branch  staff  contacts  recommended  markers 
before  each  marking  session  to  confirm  their  participation,  as  well  as 
the  dates  and  times  for  marking. 

Qualifications  To  qualify  for  recommendation  by  a superintendent,  a teacher  must 

have  taught  the  diploma  examination  course  for  two  or  more  years, 
be  teaching  the  course  in  the  current  school  year,  hold  an  Alberta 
Permanent  Professional  Teaching  Certificate  and  be  employed  by  a 
school  authority  in  Alberta. 

Dates  for  Recommendation  Teachers  who  wish  to  be  recommended  as  markers  for  the 

January  or  June  diploma  examinations  should  contact  their 
superintendent  by  the  dates  given  below.  A teacher  should 
clearly  indicate  to  the  superintendent  which  examination  he  or 
she  wishes  to  mark. 

Administration  Contact  Superintendent  by 

January,  2000  October  1,  1999 

June  and  August,  2000  Mareh  1,  2000 

Markers  for  the  November  examinations  will  be  seleeted  from  the 
list  submitted  by  superintendents  for  the  previous  June  marking 
session;  markers  for  the  April  examinations  will  be  selected  from  the 
list  for  the  previous  January  marking  session. 


Criteria  for  Selection 

In  most  subjects,  more  teachers  are  recommended  as  markers  by 
superintendents  than  are  required  by  the  Student  Evaluation  Branch 
for  any  one  marking  session.  The  following  criteria  are  used  when 
markers  are  selected  for  a particular  marking  session: 

• experience  as  a marker  (in  some  subjects,  qualified  first-time 
markers  will  be  selected  first;  all  selection  will  be  done  to  balance 
numbers  of  new  and  experienced  markers.) 

• regional  representation 

• proportional  representation  by  student  population 

Please  note:  teachers  may  mark  only  one  subject  in  a marking 
session.  No  teacher  may  mark  both  a diploma  examination  and  an 
achievement  test  in  July. 

Examination  Development 

As  the  need  arises  for  teachers  to  participate  in  item  writing  and 
field  testing,  letters  are  sent  to  superintendents  requesting  their 
nominations.  Item  writing  takes  place  throughout  the  year  and  is  a 
vital  component  of  the  diploma  examination  program.  Field  testing 
provides  important  validation  of  questions.  It  also  provides  students 
and  teachers  with  the  opportunity  to  become  familiar  with  the  nature 
of  questions  they  will  encounter  on  future  diploma  examinations. 
Only  teachers  who  have  been  nominated  by  their  superintendents  are 
eligible  to  participate  in  these  activities.  Teachers  who  are 
interested  in  these  activities  should  contact  their  superintendents. 

Inservices  and  Presentations 

If  you  are  seeking  information  about  or  wish  to  book  a workshop 
related  to  diploma  examinations,  interpretation  of  examination 
results,  and  other  examination-related  issues,  contact  your 
Professional  Development  Consortia.  You  may  also  contact  either 
Elana  Scraba,  Assistant  Director  Humanities,  or  Corinne  McCabe, 
Assistant  Director  Mathematics/Science,  at  the  Student  Evaluation 
Branch  at  780-427-0010  for  information  and  to  book  speakers. 


Other  Important  Documents 

Student  Evaluation  produces  many  important  documents  that  people 
who  are  seeking  information  about  diploma  examinations  will  find 
helpful.  All  of  these  documents  are  posted  either  on  the  Alberta 
Learning  site  (http;//ednet.  or  on  the  secured  Alberta 
Learning  extranet. 

• Students  First:  A Guide  for  Students  Preparing  to  Write  a 
Diploma  Examination — A Students  First  guide  is  produced  for 
each  diploma  examination  subject.  These  publications  contain 
valuable  information  and  suggestions  for  students  about 
examination  preparation  and  examination  writing.  We  recommend 
that  students  and  teachers  examine  these  documents  early  in  the 
term  to  prepare  for  the  diploma  examinations 

• General  Information  Bulletin,  Diploma  Examinations  Program 
(1999-2000) — Each  September,  the  Student  Evaluation  Branch 
sends  all  superintendents  and  senior  high  school  principals  copies 
of  the  General  Information  Bulletin,  Diploma  Examinations 
Program.  This  bulletin  provides  the  information,  dates,  policies, 
and  rules  that  apply  to  the  administration  of  all  diploma 
examinations  for  the  school  year.  It  also  provides  information 
about  partial  writings,  the  use  of  word  processors,  the  use  of 
calculators,  accommodations  for  students  with  learning  and/or 
physical  disabilities,  dates  for  examination  administration,  and 
definitions  of  mature  students,  among  other  things. 

• Examples  of  Students  ’ Writing — Samples  of  student  writing  from 
the  January  1999  examination  administration  of  English  30, 
English  33,  Social  Studies  3 3, and  Social  Studies  30  are  posted  on 
the  Alberta  Learning  extranet.  These  examples  represent  the 
standards  set  for  the  marking  of  the  examination.  Teachers  are 
able  to  access  this  secured  web  site  through  their  school’s 
identification  number. 

• Examiners  ’ Report — Following  the  administration  of  January  and 
June  diploma  examinations,  the  Student  Evaluation  Branch 
produces  an  Examiners  ’ Report  for  each  diploma  examination. 
These  documents  are  sent  to  all  senior  high  schools  in  Alberta,  and 
are  posted  on  Alberta  Education’s  extranet  site. 

Each  Examiner ’s  Report  contains 

- detailed  provincial  results 

- examiners’  comments  about  student  performance  on  the 

- a blueprint  of  the  examination  by  reporting  category 

- the  key  and  difficult  level  for  all  questions  on  the  examinations 

- sample  questions  accompanied  by  commentary 



Each  Examiners  ’ Report  provides  important  information  for 
teachers  who  wish  to  interpret  their  students’  results  in 
relationship  to  provincial  results  as  an  ongoing  form  of  program 

School  and  Jurisdiction  Reports — These  reports  are  made 
available  electronically  on  the  extranet  to  schools  and  school 
jurisdictions  after  each  January  and  June  administration.  The 
School  and  Jurisdiction  Reports  provide  detailed  information  on 
how  well  students  in  the  school  and  school  district,  respectively, 
did  on  each  of  the  diploma  examinations  relative  to  provincial 
standards.  Teachers  may  use  these  data  to  reflect  on  areas  of  the 
program  where  their  students  did  well  and  on  areas  where  student 
performance  could  be  improved. 

Annual  Report,  Diploma  Examinations  Program — This  report 
contains  information  about  the  results  achieved  by  all  students 
who  wrote  diploma  examinations  in  the  preceding  school  year.  It 
also  contains  the  results  of  any  special  study  related  to  the  diploma 

Diploma  Examinations  Program 


Special  Studies  Topic 


Comparing  Achievement  in  Various  Diploma  Examination 


Different  Paths  to  Success  in  Diploma  Examination 


Participation  Rates  in  Diploma  Examinations  Courses 


Conventions  of  Language 


Participation  Rates  Over  Time 


Grade  12  Enrollment  Decline — ^A  Preliminary  Assessment 


Differential  Item  Performance  Between  Males  and  Females 
on  the  June  1996  Administration  of  the  Social  Studies  30 
Diploma  Examination 


Achievement-Over-Time  for  English  30  and 
Social  Studies  30  Diploma  Examinations 


Special  Study:  Achievement-Over-Time  for  the  Multiple- 
Choice  Section  of  the  English  30  and  Social  Studies  30 
Examinations,  1989-1998 


Special  Study:  Achievement-Over-Time  for  the  Biology  30 
Extended  Written-Response  Question  (June  1995  and  June 
1998  Comparison) 

The  1996-97  and  1997-98  annual  reports  are  available  on  the 
Internet  at  the  Alberta  Learning  web  site. 


• Previous  Examinations:  Copies  of  previous  Mathematics  30, 
Mathematics  33,  Science  30,  Physics  30,  Chemistry  30,  and 
Biology  30  diplomas  examinations  and  keys  are  posted  on  the 
Alberta  Learning  web  site.  English  30,  English  33,  Social  Studies 
30,  Social  Studies  33,  and  Fran9ais  30  examinations  are  not 
available  on  the  web  site  because  of  copyright  restrictions  for 
electronic  publication  of  the  source  materials  on  these 
examinations.  However,  keys  for  the  multiple-choice  parts  of  all 
humanities  examinations  are  posted. 

You  may  purchase  copies  of  the  diploma  examinations  from  the 
Learning  Resource  Distributing  Centre  (LRDC) 

by  phone:  (780)  427-5775  (toll-free  310-0000) 

by  fax:  (780)422-9750 

on  the  web: 

by  mail:  12360-142  Street,  Edmonton,  AB  T5L  4X9 



Page  1 

Objectives  of  the  Course 

Page  1 


Page  2 

Examination  Specifications 

Page  4 

Examination  Design 

Page  5 

Assessment  of  STS  Connections 

Page  5 

Assessment  of  Communication  Skills 


Page  6 

Archived  Information  from  Previous  Bulletins 


Page  6 

Internet  Sites  Recommended  for  Alberta  Students 
and  Teachers 

Page  8 

Written-Response  Questions 

Sample  Closed-Response  Question  and  Scoring  Guide 

Sample  Open-Response  Question,  Suggested  Responses, 
Scoring  Guides,  and  Student  Responses  and  Rationales 

Page  28 

General  Comments  About  the  New  Open-Response 
Scoring  Guide 


Page  29 

Hardy-Weinberg  Calculations 


Page  30 

Implementation  of  the  New  Open-Response 
Scoring  Guide 

Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 
in  2016 

Objectives  of  the  Course 


Acceptable  Standard 

Biology  30  is  intended  for  students  who  want  to  better  understand 
the  biology  prineiples  behind  the  natural  events  they  experience  and 
the  technology  they  use  in  their  daily  lives.  Biology  30  is  an 
experimental  discipline  requiring  creativity  and  imagination.  It 
develops  the  knowledge,  skills,  and  attitudes  to  help  students 
become  capable  of  and  committed  to  setting  goals,  making  informed 
choices,  and  acting  in  ways  that  will  improve  their  own  lives  and  life 
in  their  communities. 

Students  of  Biology  30  have  developed  their  aptitude  for  observing, 
collecting  facts,  forming  generalizations,  hypothesizing,  and  making 
inferences  from  observations.  They  have  shown  growth  in  their 
understanding  of  biological  concepts  by  their  increased  ability  to 
apply  these  concepts  to  relevant  situations.  They  have  learned  to 
communicate  in  the  specialized  language  of  biology. 

This  growth  and  development  in  students  has  taken  place  as  a result 
of  general  education  and  cognitive  maturation.  It  has  been  enhanced 
by  science  courses,  in  particular  by  the  successful  completion  of 
Science  10  and  Biology  20.  These  courses  develop  knowledge  and 
skills  that  are  prerequisite  to  success  in  Biology  30. 

Students  who  attain  the  acceptable  standard  but  not  the  standard  of 
excellence  in  Biology  30  will  receive  a final  course  mark  between 
and  including  50%  and  79%.  These  students  can  demonstrate  a 
basic  understanding  of  the  nature  of  scientific  inquiry  by  designing, 
observing,  and  interpreting  simple  laboratory  and  field 
investigations.  They  can  readily  interpret  physiological,  genetic,  and 
ecological  data  that  are  presented  in  simple  diagrams,  tables,  and 
graphs.  They  can  translate  word  descriptions  of  biological  processes 
into  symbolic  representations  that  facilitate  solving  simple 
quantitative  genetic  and  ecological  problems.  These  students  can 
demonstrate  understanding  of  equilibrium  by  describing  how  the 
human  nervous  and  endocrine  systems  regulate  other  body  processes 
such  as  reproduction.  They  can  show  how  environmental  and 
genetic  factors  regulate  change  in  the  development  of  organisms. 
They  can  describe  how  cellular  and  molecular  processes  cause 
diversity  in  organisms.  They  can  illustrate  how  populations  interact 
with  each  other,  thereby  forming  communities  that  over  time  are  in 
equilibrium  or  in  a state  of  change.  These  students  recognize  and 
understand  key  biological  and  technological  terms  and  therefore  can 
interpret  short  reports  of  current  biological  issues.  They  can  identify 
the  scientific,  technological,  and  societal  components  of  biological 
problems  and  explain  how  these  components  interrelate  in  solutions. 


These  students  can  compose  clear  and  logical  descriptive  or 
explanatory  statements  about  major  biological  issues. 

Standard  of  Excellence  Students  who  achieve  the  standard  of  excellence  in  Biology  30 

receive  a final  mark  of  80%  or  higher.  In  addition  to  meeting  the 
expectations  for  the  acceptable  standard  of  performance,  these 
students  demonstrate  their  aptitude  and  interest  in  biology  and  feel 
confident  about  their  abilities.  They  can  readily  interpret 
interrelated  sets  of  data  such  as  complex  graphs  and  tables.  They 
can  analyze  and  evaluate  experimental  designs.  These  students  can 
provide  explanations  of  concepts  that  are  specific  but  also 
comprehensive.  They  can  simultaneously  apply  two  or  more 
biological  concepts  that  cross  major  themes.  They  can  demonstrate 
a thorough  understanding  of  quantitative  relationships  and  solve 
multistep  numerical  problems.  When  presenting  scientific  data,  they 
select  the  most  appropriate  form.  They  can  analyze  complex  open- 
ended  issues  that  are  of  a new  or  unique  nature.  The  contexts  of 
these  issues  would  most  likely  include  current  research.  These 
students  are  aware  of  a variety  of  viewpoints  relating  to 
environmental  and  ethical  issues  in  the  field  of  science  and 
technology.  They  can  communicate  clearly  and  concisely,  using 
appropriate  scientific  vocabulary,  and  can  write  compositions. 

Achievement  Standards  At  a provincial  level  it  is  expected  that  at  least  85%  of  students  will 

achieve  a final  course  mark  of  50%  or  higher.  It  is  also  expected 
that  at  a provincial  level,  at  least  15%  of  students  will  achieve  a final 
course  mark  of  85%  or  higher. 

Examination  Specifications 

Each  Biology  30  diploma  examination  is  designed  to  reflect  the 
Biology  30  course  general  learner  expectations  outlined  in  the 
Biology  20-30  Program  of  Studies,  June  30,  Interim  1995,  for 
Senior  High  Schools.  The  general  learner  expectations  are 
expressed  in  more  detail  by  the  specific  learner  expectations,  which 
are  organized  into  four  units.  Some  questions  on  each  diploma 
examination  will  assess  achievement  of  specific  learner 
expectations.  Some  questions  will  be  based  on  the  integration  of 
several  specific  learner  expectations. 

All  examination  questions  are  organized  into  sets  that  relate  to  broad 
contexts.  Therefore,  a set  of  questions  may  assess  students’  ability 
to  integrate  several  general  learner  expectations  (GLEs).  All 
questions  will  measure  achievement  of  scientific  knowledge;  some 
will  also  measure  achievement  of  skills  and/or  STS  connections. 


The  1999-2000  Biology  30  diploma  examinations  are  constructed  to  place  the  following  approximate  emphases 
on  the  Biology  30  course  general  learner  expectations. 



The  student  can  demonstrate  that 

• humans  use  nervous  and 
endocrine  systems  to  maintain 
internal  equilibrium  among  their 
systems  while  simultaneously 
interacting  and  maintaining 
equilibrium  with  the  external 


• humans  and  other  organisms  have 
chemically  regulated  reproductive 
systems,  which  ensure  survival  of 
the  species,  and  can  describe  how 
sexually  transmitted  diseases 
interfere  with  human  reproductive 


• cell  differentiation  and  organism 
development  are  regulated  by 
genetic  and  environmental  factors 
and  that  natural  processes  can  be 
changed  by  using  reproductive 


• cell  division  in  vascular  plants  and 
animals  promotes  growth,  genetic 
continuity,  and  diversity  of 
organisms;  and  that  genetic  traits 
are  inherited  and  expressed  in 
predictable  ways  if  chromosome 
segregation,  assortment,  and 
crossing  over  are  taken  into 


• genetic  information  stored  in 
DNA  molecules  directs  the 
functions  of  organisms  and  that 
biotechnology  can  be  used  to 
influence  genetic  expression 


• gene  frequencies  within 
populations  determine  the 
composition  of  communities  and 
that  these  gene  frequencies  may 
reach  equilibrium  or  continue  to 
change  over  time  as  populations 


Scientific  Process  and  Emphasis 

Communication  Skills  20-30% 

The  student  can 

• design,  interpret,  explain,  analyze,  and  evaluate 

• organize  data  into  tables,  graphs,  and  diagrams 
and  predict  relationships 

• interpret,  explain,  analyze,  and  evaluate  data  to 
infer  relationships 

• use  appropriate  scientific  terminology  and 
mathematical  language  to  communicate  and 
explain  scientific  concepts 

Science,  Technology,  and  Society  Emphasis 

Connections  (STS)  20-30% 

The  student  can 

• apply  cause-and-effect  reasoning  to  formulate 
relationships  in  which  scientific  evidence  shapes 
or  refutes  a theory,  and  explain  the  limitations  of 
science  and  technology  in  answering  all 
questions  and  solving  all  problems 

• describe  and  evaluate  the  design  and  function  of 
technological  solutions  to  practical  problems  by 
using  scientific  principles  and  theories,  and 
relate  the  ways  in  which  science  and  technology 
advance  one  another 

• evaluate  from  a variety  of  perspectives  how 
science  and  technology  are  influenced  and 
supported  by  society,  and  assess  the  ability  of 
society  to  interact  responsibly  with  the 

• apply  the  skills  and  knowledge  acquired  in 
Biology  30  to  everyday  life  and  to  related  and 
new  concepts  in  post-secondary  studies  of 


The  design  of  the  1999-2000  Biology  30  diploma  examinations  is  as 



Multiple  Choice 
Numerical  Response 
Written  Response 

Number  of  Percent 
Questions  Emphasis 







The  machine-scored  portion  of  each  examination  contains  both 
multiple-choice  and  numerical-response  questions,  some  of  which 
may  be  grouped  together  in  sets  that  relate  to  specific  contexts. 

Answers  for  multiple-choice  questions  are  recorded  in  the  first 
section  of  the  machine-scored  answer  sheet,  and  answers  for 
numerical-response  questions  are  recorded  in  the  second  section  on 
the  same  side  of  the  machine-scored  answer  sheet.  Answers  to  the 
written-response  questions  are  written  in  the  examination  booklet. 

Multiple-choice  questions  are  of  two  types:  discrete  and  context 
dependent.  A discrete  question  stands  on  its  own  without  any 
additional  directions  or  information.  It  may  take  the  form  of  a 
question  or  an  incomplete  statement.  A context-dependent  question 
provides  information  separate  from  the  question  stem.  Most  of  the 
multiple-choice  questions  are  context  dependent. 

Numerical-response  questions  are  of  three  types:  calculation  of 
numerical  values;  selection  of  numbered  events,  structures,  or 
functions  from  a list;  and  determination  of  a sequence  of  events. 
Specific  instructions  for  recording  answers  for  each  type  of 
numerical-response  question  are  provided  in  the  instruction  pages  of 
each  Biology  30  diploma  examination  and  with  each  question.  It 
should  be  noted  that  the  correct  answer  for  any  one  question  will  not 
necessarily  require  use  of  all  four  columns  in  the  grid  provided  on 
the  answer  sheet. 

A particular  context  may  be  used  for  one  or  more  multiple-choice 
questions  and/or  one  or  more  numerical-response  questions. 

The  written-response  portion  of  each  Biology  30  diploma 
examination  contains  two  contextual  questions:  a closed-response 
question  and  an  open-response  question.  Each  question  has  a value 

The  closed-response  question  (Written-Response  1)  presents  a 
synopsis  of  research.  Pertinent  data  are  provided  in  the  form  of 
graphs  and/or  tables.  The  several  parts  of  this  question  may  require 
students  to  demonstrate  a variety  of  science  process  skills. 

of  15%. 

The  open-response  question  also  presents  a problem  based  on 
current  research.  It  requires  students  to  make  connections  among 
biological  concepts,  technology,  and/or  social  issues.  The  response 
to  this  question  is  expected  to  have  complete  sentences  and 
paragraphs,  and  be  presented  as  an  expository  composition.  In  an 
expository  composition,  a student  can  be  expected  to  explain, 
describe  or  provide  an  argument. 

For  the  open-response  question  (Written  Response  2),  students  are 
given  a writing  space  consisting  of  three  blank  pages  alternating 
with  three  lined  pages.  This  writing  space  will  be  the  same  for  eveiy 
Biology  diploma  examination.  In  addition,  blank  perforated  pages 
are  provided  at  the  back  of  every  science  diploma  examination. 

Assessment  of  STS  Connections 

Examination  questions  measure  the  students’  understanding  of 
biological  concepts.  Some  questions  also  measure  the  students’ 
development  of  the  skills  and  thinking  processes  associated  with 
scientific  inquiry,  and  some  questions  have  been  designed  to 
measure  students’  understanding  of  the  interrelationships  between 
science  and  technology  and  among  science,  technology,  and  society. 

Assessment  of  Communication  Skills 

Communication  skills  are  assessed  most  directly  in  the  marker- 
scored  questions.  For  the  open-response  question,  the  descriptions 
used  in  the  scoring  guides  may  include  criteria  for  assessing 
communication  skills  along  with  criteria  for  the  other  components. 

The  term  communication  skills  includes  those  processes  by  which 
understandings  are  expressed  using  appropriate  conventions.  These 
conventions  include: 

• words,  sentences,  paragraphs 

• graphs,  diagrams 

• mathematical  formulas,  mathematical  and  chemical  equations 

• significant  digits,  units  of  measurement 

Conventions  that  are  considered  appropriate  for  a particular  response 
are  subject-  and  question-specific. 


Archived  Information  from  Previous  Bulletins 

NEW  Each  bulletin  contains  unique  information  of  value  to  teachers, 

especially  teachers  new  to  the  program.  Information  such  as  course 
clarifications,  reminders  and  explanations,  and  definitions  of  terms 
that  are  relevant  to  the  diploma  examination  program  can  be  found 
in  the  Archived  Information  section  of  specific  subject  bulletins  on 
the  website.  Only  information  that  is  applicable  to  current  diploma 
examination  programs  has  been  archived. 

Year  Topic 

1998-99  Development  of  the  New  Open-Response  Scoring 

1997-98  Science  and  Technology  (Descriptions  of  various 
genetic  technologies  and  their  uses) 

Science,  Technology,  and  Society 

Issues  in  Science,  Technology,  and  Society 

Relationships  Among  Organisms  of  Different 

1996-97  Pedigree  Analysis 

Chromosome  Formation 
Counting  Chromosomes 

1995-96  Chromosome  Number  Descriptions 
Genetic  Conventions 

Internet  Sites  Recommended  for  Alberta  Students  and  Teachers 

NEW  The  following  list  of  Internet  sites  can  be  used  as  resources  by 

both  students  and  teachers  of  Biology  30.  When  accessing 
electronic  information,  it  is  important  to  evaluate  the  authority, 
reliability,  and  validity  of  the  information  and  to  identify  and 
analyze  factors  that  affect  the  authenticity  of  the  information. 

• Access  Excellence®:  A Place  in  Cyberspace  for  Biology 
Teaching  and  Learning 

The  site  includes  links  to  What ’s  News  in  biology-related 
research,  issues  and  ethics  in  biotechnology,  a biology 
activities  exchange,  and  a sampling  of  online  collaborative 


• The  Center  for  Molecular  Neuroscience:  Online  Journal 
A Vanderbilt  University  School  of  Medicine  site  that 
includes  links  to  many  recognized  science  journals  related  to 
the  human  nervous  system  such  as  the  Journal  of  Molecular 
Neuroscience,  Behavioral  and  Brain  Sciences,  On  the  Brain, 
and  the  Scientific  American  Journal. 

• The  Virtual  Embryo 

A University  of  Calgary  site  that  includes  visual  images  of 
developing  embryos  of  a number  of  different  species,  current 
developmental  biology  research,  and  links  to  related  learning 

• The  Multi-Dimensional  Human  Embryo 

A collection  of  magnetic  resonance  images  of  developing 
human  embryos. 

• National  Center  for  Biotechnology  Information 

A site  that  includes  several  links  related  to  Mendelian  and 
molecular  genetics  such  as  the  Human  Genome  Project, 
genes  and  disease,  and  The  Online  Mendelian  Inheritance  in 

• Links  to  Human  Disease  Related  Pages 

A site  that  includes  several  links  related  to  human  disease 
such  as  cystic  fibrosis.  Mad  Cow  Disease,  Thalassemia, 
hemophilia,  Down  syndrome,  Turner  syndrome,  Klinefelter 
syndrome,  and  others. 

• Canadian  Wildlife  Service  e.html 

A site  featuring  Canadian  species’  population  information 
including  links  to  current  population  research  and 
government  publications  related  to  populations. 


Written-Response  Questions 

Each  Biology  30  Diploma  Examination  has  two  written-response 
questions.  One  of  these  is  a closed-response  question  that  is 
presented  in  parts.  The  number  of  parts  is  dependent  upon  the 
context.  Each  part  is  scored  using  a closed-response  scoring  guide. 

The  parts  of  this  question  total  to  a score  of  12  worth  15%  of  the 
examination.  All  of  the  parts  of  this  question  are  scored  by  one 

NEW  The  other  written-response  question  is  an  open-response  question 

that  requires  an  expository  composition.  In  an  expository 
composition,  a student  is  expected  to  explain  or  describe  something, 
or  to  provide  an  argument.  Beginning  in  January  1999,  the  open- 
response  question  on  Biology  30  examinations  will  be  scored  using 
two  six-point  scoring  scales,  each  with  a range  of  0 to  5.  The 
“Science”  scale  assesses  a student’s  response  on  the  science  aspects 
of  the  question.  The  “Technology  and  Society”  scale  assesses  a 
student’s  response  on  these  aspects  of  the  question.  Each  bullet  on 
the  scoring  guides  describes  a part  of  the  student’s  response  at  the  5, 

4,  3,  2,  or  1 level.  These  descriptions  are  used  to  award  a mark  out 
of  5 for  the  part  of  the  question  that  the  bullet  describes.  The 
average  of  these  marks  is  then  used  to  determine  the  overall  score 
for  each  of  the  two  scales.  The  “Science  content”  mark  is  weighted 
to  be  worth  twice  as  much  as  the  “Technology  and  Society”  mark. 

Each  student’s  response  will  be  scored  independently  by  two 
markers.  The  two  Science  content  scores  will  be  added  together  for 
a combined  sub-score  out  of  ten.  The  two  Technology  and  Society 
scores  will  be  added  together  and  then  divided  by  two  for  a 
combined  sub-score  out  of  five.  The  two  sub-scores  will  be  added 
together  for  a total  out  of  1 5.  The  open-response  question  is  worth 
15%  of  the  biology  examination. 

A summary  of  the  calculations  follows: 

Science  scale:  Marker  1 Score  (X  out  of  5)  + Marker  2 Score  (Y  out 
of  5)  = Sub-score  (X  + Y out  of  10) 

Technology  and  Society  scale:  Marker  1 Score  (X  out  of  5)  + 

Marker  2 Score  (Y  out  of  5)  divided  by  2 = Sub-score  out  of  5 

Final  Score  = Science  (out  of  10)  + Technology  and  Society 
(out  of  5)  = maximum  of  15  marks 

If  the  final  scores  obtained  by  the  two  independent  markers  vary  by 
8 or  more,  out  of  15,  the  scores  are  classified  as  discrepant. 

Responses  that  have  discrepant  scores  are  read  by  a third  reader. 

The  third  reader  must  assign  a score  that  is  equal  to  one  of  the  scores 
of  the  first  two  readers  or  is  between  these  scores. 


A summary  of  the  calculations  for  a discrepant  paper  follows. 

Marker  1 assigned  a score  of  5 out  of  5 marks 

Marker  2 assigned  a score  of  2 out  of  5 marks 

Technology  and  Society: 

Marker  1 assigned  a score  of  4 out  of  5 marks 

Marker  2 assigned  a score  of  2 out  of  5 marks 

If  Marker  1 were  the  only  marker,  the  student’s  score  would  have 
been  14  out  of  15.  If  Marker  2 were  the  only  marker,  the  student’s 
score  would  have  been  6 out  of  1 5 . This  represents  a difference  of  8 
and  is  a discrepant  score. 

Third  Marker: 

Reader  3 must  assign  a score  of  2,  3,  4,  or  5 on  the  Science  scale 
and  a score  of  2,  3,  or  4 on  the  Technology  and  Society  scale. 
The  third  reader’s  Science  score  will  be  doubled  for  a total  out 
of  ten  and  added  to  his  or  her  Technology  and  Society  score  for 
a total  score  out  of  15. 

For  an  example  of  an  open-response  question,  suggested  responses, 
scoring  guides,  and  sample  student  responses  with  scores  and 
rationales,  see  pages  14  to  28.  Students  should  be  made  aware  of 
the  change  in  scoring  systems  for  the  open-response  question. 


Sample  Closed-Response  Question  and  Scoring  Guide 

The  following  question  is  taken  from  the  April  1997  Biology  30  Diploma  Examination. 

Use  the  following  information  to  answer  the  next  question. 

In  April  1994,  a medical  team  from  the  University  of  Pennsylvania  used  gene  therapy  to 
treat  a 28-year-old  Canadian  with  familial  hypercholesterolemia.  This  rare  genetic 
disease  had  resulted  in  her  having  a heart  attack  at  age  16  and  a coronary  bypass  at  age 
26.  Two  of  her  brothers  had  died  in  their  twenties  of  heart  disease. 

The  disease  causes  extremely  high  cholesterol  levels  and  is  the  result  of  a mutation  in 
the  gene  that  codes  for  the  LDL-receptor  protein.  This  LDL-receptor  protein,  found  on 
the  cell  membrane  of  liver  cells,  removes  low-density  lipoproteins  (LDLs)  from  the 
bloodstream.  LDLs  are  the  “bad”  cholesterol  molecules  associated  with  clogged  arteries 
and  heart  attacks.  Normal  cholesterol-reducing  drugs  did  not  work  for  this  woman 
because  her  LDL-receptors  were  defective. 

The  geneticists,  James  Wilson  and  Mariann  Grossman,  used  gene  therapy  to  add  normal 
genes  to  code  for  the  LDL-receptor  protein  she  needed.  The  defective  genes  she  already 
possessed  were  not  “shut  off,”  but  gene  therapy  would  allow  more  normal  LDL- 
receptors  to  be  produced  so  the  symptoms  of  the  disease  would  be  reduced. 

Gene  therapy  methods  to  treat  hypercholesterolemia  use  non-infectious  viruses  that  have 
been  “cleaned  of  all  their  harmfiil  genes”  and  modified  by  having  a normal  copy  of  the 
human  LDL-receptor  gene  inserted.  Two  methods  exist;  each  uses  a different  type  of 
virus.  The  retrovirus  is  a RNA-containing  virus  that  converts  its  RNA  into  DNA  by 
means  of  the  enzyme  reverse  transcriptase.  Once  converted,  the  viral  DNA  is  then 
integrated  into  the  host  cells’  chromosomes.  The  adenovirus  is  a DNA-containing  virus. 
Adenovirus  DNA  only  temporarily  integrates  itself  into  the  host  cells’  chromosomes. 

Retrovirus  Method  Adenovirus  Method 

(used  in  this  treatment)  (used  only  on  mice) 

Retroviruses  were  modified*  to  contain 
the  normal  LDL-receptor  protein  gene. 

The  team  surgically  removed  15%  of  the 
woman’s  liver.  In  the  lab,  the  modified 
retroviruses  were  released  into  liver  cells. 

Transcription  occurred  and  LDL-receptor 
proteins  were  then  synthesized. 

The  treated  liver  cells  were  allowed  to 
divide  and  increase  in  number  for  3 days. 

These  liver  cells  were  returned  to  the 
woman’s  liver. 

The  altered  cells  colonized  the  liver  tissue 
and  began  removing  LDL  cholesterol. 

The  woman’s  LDL  levels  dropped  by 
1 7%,  and  she  began  responding  to 
cholesterol-reducing  drugs. 

*Diagrammatic  example  of  how  modification  may  take  place  in  both  methods: 

Viral  DNA 

Human  DNA 

Adenoviruses  are  modified*  to  contain 
the  normal  LDL-receptor  protein  gene. 

Adenoviruses  are  injected  into  the 
bloodstream  and  become  attached  to 
liver  cells.  Adenovirus  DNA  is  released 
into  liver  cells.  Transcription  occurs  and 
LDL-receptor  proteins  are  then 

More  adenovirus  must  be  added  at  three- 
week  intervals  in  mice. 


I 1.  I a.  Describe  the  difference  between  an  adenovirus  and  a retrovirus. 
(1  mark) 

Structural  difference:  An  adenovirus  has  DNA  as  its  genetic 
material;  whereas,  a retrovirus  has  RNA  as  its  genetic  material 


Functional  difference:  Adenovirus  DNA  only  temporarily 
integrates  itself  into  host  cell  chromosomes;  whereas,  converted 
retrovirus  DNA  integrates  itself for  the  cell’s  lifetime. 

b.  Explain  one  advantage  and  one  disadvantage  of  each  method. 

(2  marks) 

Retrovirus  Method 

Adenovirus  Method 



• Continuous  production  of  the 
LDL-receptor  protein 

• Has  been  used  in  humans 

• Retrovirus  DNA  integration  is 

• Close  monitoring  of  the 
effectiveness  of  treatment  is 

• Surgery  is  not  required  and 
treatment  is  simple 



• Surgery  involves  risks 

• Treatment  has  complex 
components  that  increase  risks 

• Treatment  must  be  repeated  at 
regular  intervals,  therefore  the 
treatment  is  temporary. 

• Adenovirus  DNA  does  not 
integrate  permanently  into  its 
host ’s  DNA 

• Has  been  used  only  in  mice 

• Treatment  is  indirect  and 
therefore  not  easily  monitored 
for  effectiveness 

c.  i.  If  homozygous  individuals  with  mutant  alleles  were  to  be 
considered  for  gene  therapy,  at  which  stage  of  human 
development,  from  conception  onward,  would  treatment  be 
most  effective?  (1  mark) 

The  zygote,  blastocyst,  or  pre-embryo  (early  embryo) 


ii.  Support  your  answer.  (1  mark) 

Gene  therapy  at  this  time  allows  all  or  most  cells  to  possess  the 
working  versions  of  the  gene. 

One  mark  can  be  earned  for  support  even  though  a mark  was 
not  earned for  correctly  answering  c.  i. 

iii.  Describe  a technology  that  would  be  needed  to  accomplish  the 
modification  as  described  in  the  diagram.  (2  marks) 



Restriction  enzyme 

An  enzyme  that  cuts  DNA  at  specific  sites; 
used  to  cut  open  vector  (viral)  DNA  and  to 
cut  genes  out  of  human  DNA 


An  enzyme  that  seals  together  cut  ends  of 
DNA;  used  to  seal  the  human  gene  into  the 
vector  (viral)  DNA 


A procedure  that  involves  the  use  of 
bacteria  or  enzymes  to  copy  a DNA 
segment  (gene)  many  times;  used  to 
provide  workable  amounts  of  DNA  in  the 

Procedures  for  identifying,  sequencing, 
and/or  synthesizing  the  human  DNA. 
Enzymes  and  other  methods  would  be  used 
to  identify  the  gene  and  sequence  it.  The 
gene  may  be  synthesized  using  a machine. 

Any  other  description  of  an  applicable  technology  that  the 
student  links  to  the  diagram  is  acceptable. 

d.  This  woman  likely  had  inherited  two  mutant  alleles  for  this 

condition.  She  developed  coronary  heart  disease  earlier  and  more 
severely  than  individuals  who  inherit  only  one  mutant  allele. 

i.  Predict  the  mode  of  inheritance  for  hypercholesterolemia. 

(1  mark) 

Codominance  or  partial  dominance  or  incomplete  penetrance 
or  incomplete  dominance  or  intermediate  inheritance 

ii.  Explain  why  this  mode  of  inheritance  can  result  in  early  and 
late  onset  of  coronary  heart  disease.  (2  marks) 

Late  onset  occurs  in  heterozygous  individuals  because  one  copy 
of  the  normal  gene  is  present;  therefore,  some  ability  to  remove 
“bad”  cholesterol  would  likely  delay  the  onset  of  symptoms. 
Early  onset  occurs  in  homozygous  individuals  because  they  do 
not  produce  any  normal  LDL-receptor  proteins.  There  is  no 


way  of  removing  “bad”  cholesterol  from  the  bloodstream; 
therefore,  clogged  arteries  and  heart  attacks  will  likely  occur. 


Both  alleles  have  an  effect  on  the  phenotypes  of  the  individual, 
(one  mark) 

e.  Gene  therapy  raises  important  societal  concerns.  Describe  one 
possible  societal  concern  that  might  arise  as  a result  of  the  gene 
therapy  performed  on  this  woman.  (2  marks) 

Once  gene  therapy  is  used  to  treat  disease,  it  will  be  used  to 
replace  non-defective  genes;  for  example,  inserting  genes  for  blue 
eyes  or  other  vain  genetic  manipulation. 


If  the  treatment  is  expensive,  it  may  not  be  available  to  everyone; 
therefore,  only  rich  people  will  be  able  to  afford  the  treatment. 


If  the  treatment  is  expensive,  spending  tax  money  to  help  one 
person  or  few  people  may  not  be  justified. 


Even  though  the  viruses  used  were  “disarmed,  ” some  people  may 
disagree  with  the  use  of  infectious  organisms  to  treat  people. 

There  may  be  unforeseen  consequences  because  the  viruses  may 
disrupt  cell  functioning  in  some  way. 


Gene  therapy  may  result  in  the  alteration  of  the  gene  pool  by 
changing  gene  frequencies.  There  may  be  an  unfavourable 
alteration  of  gene  frequencies. 


Some  people  in  society  are  afraid  of  the  unknown.  The  concepts  of 
gene  therapy  are  generally  unknown;  hence,  people  may  be 
skeptical  of  this  type  of  treatment  and  protest  its  use. 


Some  people  have  extreme  views  on  gene  therapy:  the 
accommodation  of  extreme  views  may  prove  difficult  for  society  or 
people  holding  extreme  views  may  protest,  which  could  disrupt 


Any  other  societal  concern  (e.g,  prioritization  of  treatment). 

Note:  Societal  concerns  must  apply  to  the  society  as  a whole.  If 

some  people ’s  particular  religious  beliefs  or  convictions  can 
be  shown  to  be  important  to  the  society  in  general,  then  the 
beliefs  or  convictions  can  be  counted  as  possible  societal 


Sample  Open-Response  Question,  Suggested  Responses,  Scoring  Guides, 
and  Student  Responses  and  Rationales 

Use  the  following  information  to  answer  the  next  question. 


-from  W.H.  Freeman  and  Co.,  1993  -from  American  Association  for  the 

Advancement  of  Science,  1996 

The  child  above  has  retinoblastoma,  a retinal  cancer  that  can  be  fatal.  The  tumour  is  visible 
in  the  image  above. 

Childhood  tumours  of  the  retina  are  associated  with  the  inactivation  of  the  retinoblastoma 
gene.  Retinoblastoma  is  the  most  common  malignant  eye  tumour  of  childhood.  It  occurs  in 
about  1 in  20  000  live  births.  The  disorder  is  caused  by  tumour  cells  that  develop  in  one  or 
both  eyes  in  children  under  five  years  of  age.  It  is  usually  diagnosed  initially  by  a bright 
white  or  yellow  mass  in  the  pupillary  area  behind  the  lens. 

There  are  hereditary  and  non-hereditary  forms  of  retinoblastoma.  In  hereditary 
retinoblastoma,  there  is  a germ  cell  mutation  that  predisposes  the  individual  to  the 
development  of  the  retinal  tumour. 

Retinoblastoma  is  almost  uniformly  fatal  if  not  treated  in  its  early  stages.  Cancer  tumour  cells 
can  quickly  spread  throughout  the  body  to  form  new  tumours,  a process  called  metastasis. 
However,  with  early  diagnosis  and  modern  methods  of  treatment,  the  survival  rate  is  over 
90%  for  people  with  retinoblastoma. 

The  gene  responsible  for  the  hereditary  cases  of  retinoblastoma  is  found  on  chromosome  1 3 
and  is  believed  to  belong  to  a class  of  human  cancer  genes  that  are  regulatory  in  function. 
Retinoblastoma  results  when  a retinal  cell  of  an  individual  has  two  inactivated  versions  of  the 
gene.  However,  inheriting  only  one  copy  of  the  mutated  gene  increases  the  risk  of 
developing  the  disease.  The  second  mutated  gene  necessary  to  display  the  phenotype  arises 
by  random  mutation  (30%)  or  by  abnormal  crossing  over  during  mitosis  (70%).  The  normal 
protein  for  which  the  gene  codes  plays  a role  in  the  control  of  the  cell  cycle.  In  the  absence  of 
the  normal  protein,  a cell  will  continue  into  the  next  cell  division  without  an  opportunity  to 
become  quiescent.  This  uncontrolled  division  leads  to  cancer. 

I 2.  I Write  an  expository  composition  on  how  retinoblastoma  affects  a person, 
develops,  and  is  diagnosed,  and  explain  and  how  its  incidence  can  be 
reduced  in  a population. 

• Explain  how  retinoblastoma  could  interfere  with  the  normal  processes 
involved  in  sight.  Provide  the  necessary  details  of  the  physiology  of 
the  eye  and  brain. 

• Diagram  the  phases  of  the  cell  cycle  and  explain  how  the  cell  cycle 
would  be  affected  in  cells  of  an  individual  homozygous  for  the 
inactivated  regulatory  gene  associated  with  retinoblastoma. 


• Explain  genetic  counselling,  constructing  example  crosses  to  aid  in 
your  explanation,  or  explain  genetic  screening.  Explain  how  the 
information  gathered  by  either  genetic  counselling  or  genetic  screening 
could  be  used  to  help  reduce  the  incidence  of  retinoblastoma  in  the 

Illustration  Credits 

Photograph  on  left  from  An  Introduction  to  Genetic  Analysis  (W.H.  Freeman  and 
Company,  1993).  Reprinted  by  permission  of  Custom  Medical  Stock  Photo,  Inc. 

Photograph  on  right  reprinted  with  permission  from 

http;//  RBI.  Copyright  1996 
American  Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Science.  Readers  may  view, 
browse,  and/or  download  this  material  for  temporary  copying  purposes  only, 
provided  these  uses  are  for  non-commercial  personal  purposes.  Except  as 
provided  by  law,  this  material  may  not  be  further  reproduced,  distributed, 
transmitted,  modified,  adapted,  performed,  displayed,  published,  or  sold  in 
whole  or  in  part,  without  prior  written  permission  from  AAAS. 

Suggested  Responses 
Interference  with  Normal  Vision 

The  tumour  develops  in  and  among  the  retinal  cells  of  the  eye.  The  retina 
normally  changes  light  stimuli  into  electrical  impulses.  The  optic  nerve  then 
transmits  these  impulses  to  the  occipital  lobe  of  the  cerebrum,  which  interprets 
the  impulses  to  produce  sight.  The  tumour  therefore  results  in  blindness. 


A diagram  could  also  be  used  to  show  disruption  of  vision  by  the  tumour  and  of 
the  function  of  the  parts  involved. 


Some  students  may  identify  damage  to  the  vitreous  humour,  optic  nerve,  and/or 
choroid  coat,  as  well  as  to  the  retina.  (These  are  reasonable  hypotheses  based 
on  the  photograph  of  the  eye  showing  the  tumour  location.)  The  tumour 
obstructs  the  normal  function  of  these  parts  by  interfering  with  focussing,  neural 
transmission,  and/or  light  refraction,  respectively. 

Phases  of  the  Cell  Cycle  and  Disruption  by  the  Abnormal  Gene 

The  cell  cycle  diagram  should  be  complete  and  should  show  a relatively  long 
interphase.  (Interphase  may  be  divided  into  Gj,  S,  and  G2  phases,  but  this  is  not 


An  individual  who  is  homozygous  for  the  inactivated  cell  control  gene  will  not 
produce  a normal  protein  for  this  function.  The  cell  will  not  enter  interphase  or 
will  have  a shorter  interphase  because  of  the  missing  regulatory  or  control 
protein.  This  will  result  in  more  cell  reproduction  than  normal,  which  results  in 
a tumour.  Normally,  retinal  cells  only  divide  during  growth  of  a tissue  and  when 
replacing  damaged  cells.  During  interphase,  cells  carry  on  their  normal  cell 

Genetic  Counselling 

The  abnormal  allele  for  control  of  cell  division  in  the  retinal  cells  is  recessive. 
This  means  two  copies  are  necessary  to  display  the  phenotype  and  develop  the 
cancer  tumour.  However,  since  the  second  recessive  allele  usually  arises  in  the 
individual  because  of  a mutation  or  abnormal  mitosis,  only  one  copy  of  the 
abnormal  allele  is  necessary  for  increased  risk  of  developing  retinoblastoma. 


If  an  individual  has  retinoblastoma,  he  or  she  may  be  genotypically  homozygous 
for  the  abnormal  allele  or  only  some  of  the  retinal  cells  may  be  homozygous  for 
the  allele  and  the  rest  of  their  cells  may  be  heterozygous.  (A  heterozygous 
individual  can  develop  a second  mutated  allele  in  their  retinal  cells.  The 
heterozygous  state  is  a risk  factor.)  If  the  individual  marries  an  unaffected 
individual  (without  the  risk  factor),  the  probability  of  their  children  inheriting 
the  mutated  allele  is  shown  by  the  crosses  below. 

R - normal  allele 
r - abnormal  allele 


Heterozygous  Parent  Homozygous  Parent 

















In  this  case,  the  probability  is  that 
50%  of  the  children  will  have  the 
risk  factor  and  be  carriers  of  the 
abnormal  allele. 

In  this  case,  the  probability  is 
that  100%  of  the  children  will 
have  the  risk  factor  and  be 
carriers  of  the  abnormal 

Note:  This  is  a very  unusual  type  of  inheritance.  If  the  students  response 

indicates  a straight  recessive  inheritance  and  it  is  well  described,  the  response 
could  be  assigned  a 4.  If  an  understanding  of  “risk”  is  demonstrated,  the 
student  could  have  earned  a 5. 


Genetic  Screening 

Genetic  screening  could  be  used  to  determine  the  genotypes  of  the  parents  or  of  a 
fetus.  In  genetic  screening,  a biochemical  test  might  be  used  to  determine  if  the 
inactive  or  active  protein  coded  for  by  the  gene  was  present  in  an  individual ’s 
cells.  If  both  proteins  (normal  and  abnormal)  are  present,  the  individual  is  a 
carrier  of  the  risk  factor.  If  only  the  inactive  protein  is  present,  the  individual  is 
homozygous  for  the  disease  allele.  If  only  the  normal  protein  is  present,  the 
individual  is  homozygous  for  the  normal  allele,  and  therefore  is  not  at  risk, 

Complementary  DNA  probes  for  the  mutant  allele  DNA  code  and  for  the  normal 
allele  DNA  code  could  be  mixed  with  the  single  strand  DNA  of  a parent  or  a 
fetus.  If  both  types  of  DNA  bind  to  the  individual ’s  DNA,  the  individual  is  a 
carrier  for  the  disease  allele.  If  only  the  mutant  DNA  binds,  the  individual  is 
homozygous  for  the  disease  allele.  If  only  the  normal  DNA  binds,  the  individual 
is  free  of  the  disease  allele,  and  therefore  is  not  at  risk. 

Note:  Since  genetic  screening  can  be  used  to  determine  the  fetal  genotype,  a 
well-written  answer  would  not  require  crosses.  If  only  parental  genotypes  are 
determined  by  genetic  screening,  then  appropriate  crosses  should  be  shown. 

Reduction  of  the  Incidence  of  the  Disease 

In  order  to  reduce  the  incidence  of  retinoblastoma  in  the  population,  individuals 
affected  would  have  to  reduce  the  number  of  offspring  they  had  with  the  abnormal 
gene.  They  could  be  counselled  to  consider  adoption  or  to  remain  childless. 


Alternatively,  a method  of  identifying  the  risk  gene  through  amniocentesis  and 
DNA  analysis  using  markers  could  be  used  to  identify  carrier  fetuses  that  could 
then  be  aborted  or  treated  earlier  to  reduce  the  effects  of  the  disease. 


If  a parent  is  heterozygous,  in  vitro  fertilization  could  be  used  and  only  unaffected 
embryos  (identified  by  genetic  screening)  would  be  implanted  in  the  uterus. 




Scoring  Criteria 



• A specific  structure  (e.g.,  the  retina)  is  logically  linked,  using  appropriate  scientific 
vocabulary,  to  the  tumour  location,  its  normal  Action,  and  the  disruption  of  the 
structure  by  the  tumour. 

• The  pathway  of  conversion  of  light  into  electrical  impulses  that  travel  through  the  optic 
nerve  to  the  occipital  lobe  of  the  cerebrum  for  interpretation  is  clearly  explained. 

• A clear  diagram  of  the  cell  cycle  showing  mitosis,  cytokenesis,  and  interphase  (or  G^, 
Sj,  G2)  is  drawn.  Interphase  is  significantly  longer  than  mitosis. 

• A logical  explanation  links  the  abnormal  genes  to  an  abnormal  regulatory  protein  and  to 
a shortened  interphase,  which  results  in  a tumour. 



• A specific  structure  is  linked,  using  some  appropriate  vocabulary,  to  the  tumour 
location,  its  normal  function,  and  the  disruption  to  it  by  the  tumour. 

• The  pathway  from  the  sensory  structures  to  the  optic  nerve  to  the  cerebrum  of  the  brain 
is  described. 

• A clear  diagram  of  the  cell  cycle  showing  mitosis,  cytokenesis,  interphase  or  mitosis, 
and  Gj,  S,  and  G2  (divisions  of  interphase)  is  drawn. 

• An  explanation  links  the  abnormal  genes/abnormal  proteins  to  a shortened  interphase, 
which  results  in  a tumour. 



• A structure  of  the  eye  is  named  and  its  function  is  described.  A link  to  the  tumour  and 
abnormal  vision  is  suggested. 

• The  function  of  the  cerebrum  of  the  brain  in  interpreting  vision  or  the  function  of  the 
optic  nerve  in  transmitting  information  to  the  brain  is  described. 

• A diagram  of  the  cell  cycle  showing  mitosis  and  interphase  is  drawn. 

• A link  between  the  abnormal  gene  and  a shortened  interphase  or  continuous  cell 
division  is  suggested. 



• A structure  of  the  eye  that  is  disrupted  is  identified,  or  a disruption  to  the  eye  is 

• The  tumour’s  role  in  disrupting  the  pathway  of  information  to  the  brain  is  suggested. 

• A diagram  of  the  cell  cycle  is  attempted. 

• Abnormal  cell  division  is  linked  to  cancer. 


• Only  one  of  the  four  bullets  is  addressed. 

INSUFFICIENT  is  a special  category.  It  is  not  an  indication  of  quality.  It  should  be  assigned  to  papers  that 
do  not  contain  a discernible  attempt  to  address  the  issue  presented  in  the  assignment  or  that  are  too  brief  to 
assess  in  this  or  any  other  scoring  category. 




Scoring  Criteria 



• Genetic  counselling  is  described  for  individuals  of  varying  genotypes.  The  concept  of  risk 
is  addressed.  At  least  two  crosses  (with  correctly  identified  allele  symbols)  that  support 
the  genetic  counselling  are  shown. 


A genetic  screening  technique  that  addresses  the  concept  of  risk  for  parental  genotype 
crosses  or  for  fetal  genotype  results  is  well  described. 

• A method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the  disease  allele  is  identified,  and  the  way  in 
which  it  will  reduce  the  incidence  of  the  disease  is  explained. 



• Appropriate  genetic  counselling  is  described  and  one  supporting  cross  is  shown. 


An  appropriate  genetic  screening  technique  is  described. 

• A method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the  disease  allele  is  identified,  and  the  way  in 
which  it  will  reduce  the  incidence  of  disease  is  suggested. 



• Appropriate  genetic  counselling  is  partially  described  or  an  appropriate  cross  is  partially 


Appropriate  genetic  screening  is  partially  described. 

• A method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the  disease  allele  is  identified. 



• A description  of  genetic  counselling  is  attempted. 


One  appropriate  cross  is  attempted. 


An  explanation  of  genetic  screening  is  attempted. 

• A method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the  disease  allele  is  suggested. 



• Only  one  of  the  two  bullets  is  addressed,  and  it  is  scored  as  either  Satisfactory  or  Limited. 

: >r  'V-  ' ' -?V  / ""  . '-f:' : , ' ;^;: 

y:  It  is  not  an  indication  of  quality.  It  should  be  assigned  to  papers  that  do 

1.1 ^ i j ..u i ^ — * — ^1.  ™ brief  to  assess  in 

' ' 

not  contain  a discernible  attempt  to  address  the  issue  presented  in  the  assignment  or  that  are  too  brief 
this  or  any  category. 


Student  Sample  1 



fAe..J.^5;...Aw.cJ hifjjtM. 



cye...a.ol...foi;/i^.l.s: ±o......±h^. brmn..0i.T.h.e....n^e 

l.5.^.....<^./:r....i;A<?.o kii£rp£d.^i.....iy....i.Jb.f 

Qcdflf^.1 {oke...c£....ih^^^  


ife Ien£ k)a^ed:io2<^A^^^^^ 

.h (^h^CfAC^i 

iadh.h....<:£/l k<<^ieJ 

...on ib£.....C..b..C.QmQ>.9^n^..l b/.QM.i.d^^A.. 

..ta...the....p.e.^i....^M£/^i:./p.o....o£.....j^^^  a.fii^':..... 

€d.l..^.Jh:i.^....  •w<2m1  J ^..c.^A 

i.A.^....c£.M.^ tilfyjA. 


fy.}.^.s:!t.l.o(\ ,4.:5€.U.?:f. 


Science  Content  Score  - 4 

Scoring  Guide 

Bullet  Score  Rationale 

1 5 

This  student  gives  a very  good  explanation  of  how 
retinoblastoma  affects  the  normal  processes  involved  in 

2 5 

He/she  makes  reference  to  rods  and  cones  within  the  retina 
and  explains  that  impulses  are  formed  there.  The  student 
then  mentions  that  the  impulse  is  transmitted  to  the  brain 
(occipital  lobe)  by  way  of  the  optic  nerve.  It  is  logical  that 
if  light  cannot  stimulate  the  photoreceptors,  a disruption  of 
vision  results. 

3 2 

For  the  portion  of  the  question  dealing  with  the  cell  cycle, 
the  student  has  included  interphase  and  the  phases  of 
mitosis.  A brief  description  of  what  is  happening  in  each  of 
the  phases  is  given.  However,  there  is  no  indication  of  how 
much  time  is  spent  in  interphase  as  compared  with  mitosis, 
which  is  an  important  point.  According  to  the  student’s 
diagrams,  it  would  appear  that  more  time  is  spent  in  mitosis. 
The  student  should  indicate  that  much  more  time  is  spent  in 
interphase  (90%)  than  in  mitosis.  A cell  cycle  diagram  is 
not  provided. 

4 2 

The  student  fails  to  make  the  connection  between  the 
shortened  interphase  and  cancer.  The  student  does  mention 
that  the  cells  divide  more  rapidly,  which  is  a characteristic 
of  cancer.  This  point  can  be  considered  as  a link  to  cancer. 

Total  = 

= 14  14/4  = 3.50  Score  = 4 

Technology  and  Society  Score  - Insufficient 

The  student  did  not  address  the  issues  of  genetic  counselling,  risk,  crosses, 
and/or  genetic  screening.  There  was  no  attempt  made  to  explain  or  suggest 
how  the  information  gathered  could  be  used  to  reduce  the  incidence  of 
retinoblastoma  in  the  population. 

Final  Score 

4(2)  = 8/10  Science 

0/5  Technolosv  and  Society 
8/15  Final  Score 

Note:  If  this  student  had  addressed  the  Technology  and  Society  portion  of 

the  question,  he  or  she  would  have  done  much  better  overall  on  the 
question.  It  is  very  important  that  students  do  all  parts  of  the  question. 


Student  Sample  2 

Ec;i.(op.b.la3.k>Tr).c^ .a. idoiO-cU.. CiLnc.Q!^... 

cb.V.^ov?.^. Jta^  

1/^. M. .^......i.kQ:tb 

:9?X.!C0. ft.. 

....QLa&.A i^:...M....te:.<^.E?^.....CQ.u^c( QO...ib.e<..V./^/m..o£..±b.-^. 

iJJitla .0. 


...s2DJfX)l UladDt^.^... It !4 x^imp.QJo.i^...t(U.d.....±?.^L.....c>.ty 

....jCodd bL.....CM.txMi;. .lhe< kw'7).0ir.I.C.c.CAid ais2. 

i.i. hPid.....ib 

...l^....iD......^ .doib and. b\ 



....Uaj.'D. \£.....a'tkdcdj. Mt.....c^4al....^.^.^^ 00.(U^....DQi. dL..aJd.L.±>. 

..Mcb'PD p.mpe/k ocQ/ffitu.. b/.x..MlL 


±i sJ.aJcx.p.rU....'^.c 

h i)Qdw.)(.'daa.(^^^  

..j£)Mi(Vj^.fM\\:^m):^ .uj.i.i.\ .C.<xio.Cfiy: u^d 6r.'§t....<5?....«?Ui., 

..'M. cmt d£ r^^tifm. .tt 

.abfmnol pmph.<? 

.....i^v.ij:)C). LD.duMd.mi. u).tl:t.....dt^.o.....iMchli/.(^ 

..rdimb.lajto.![ioCl....^i/^^  /3,. 

...b.-k.^.....ft>.ou..Ld Mb..QD. CDnti.a.^.t 'dhr.ou^K. 

..U'.d.aoi:xi^.e.v anaphase o/?.d d&./.0p.b.(UL,...^.6....Lfj^.. 

..:OJ.^./.......oa^ MouJ.d. 

....cQaio.ujM.% .'ft'..c^..t. (Mi.tK.o..{d.d..... ...ajx).(d.. t^dui. 

...Ct(.(^:d^(ick uJb.^. hibD.tu....(Lr^hecd(^^  

...iPf.J.1 M d^A.j..doj:t^.hj. 

..±bc 4>.r.iD.cwir<:>.?s-......c£ ^3L M^ '^hM(?2or>. 

Dd.d.2£x:!^f^Mn}.c^ .be. dane :k?.....M:Ln.d. 

.OLb. rf .ooe /a bQmo.2^^^^ 

..fev an.i^....>S..^.Yx^::0tv 

.Lit.pctss.ed pbcm^pib^LWu/... lhmik^A.....f&ac.dc. 

...c.cwet.(lir>4....d .c.<?:.<?.....d!^.....dsyd^:bub.i?.b 

p.)TDk3QJb).)i't^....ySi.....Cf....(X^.^^^^^  .Of/^(MC.....'^ 

....'MaL....<eSsf?/:<:n^..‘. fPr.....<zxaxnpt. j£ LC.!z.iPc.....(.o.4^..c.t/y^'^^ 

...xt<b’QPb/£KStoiD.CL .Qenc^ :M^.j.....u}.be.D.....M^....b&t^^^ 

l^Dda.v./.d.tW^ .DL.CL 

.tmy..{n.§.....a ch/..l.d....ulb.o. 


...<^..<x.. .(d. iL am.te.r....../.L^.L..d!.....df:..<^^^^^  .:.. 

....ct.too..t/u^i?.-22a.._...'3^.f  .y-^.^...../.^. a....I.T.Z 

....^ .m c££s:^A.o.^\M^^^^ &.orn....MP.. 

...hamm^ifp l.iib^u.yj.bdy'^S.. 0).b.cri....(? 

...^t.u^«.ce....^E....dt).L§2...':ib.ev.....c^  .^'^. 






MplL..aM....CCu\ m.....A(tpMLd. fe ±aai.. 


...uiill hL. 

iit  numter  oi  of  rtZ/oobk^iom- 

Science  Content  Score  - 3 

Scoring  Guide 

Bullet  Score  Rationale 

1 5 This  student  gives  a logical  explanation  as  to  how 

retinoblastoma  affects  the  normal  processes  involved  in 
sight.  The  student  mentions  three  structures  associated 
with  vision:  the  rods  and  cones,  the  optic  nerve,  and  the 
occipital  lobe. 

2 4 The  student  describes  the  pathway  of  conversion  of  light 

into  electrical  impulses.  Rods,  cones,  the  fovea,  the  optic 
nerve,  and  the  occipital  lobe  are  mentioned,  but  the 
explanation  is  vague. 

3 0 A diagram  of  the  cell  cycle  is  not  provided. 

4 3 The  student  indicates  that  because  of  the  retinoblastoma 

gene,  control  over  the  cell  cycle  would  be  lost  and  a 
malignant  tumour  would  result.  No  link  was  made  to  an 
abnormal  regulatory  protein  or  shortened  interphase. 

Total  = 12  12/4  = 3.00  Mark  = 3 

Technology  and  Society  Score  - 5 

Scoring  Guide 

Bullet  Score  Rationale 

1 4 The  student  indicates  that  through  genetic  counselling,  it  is 

possible  to  determine  the  probability  of  passing  on  the 
disease  to  offspring.  One  cross  involving  two  heterozygous 
individuals  is  performed,  and  the  idea  of  increased  risk  in 
the  heterozygous  condition  is  presented. 

2 5 A method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the  disease  allele 

based  on  information  gathered  is  identified  (not  having 
children,  treatment).  An  explanation  of  how  this  method 
will  reduce  the  incidence  of  the  disease  is  given. 

Total  = 9 9/2  = 4.5  Mark  = 5 

Final  Score 

3(2)  = 6/10  Science 

5/5  Technology  and  Society 

11/15  Final  Score 

Note:  This  student  did  an  excellent  job  on  the  Technology  and  Society  part 
of  the  response.  However,  the  Science  section  is  worth  twice  the 
amount  of  marks  toward  the  student’s  overall  mark. 


Student  Sample  3 


1.^9.! X^?.).^.....w?.?*^!.f^....d:6;.?if:....D.^^ 

..prc^.c^e fBypl)^d...M!ch....9}S^.\ .b^M!?.c 


C(?.h!®M4? C^.P.9.^S. ^i...5?.r.!.P.!/.?. 

jmmir.mmt oI .^i^.h£ 

.ai....if:.$ Sx^c, 

.9^...3b.^.....j:^!.>^!^ OQ.t ,.iA^<k propc+:l'^ /.»}. 


..+1^. 3on\gr_(/jg\ji4.^^^^^  

r<3??($ <?..c&....M.9^....f.p...^. ct:>i9.ic.../?^vA....,si}!?^d 


.d3^..d9...Ab^....}^y?^  f}!k}:{....0.!^....Mt..... 

..b.t>.pi:i.(VJ.i(^ tl^h :t.hfk....bL?sl.n ypflLdd:. 



Cf^cOj^  \f^  


.miMis. d,...!^..M.2, 6Vrh^f.. 








..A^.fcxj^^....'. h/d3yj 



..a^^.....^ 0.0.^.. iLj.^....0dv.M}t^.UL..Ip. /^!.^*:!.t/.£y. 

...±^r.(.^.....M....^^^^^  k.chn<j^i.u^S.....c^. C<id^<x^. 

l^i^j^eJir  g£ d^ih§.....Q^^.^d 

Science  Content  Score  - 4 

Scoring  Guide 

Bullet  Score  Rationale 

1 5 This  student  logically  linked  specific  structures  (retina, 

rods,  cones)  to  the  tumour  location,  normal  fimction,  and 
disruption  made  by  the  tumour. 

2 3 The  student  stated  the  tumour’s  role  in  disrupting  the 

pathway  of  information  to  the  brain.  Rods  and  cones, 
sensory  nerves,  and  the  brain  are  used  to  explain  the 
disruption.  The  cerebrum,  occipital  lobe,  and  optic  nerve 
are  not  identified,  nor  is  the  interpretation  of  vision 

3 4 The  student’s  diagram  of  the  cell  cycle  shows  interphase 

and  mitosis.  Interphase  represents  a larger  portion  of  the 
diagram  than  does  mitosis  — an  important  point.  The 
student  incorrectly  identifies  Ml  and  M2  (likely  meant  G1 
and  G2)  as  being  a part  of  interphase,  but  does  say  that 
replication  of  DNA  occurs  during  the  S phase.  Cytokinesis 
is  not  mentioned. 

4 3 Abnormal  cell  division  is  linked  to  cancer.  No  link  was 

made  to  the  abnormal  regulatory  protein.  However,  a link 
to  the  gene  is  suggested  when  the  student  indicates  that 
because  mitosis  is  occurring  at  a faster  rate  with  a shortened 
interphase,  a tumour  would  develop. 

Total  = 15  15/4  = 3.75  Mark  = 4 

Technology  and  Society  Score  - 1 

Scoring  Guide 




1 &2 


An  explanation  of  genetic  counselling  is  attempted.  No 


crosses  are  performed,  and  no  method  for  decreasing  the 
incidence  of  the  disease  allele  is  given.  The  student  states 
that  it  is  possible  to  figure  out  the  risk  of  a couple  having  an 
affected  child  but  does  not  go  beyond  this  statement. 

Final  Score  4(2)  = 8/10  Science 

1/5  Technology  and  Society 

9/15  Final  Score 


Student  Sample  4 

Q,..XOJ{]^L/]m^  boiVi. 


.MSoLf^. i? mi \n k> 




..M\^(iL.d^...^e.^. tckKioOi. .up......pL)(:i....j(2f. ftt.:..d) 

...4^.....„^ r£fer^.>...ojbdi  can .Mqcd;.... 


...Iv:Lp.Gl£!S. b.^.....b\.QLk\A^ .t>.CsVV\JL- 

...o\\ c4" 


...:p.xx.f2CA.Ytd GT\ .fekL .y:d:im....3^iL.....c^ 

...Yv.e'i.Wt. cc^xsle5  La2.Gu^ 

te. .Wr. xbSL. pK<2oM:.^. 

' 'fc onlu.... 0nJt .e^lkikkds, .141 1 1 


W.5tll.iA i 

...^£rc£|)fei3in kl^ oU^22t^.y....u^^  Ct^.tAJ)res 

...,A5 &....£& 

..C£j!is.S?Ce^pXO.dUMJL.™^  £LuXC<ibU^’....iU-^j^i-A, 

Mmmcd.......xtLls.,..fu.tiL^  0iI..xi6L~....M 

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Science  Content  Score  - 3 

Scoring  Guide 

Bullet  Score  Rationale 

This  student  logically  linked  specific  structures  (retina, 
optic  nerve,  fovea)  to  the  tumour  location,  normal  function, 
and  the  disruption  made  by  the  tumour. 

The  student’s  description  of  the  pathway  of  conversion  of 
light  into  electrical  impulses  has  gaps.  Rods,  cones,  or 
sensory  receptors  are  not  directly  mentioned.  (The  fovea  is 
identified.)  The  occipital  lobe  is  not  identified.  The  link  is 
made  that  the  optic  nerve  carries  the  affected  images  to  the 
cerebrum  for  interpretation. 

The  student  attempts  a diagram  of  the  cell  cycle.  Interphase 
is  not  shown.  The  student  appears  to  equate  “Cell  Cycle” 
with  “mitosis  of  retinoblastoma  cells”  in  the  title  above  the 

The  student  states  that  the  DNA  of  the  retinoblastoma  cells 
would  result  in  the  production  of  abnormal  proteins  and  that 
cancer  would  result  through  accelerated  cell  division. 

Total  = 13  13/4  = 3.25  Mark  = 3 


Technology  and  Society  Score  - 3 

Scoring  Guide 

Bullet  Score  Rationale 

1 4 The  student  performs  a cross  involving  a “normal” 

individual  and  a heterozygous  individual.  The  Punnett 
square  is  correct;  however,  the  interpretation  of  the  results 
is  not  quite  correct.  The  student  has  indicated  that  there  is  a 
50%  chance  of  retinoblastoma  occurring  when,  in  fact,  50% 
of  the  children  will  have  the  risk  factor  and  be  carriers  of 
the  abnormal  allele. 

2 2 A method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the  disease  is 

suggested.  The  explanation  “DNA  reconstruction  maybe 
could  be  done  in  the  Future”  is  not  definitive  enough  to 
merit  a 3.  (A  method  for  decreasing  the  incidence  of  the 
disease  allele  is  identified.)  Also,  the  student  does  not 
explain  how  “monitoring  individuals”  so  that  the  disease 
can  be  “caught  early”  will  eliminate  the  disease. 

Total  = 6 6/2  = 3.0  Mark  = 3 

Final  Score  3(2)  = 6/10  Science 

3/5  Technology  and  Society 

9/15  Final  Score 

An  important  point  to  note  about  the  scoring  guide  is  that  a score  of 
1 is  awarded  if  only  one  of  the  four  bullets  making  up  the  Science 
Scoring  Guide  for  the  question  is  answered.  Even  if  the  student 
receives  a very  high  score  on  the  first  bullet,  he  or  she  will  receive  a 
score  of  1 because  he  or  she  has  not  addressed  the  three  other  bullets 
(3/4  of  the  question).  For  the  Technology  and  Society  Scoring 
Guide,  a score  of  1 is  given  if  only  one  of  the  two  bullets  is 
addressed  and  it  is  scored  as  either  3 satisfactory  or  2 limited.  If 
more  than  one  bullet  is  addressed  by  the  student,  the  student 
automatically  receives  a score  of  2 or  higher  for  the  answer. 

General  Comments  About  the  New  Open-Response  Scoring  Guide 

The  difference  between  an  answer  receiving  a score  of  2,  3,  4,  or  5, 
on  either  scale,  depends  on  the  amount  of  detail  that  is  supplied  in 
the  answer,  the  clarity  of  the  communication,  and  whether  the 
student  addresses  all  portions  of  the  question.  If  the  student  is  able 
to  support  his  or  her  answer  through  the  use  of  diagrams,  appropriate 
vocabulary,  and  technologies,  then  a higher  score  is  assigned. 




Students  can  turn  a poor  answer  into  an  excellent  one  by  addressing 
each  aspect  of  the  question  specifically. 

For  example,  one  part  of  the  retinoblastoma  question  required 
students  to  “Provide  the  necessary  details  of  the  physiology  of  the 
eye  and  brain.” 

In  student  sample  3 (page  24),  the  student  gave  the  following 

“Cones  and  rods  are  used  to  see  color  and  shades  of  grey 
respectively.  The  different  images  they  receive  are  transmitted 
to  sensory  nerves  and  then  to  the  brain.” 

An  excellent  response  would  be  more  detailed  and  specific,  as  in  the 
following  example. 

Light  stimulates  the  cones  (high-intensity  light)  and  rods  (low- 
intensity  light)  thereby  permitting  colour  vision  and  vision  in 
shades  of  black  and  grey,  respectively.  The  rods  and  cones  act 
as  sensory  receptors.  Once  excited  by  light,  they  stimulate 
impulses  in  the  optic  nerve.  The  optic  nerve  carries  the  impulses 
to  the  occipital  lobe  of  the  cerebrum  where  they  are  interpreted. 

Weinberg  Calculations 

The  January  1999  written-response  question  2 asked  students  to 
calculate  the  frequency  of  a particular  allele  and  the  percentage  of  a 
given  population  that  are  carriers.  The  question  also  required 
students  to  show  their  work.  Two  examples  of  hypothetical 
students’  responses  are  presented  below.  These  show  common 
errors  in  communication  and  the  mark,  out  of  5,  that  each  student 
would  have  received  for  their  answers.  The  information  given  was 
that  1/40  000  individuals  in  the  population  have  the  autosomal 
recessive  disorder. 

Hypothetical  response  1: 

^ 40  000 


The  frequency  of  the  allele  is  0.25% 

p = 1-0.25 
p = 0.75 

2pq  = 2(0.75)(0.25)  = 0.375 

The  percentage  of  carriers  in  the  population  is  37.5%. 

This  student’s  initial  error  is  to  confuse  the  frequency  of  the  disorder 
with  the  frequency  of  the  recessive  allele.  It  is  a common  error  for 
students  to  incorrectly  use  the  allele  frequency  for  the  disorder 
frequency  and  vice  versa.  Students  should  be  comfortable  doing 


calculations  using  both  types  of  starting  data.  Phenotypic  evidence 
can  be  used  to  determine  the  frequency  of  a disorder.  Genetic 
screening  tests,  if  available,  can  be  used  to  determine  the  frequency 
of  an  allele. 

Although  this  student’s  first  calculation  is  incorrect,  the  second 
calculation,  using  the  incorrect  value  for  p is  correct.  Therefore,  this 
student  would  have  received  a 3/5  for  the  communication  and 

Hypothetical  response  2: 

^ 40  000 

q = 0.005 
p = 1 - ^ = 0.75 
/ = 0.99 

2pq  = 2(0.005X0.995)  = 0.00995 

Although  this  student’s  mathematical  communication  is  accurate,  he 
or  she  failed  to  state  the  answer  to  the  second  part  of  the  question, 
which  required  students  to  “calculate  the  percentage  of  the 
population  that  are  carriers.”  (Answer:  Approximately  1.0%  of  the 
population  are  carriers).  The  marker  is  therefore  unsure  of  whether 
the  student  knows  the  meaning  of  the  mathematical  symbols  he  or 
she  is  using.  This  student  would  have  received  a 4/5  for  this  portion 
of  the  answer. 

Implementation  of  the  New  Open-Response  Scoring  Guide 

NEW  The  new  scoring  guide  was  implemented  in  the  February  marking 

session  of  the  January  1999  Diploma  Examination.  This  marking 
session  provided  positive  evidence  that  the  new  scoring  system  is 
fair  to  students,  reliable,  provides  additional  information  for  students 
and  educators,  and  effectively  differentiates  different  levels  of 
student  achievement. 

The  scoring  system  uses  two  scales,  one  for  science  and  one  for 
technology  and  society.  Jurisdiction  and  school  reports  provide 
information  on  student  performance  for  both  scales.  In  conjunction  with 
the  examination  itself,  these  reports  can  be  used  to  better  interpret 
specific  areas  of  student  strengths  and  weakness.  Teachers  surveyed 
during  the  February  marking  session  felt  the  new  information  available 
with  this  scoring  guide  would  be  helpful  in  analyzing  results.  The 
provincial  results  from  the  January  1999  Diploma  Examination  can  be 
used  to  illustrate  this.  The  technology  and  society  scale  results  for  the 
question  revealed  a higher  proportion  of  no  responses  and  zeros  and  a 
lower  average  than  the  science  scale  results.  Many  students  had 


difficulty  attempting  Hardy-Weinberg  calculations  and  were  not  able  to 
describe  technologies  or  societal  factors  that  might  be  reasonable 
solutions  to  the  problem  stated.  This  is  an  area  of  the  curriculum  that 
teachers  in  the  province  could  target  for  improved  learning  strategies  for 
students.  However,  there  was  a higher  proportion  of  students  receiving 
perfect  scores  on  this  scale  than  on  the  science  scale.  This  result 
suggests  targeting  these  strategies  to  students  at  the  acceptable  standard 
of  achievement  rather  than  students  achieving  at  the  standard  of 
excellence.  Individual,  school,  and  jurisdiction  reports  would  enable 
educators  to  determine  if  these  were  problem  learning  areas  for  their 
group  of  students. 

The  division  of  the  scoring  criteria  into  two  scales  with  five 
divisions  each  provides  more  information  to  students  and  teachers 
on  how  to  achieve  an  acceptable  or  excellent  standard  of 
achievement  on  this  portion  of  the  exam.  The  increased  number  of 
divisions  produces  more  identifiable  steps  for  improvement.  The 
scoring  guides  for  each  examination  are  available  on  the  Internet  to 
teachers  and  students  and  could  be  used  to  evaluate  students’  ability 
to  answer  this  type  of  question  and  then  illustrate  what  would  be 
required  to  improve  their  score.  The  greater  number  of  divisions  in 
the  scale  should  allow  students  to  identify  a reasonable  improvement 

Teachers  surveyed  during  the  February  marking  session  felt  that  the 
new  scoring  guide  was  fair  to  students.  Many  commented  that  the 
scoring  criteria  described  students’  achievement  better  than  the  one- 
scale,  four-point  scoring  system  that  was  replaced.  Students  were 
less  likely  to  have  responses  that  fell  between  the  achievement  levels 
described.  A very  low  third-read  rate  (less  that  1%)  in  February 
supports  the  teachers’  comments  that  student  achievement  was 
assessed  consistently  and  fairly  using  this  scoring  method. 

Marks  ranging  from  0/15  to  15/15  were  awarded  using  this  scoring 
method.  The  one-scale,  four-point  scoring  system  only  allowed  eight 
different  marks  to  be  assigned  to  students  based  on  the  quality  of 
their  responses.  (The  Examiners'  Report  for  January  1999,  available 
to  teachers  on  the  extranet  provides  a graph  of  the  distribution  of 
these  marks  on  the  January  1999  examination.)  The  new  scoring 
system  was  very  effective  in  differentiating  students’  levels  of 



' ) 

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