Dear Parents & Guardians of Biology Students,

All scientists explore their specialties with similar skills and practices. Whether one is studying medicine, water quality, space, or extinction - all scientists use a similar language to hypothesize, investigate, and explain.  Mastering these skills and practices allows one to move between scientific topics more successfully and prepare students more realistically for a range of scientific (and non-scientific) careers.

The following eight skills, as well as Content & Life Skills, will be used, practiced multiple times and assessed with feedback throughout the year.

1. Asking questions & defining problems

6. Constructing explanations & designing solutions

2. Developing and using models

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

3. Planning investigations

4. Carrying out investigations

8. Evaluating Sources of Information

9. Content Standard

5. Analyzing and interpreting data

10. Life Skills Standard

At the end of the semester or upon completing all practice opportunities for each Biology Science Skill, students will individually select the best example of their work and learning for each of the eight Science Skills.  These selections will be used to determine a student’s final grade at the end of the semester.  Prior to the end of the semester, grades displayed in Synergy will be a demonstration of a student’s current understanding and knowledge of each particular skill; some assignments in Synergy may be marked “Not for Grading” in order to highlight the most recent progress towards each skill.  

Final grades will be calculated using the following requirements.  Percentages in Synergy should be ignored and proficiency levels will be delineated by the following: Exceeds (4), Meets (3), Nearly Meets (2), and Beginning (1).






Overall proficiency of Exceeds in 5 of 10 standards (science skills not included)

No nearly meets or beginnings

Overall proficiency of Meets or Exceeds  in at least 7 standards

No more than 3 Nearly Meets

No Beginnings 

Overall proficiency of Meets in at least 5 standards

No more than 1 Beginnings 

No more than 3 Beginnings

4 or more Beginnings 

Insufficient Evidence: Standards not attempted.