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Chemistry Departments iGCSE Assessment Guidebook (DRAFT)

Basically there are these main standardised ways we assess students achievement
1. End of topic tests (using only questions from CIE past exam papers)
2. Practical write up (based on the IB
a. Design
b. Data collection and processing
c. Conclusion and evaluation
3. Essays, using a rubric based on the extended essay rubric
4. Mini-symposia focusing on ToK, using a rubric based on the one issued for the ToK presentation
5. Other less formal systems like directed questioning in class, class participation, manipulative skills
during practicals, ability to work within a team in practicals, verbal communication skills in class
For the practical write ups and the essays the students should be given a chance to improve their work based
on your feedback so they learn more deeply where they are going wrong and how they can improve to produce
the best work possible. It is therefore very useful to see these excercises very much as formative assessment
rather than summative, if they get it wrong, you should tell them and then they should be given the
opportunity to fix it.

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iGCSE Chemistry Literature Review and Essay Marking Scheme

There are two categories, relating to either Chemistry or to Scientific writing.

Each of these different skills can be awarded a Complete (2/2) a Partially complete (1/2) or a Not at all (0/2). In
exceptional circumstances the teacher can award a Distinction (3/2) for a particular category, which means it is
possible to get more than 100% on these essays!

Usually only one category (either 1, chemistry or 2, scientific writing) will be assessed for a given piece of work
at any one time (a merit to the first student to spot this), but your use of English will almost always be assessed
for every essay.
1. Demonstrating an Understanding of Chemistry (UC)

a) Knowledge
Describes, states or lists relevant information relating to the topic covered by the title.
b) Understanding
Relates the information they have given to a larger idea and uses their understanding of chemistry to EXPLAIN
most or all of the information they have provided.
c) Analysis/Conclusion
Uses the information that they have provided to identify or explain any trends or larger ideas that this
information supports.
d) Syllabus/subject relevance
Does not include irrelevant material and in addition, clearly demonstrates an awareness of the topics relationship
to chemistry, e.g. by including correct and relevant chemical equations or by drawing appropriate and labeled
e) Correct word count
Stays within 20% of the word limit, or if you go over, only includes ideas which are essential to the argument
and does not go over by too much. Most of the highest scoring essays will be within the word limit.

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2. Demonstrating an understanding of good Scientific Writing (SciW)

a) Research
Uses three or more sources of information and provides a complete bibliography.
b) Depth
The essay is to an appropriate depth considering the word limit; it EXPLAINS one particular idea very well,
rather than listing just lots of related but different ideas.
c) Insight and originality
Choses an unusual or interesting topic to base the essay around, or uses an unusual and interesting approach to
their essay.
d) Flair
Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the subject that goes well beyond the syllabus and whilst exploring
larger ideas, is obviously aware of the syllabus.
e) Tone
Uses the correct tone for a scientific essay. Assumes the reader understands the basics of chemistry, e.g. elements
and electrons (has iGCSE knowledge), but explains any vocabulary beyond that.
f) Correct word count
Stays within 20% of the word limit, or if you go over, only includes ideas which are essential to the argument
and does not go over by too much. Most of the highest scoring essays will be within the word limit.
Demonstrating an understanding of good English

You will, in addition to either of the assessment categories above also be assessed on your English, each of
these can be either, Complete (1/1) or Not at all (0/1). A merit to the first student to spot this.Your typical essay
then can either be out of 13 marks for category 1 or 15 marks for category 2. Sometimes you will be required to
write a longer essay that covers both categories and so will be out of 28 marks.
a) Use of correct vocabulary
Vocabulary, especially keywords, are correctly used and defined where necessary
b) Use of correct grammar
Uses grammar correctly
c) Flow of ideas
Good use of punctuation and the essay flows well, with a recognizable beginning, middle and end. Repetition of
synonyms is avoided and there is a comfortable feel to the style of language used (i.e. magniloquence is avoided)

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Checking Notes in Exercise Books

Not at all
Partially complete
Neat and tidy
Clear writing
Full notes
All work stuck into the

Total Score: /12
Score 0-4 5-8 9-12 Above 12
Possible AtL on report 4 3 2 1

Checking Notes in Exercise Books

Not at all
Partially complete
Neat and tidy
Clear writing
Full notes
All work stuck into the

Total Score: /12
Score 0-4 5-8 9-12 Above 12
Possible AtL on report 4 3 2 1

Checking Notes in Exercise Books

Not at all
Partially complete
Neat and tidy
Clear writing
Full notes
All work stuck into the

Total Score: /12
Score 0-4 5-8 9-12 Above 12
Possible AtL on report 4 3 2 1

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Presentation Rubric (Adapted from ToK)
A Identification of knowledge issue
Did the presentation identify a relevant knowledge issue involved, implicit or embedded in a real-life situation?

Descriptor Achievement level

Level 1 was not achieved. 0
The presentation referred to a knowledge issue but it was irrelevant to the real-life situation
under consideration. 12
The presentation identified a knowledge issue that was in some ways relevant to the real-life situation
under consideration. 34
The presentation identified a knowledge issue that was clearly relevant to the real-life situation
under consideration. 5

B Treatment of knowledge issues
Did the presentation show a good understanding of knowledge issues, in the context of the real-life situation?

Descriptor Achievement level
Level 1 was not achieved. 0
The presentation showed some understanding of knowledge issues. 12
The presentation showed an adequate understanding of knowledge issues 34
The presentation showed a good understanding of knowledge issues. 5
C Knower's perspective
Did the presentation, particularly in the use of arguments and examples, show an individual approach
and demonstrate the significance of the topic?

Descriptor Achievement level
Level 1 was not achieved. 0
The presentation, in its use of arguments and examples or otherwise, showed limited personal
involvement and did not demonstrate the significance of the topic. 12
The presentation, in its use of arguments and examples or otherwise, showed some personal
involvement and adequately demonstrated the significance of the topic. 34
The presentation, in its distinctively personal use of arguments and examples or otherwise, showed
clear personal involvement and fully demonstrated the significance of the topic. 5
D Connections
Did the presentation give a balanced account of how the topic could be approached from different perspectives?
Did the presentation show how the positions taken on the knowledge issues would have implications in
related areas?
In awarding the higher achievement levels, the emphasis should be more on the quality of the consideration
of connections than on the quantity of connections mentioned.
Descriptor Achievement level
Level 1 was not achieved. 0
The presentation explored at least two different perspectives to some extent. 12
The presentation gave a satisfactory account of how the question could be approached from different
perspectives, and began to explore their similarities and differences.

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The presentation gave a clear account of how the question could be approached from different
perspectives and considered their implications in related areas. 5

iG Rubric Creating Exam Questions

Standard format of task:
5 multiple choice marks only assessing the Core syllabus material (Paper 1)
10 marks attached to longer answer questions also assessing the Supplement material and including at least
one three or four mark question (Paper 3)
5 marks given for questions relating to experimental techniques (Paper 6)

Essential Questions

Question style -2 marks
2 All of the questions are of the same style as you would find in a real exam
1 Some of the questions are in the wrong style e.g. like true/false questions
0 All of the questions are in the wrong style

Level of challenge -2 marks
2 All of the questions are set to an appropriate level of challenge
1 There is an inappropriate level of challenge to be used by iGCSE
0 The level of challenge is totally inappropriate

Use of Command words 2 marks
2 Command words used consistently and appropriately for all questions
1 Some inappropriate use of command words
0 Command words totally missing or consistently used inappropriately

Clarity of task 2 marks
2 The questions use precise language and it is obvious what you are supposed to do
1 There is some degree of ambiguity in in the language used so that it is not always obvious what is being
0 It I s really unclear what is needed to do to answer the question successfully

Breadth of syllabus coverage 2 Marks
2 There is an excellent coverage of the syllabus
1 Some important aspects of the syllabus have been missed out
Essential Mark Scheme
Mark scheme style
Appropriate number of marks
Marks linked to the appropriate grade

Paper specific criteria
Paper 1
Right number of answers
Appropriate style of answers
Paper 3
Calculations are correct
Chemical equations are appropriate
Paper 6
Graph question allows an appropriate curve
Tables appropriate display appropriate trend
Essay question

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Exemplar practical write up: Design (D)
Task: Design an experiment in 300 words to investigate salt solutions and
Design (D)
1a) Research Question: Investigating the effect salt (NaCl) concentration in mol dm
on the boiling and freezing point measured in
C of a solution
1b) Hypothesis: Adding salt will reduce the freezing point but increase the boiling point
NaCl (s) + H
O (l) NaCl(aq)
Solutions are mixtures of a solvent, water, and a solute, NaCl. Impure substances like solutions
have different fixed points to pure substances because the solute makes bonds with the
solvent molecules which makes it more difficult to free them (boil). Also the solute interferes
with the freezing process, so the liquid stays liquid at lower temperatures.
2a) Independent variable: Salt (NaCl) concentration (0.0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.6 & 1.0 mol dm
2b) Dependent Variable: Temperature of the melting and boiling points,
1c &2 c) Controlled variables: Volume of solution, type of water (used distilled), type of
heater (use an electric heater), type of container (250cm
glass beaker), kind of thermometer
3a, 3b & 3c) Method
1. Add a thermometer that goes up to 200
C to 100 cm
of a salt concentration heat with
an electric heater set to 200
2. Heat each solution and measure the temperature when it boils.
3. To another 100cm
of salt solution with the same concentration, cool the solution with
ice and measure the temperature with the thermometer when it freezes.
4. Repeat 2 times for the same salt concentration.
5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 for each different salt concentration.
Word count: 231
Score: 16/16
This is a method for a very simple design experiment, you are essentially just heating and
cooling a liquid, so there are not that many variables that need to be controlled. A more
complicated experiment, like finding out the amount of energy contained in different fuels,
would have much more variables, which would mean the method would need to be much
longer in order to effectively control all of those variables, so it would be much harder to get
full marks for that design.
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iG Exemplar DCP MgO

Task: Write a 300 word lab report for the Data Collection and Processing skill for the investigation of mass
change during the burning of magnesium
Data Collection and Processing Exemplar

When the DCP skill is being assessed you get no marks for providing a method, which is assessed by the Design
(D) skill, nor are there any marks for a Conclusion and Evaluation, which is assessed by the CE skill.
raw data
Record all raw data (qualitative and/or quantitative) /2
Presents raw data clearly /2
Uses correct headings, units and significant figures.
2 Processing
raw data
Makes the correct calculations on the raw data /2
Pays attention to units, significant figures and decimal places in final
Extracts relevant data from the graph if drawn (intercept, gradient etc.) /2
3 Presenting
processed data
Presents the processed data appropriately (correct choice of graph, bar
chart etc.)
Chooses an appropriate scale and plots points/displays processed data
correctly/adds trendline and gives equation for trendline
Uses correct labels, units and line of best fit drawn (if graph chosen)
Total marks available: 18
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Results table (1a,1b and 1c):

Calculations (2a and 2b)
Working out the empirical formula for magnesium oxide:
According to the graph, the gradient shows that 1.56g of magnesium oxide is made for every 1g of Mg.
Converting this into moles we see that in 1.00g of Mg we have 1.00/24.0 =0.0417 moles of Mg.
Of that 1.56g of magnesium oxide, 1.00 g is Mg, so 0.560g is oxygen, or 0.560/16.0=0.035 moles of oxygen.
The ratio therefore for magnesium to oxygen (the empirical formula for the compound we made) is:
0.0350/0.0350 to 0.0417/0.0350 or 1.000 : 0.840
Rounding we get: 1:1 of Mg:O
Empirical formula is MgO


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Graph (2c, 3a,3b and 3c)

18/18 (full marks)

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Results table
All measured values to the same number of decimal places for each column (which is the number of
decimal places, or accuracy, of the equipment). Each column has clear title and units and they are given
using the forward slash /: e.g. /g, or /s or /cm
At least 5 different data points for the independent variable present.
Drawn in pencil (and after this has been handed in kept in a safe place) Easy corrections during this
write up, as well as after feedback has been given are still possible because of this!
X axis = Independent variable (the thing that you can control).
Y axis = The dependent variable (the thing that changes as a result of how you have changed the
independent variable).
The gradient, and how it was worked out, clearly shown on the graph.
Anomalous outlier (point that doesnt fit the pattern) highlighted and ignored.
Photo of the graph (applies to all photos of hand-drawn diagrams, results tables etc)
You must take a photo that clearly shows your graph. If it cant be read than you cant get credit for it!
Taken from above (so the lines of the graph paper are parallel to the edges of the photo), in good
Handwriting larger than usual and clearer than usual to overcome any problems created when it is
High resolution photo, displayed in the right orientation in a word document and of a good size (both
on the graph paper, but also in relation to the Word document it is displayed in.
Only potential problem is the use of MgO for magnesium oxide. It would have been better if the word
name rather than the symbol name had been used because when the graph was drawn there was no
way of knowing what the resulting formula for the oxide would have been. Alternatively, it could have
been labelled Mg
to indicate that the ratio was unknown.
Done in Word, which makes processing easier (easier to mark, and much, much easier to correct).
Clearly states the purpose of what they are trying to achieve.
Use moles when necessary.
All calculated values to 3 significant figures.
Gives sample calculations for each type of calculation (in this case there was only one variety, but if e.g.
many different metals had been burnt, only one sample calculation showing exactly what was done is
needed, for the other metals only the ratios would have needed to be shown. A table is usually best for
multiple answers.
Correct units used throughout.
Clear progression of ideas in the calculation, with explanations throughout as to what is being done.
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iGCSE Exemplar essay

Task: Investigate the properties of the halogens in 300 words

Astatine - From the Greek for unstable
At any one time there is less than a gram of
astatine in the Earths crust, making it the
rarest naturally occurring element in the
Earths crust. Halogens are non-metals and
characteristically get darker in colour down the
group, have a higher melting point and become
less reactive, but because of how radioactive it
is it isnt possible to get a sample of astatine
large enough to look at or to measure its
boiling point; the heat generated from the
radioactivity vaporises the sample too quickly.
Scientists have, however, investigated its
chemistry, and it does behave like a non-metal
because it can form covalent bonds, AtH, and
AtBr for instance, and also form anions, At
Most of its physical properties, however are
predicted based on the trends within its group,
but these predictions sometimes are in conflict
with another trend, that of the metalloids,
which are the elements like Si and Po which
behave like both metals and non-metals, for
instance, some predict it would look like a
metal rather than a black solid. Most
interestingly, as a metalloid it should be able to
form cations, At
like all other metals, and
indeed it can, unlike the other halogens.
Figure 1. How Astatine is made through the radioactive
decay of heavier elements
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Although it is relatively easily oxidised, which is unlike the others in its group, and
in fact unlike other non-metals, this property does still follow the groups trend which
take extra electrons less readily as you go down the group. The ability to lose electrons
is a very important characteristic for metals, and astatine demonstrates that both the
metalloid trend and the halogen trend in fact converge, in just one element we have
evidence for both of these trends.
Word count 280
Score 13/13

Picture: A good and relevant diagram which demonstrates how larger atoms can
become smaller atoms like At. Helps to explain the formation of At whilst also allowing
my essay to avoid the physics behind it, which would harm the relevance of my essay to
1a, b and c) States the important trends within the halogen group and information
about astatine. Then explains why things like the kinds of ions it can form, or if it can be
oxidised matters to the argument. Then analyses what this means, that it is part of not
only the trend in halogens but also the trend in metalloids, both of which are ultimately
based on trends within the structure of atoms. A merit goes to the first student to point
this out in class.
1d) Although tackles an element that is not on the syllabus, it makes constant
reference to the other halogens and to the trends which they have.
1e) Is more than 10% over, but less than 20% so gets both marks. In practice a really
good essay might have to go over the word count sometimes, what is essential is that if
it does, it doesnt contain irrelevant material,
Use of English
a, b and c) Correct grammar, and vocabulary used throughout, good grammar and the
ideas flow well with there being something that is recognisably an introduction, main
bit and conclusion
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Exemplar practical write up: Conclusion and
evaluation (CE)

Task: Write a Conclusion and Evaluation for the investigation into the effects of salt on the
fixed points of water in under 300 words.
NOTE: This is only an exemplar for a conclusion and evaluation, it would score very low marks
as a Design (D) or a Data Collection and Processing (DCP) lab write up.
Design (D)
Practical title: Investigating the freezing and boiling points of different salt solutions.
Basic idea: When you add salt to a solvent (in this case water) you change its fixed points
because it is now a solution, a kind of mixture (pure substances have exact melting and boiling
points, this is a test for purity).
When you add more salt both the boiling and melting points will both increase.
Basic method
1. To a fixed volume of solution add increasing amounts of salt to five different solutions.
2. Heat each solution and measure when it boils.
3. Then cool each solution with ice and take the temperature when it freezes.
[How many marks do you think this would get as a design practical? How could it be
Data collection and analysis (DCP)
The more salt you added the higher the boiling point, BUT the lower its freezing (and melting
[How many marks do you think this would get as a DCP practical? How could it be
Conclusion and Evaluation (CE)
Model Answer

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1a, 1b Whenever we added more salt the boiling point increased by 2
C for every 2g extra salt
we added, but the melting point decreased by 1.5
C for every 2g of extra salt; this shows the
hypothesis is half-right.
2c The boiling point of pure water was shown to be 100.5
C which is anomalous (it should
be exactly 100
C). There could have been salts in the beaker so that the water wasnt really
1c The melting and boiling points of pure water is always 0
C and 100
C, but when we add
slat we make a solution which is a kind of mixture. When we add salt to the solution we are
adding ions, these make strong bonds with the water that mean it is harder to break liquid
water, therefore increased boiling point.
2a, 3b We should have repeated the experiment to improve the reliability instead of only
measuring each salt concentration once, and used a more accurate thermometer. We could
have checked the accuracy by measuring known temperatures, e.g. boiling point of distilled
2b, 3a We shouldnt have used the same salt solution to measure the boiling and freezing
points, some water will be lost when we boil it changing the salt concentration, so a fresh
solution should be used instead. We should have used distilled water instead of tap water,
which has ions in it.
3c We could experiment with different salts, like KNO
, CuSO
and MgCl
, which will
dissolve, and also CaCO
which wont, to see if it is dissolving that makes the difference, and
to investigate the effects of changing the size of the charges of the ions in solution.
Total words: 270, word limit is 300, If you go over by more than 50 words and or you include
irrelevant material than you may be penalised and lose marks.
This would have gotten full marks 18/18