VCE Biology: A report of an investigation into genetics and/or reproductive science

Subject Area: Biology UNIT 2 AOS 3 Outcome 3
Author: Hong-An Nguyen, Eun Jae Choi, Laura Nhi Pham, Wan Lin Xiao


Assessment: “a report of an investigation into genetics and/or reproductive science using an appropriate format, for example, digital presentation, oral communication or written report”

“A student-directed research investigation into, and communication of, an issue related to genetics and/or reproductive science is to be undertaken in Area of Study 3. The investigation draws on content from Area of Study 1 and/or Area of Study 2. “

Key knowledge: Asexual reproduction

  • the types of asexual reproduction including fission, budding, vegetative propagation and spore formation
  • the biological advantages and disadvantages of asexual reproduction
  • emerging issues associated with cloning, including applications in agriculture and horticulture.

Sexual reproduction

  • how an offspring from two parents has a unique genetic identity
  • the key events in meiosis that result in the production of gametes from somatic cells including the significance of crossing over of chromatids between homologous chromosomes in Prophase 1 and the non-dividing of the centromere in Metaphase 1
  • the biological advantage of sexual reproduction, specifically the genetic diversity in offspring.

Reproductive science

“reproductive science in society both provide benefits for individuals and populations and raise social, economic, legal and ethical questions. Human cloning, genetic modification of organisms, the use of forensic DNA databanks, assisted reproductive technologies and prenatal and predictive genetic testing challenge social and ethical norms.”

Key skills:

Communicate and explain scientific ideas

  • effective science communication: accuracy of biological information; clarity of explanation of biological concepts, ideas and models; contextual clarity with reference to importance and implications of findings; conciseness and coherence; and appropriateness for purpose and audience
  • use of data representations, models and theories in organising and explaining observed phenomena and biological concepts, and their limitations and making the distinction between opinion, anecdote and evidence, weak and strong evidence, and scientific and non-scientific ideas; and validity, reliability and authority of data including sources of possible errors or bias
  • characteristics of scientific research methodologies and techniques of primary qualitative and quantitative data collection relevant to the investigation; precision, accuracy, reliability and validity of data; and minimisation of experimental bias
  • methods of organising, analysing and evaluating data

Task Description:

Students create a research poster on reproductive strategies using a chosen organism to demonstrate their understanding of the topic.  The poster is to include:

  • Theoretical knowledge of asexual and sexual reproduction strategies
  • Analysis of the reproductive strategy employed by their chosen organism; in reference to the advantages and disadvantages of the strategy employed.
  • Acknowledgement of resources used (primary and secondary).

Students should use headings and subheadings to organise information. Graphs and pictures can be used to enhance information.

Curriculum links

VCE Study Biology Units 1 and 2: 2016–2021; Units 3 and 4: 2017–2021, VCAA.

Retrieved from


Procedural Properties

Purpose/learning The research investigation will form part of VCE Unit 2  assessment of students’ knowledge of the theories and principles learnt about the topic of reproduction in VCE Biology
Administer They will have a double period to research and plan on how they will create their posters and will be given one week for additional research outside on the class.  Students will create their annotated poster individually under exam conditions in a double period. Students will be allowed to have an access to their textbooks and other resources such as online sources as their reference.
Record The student’s mark (score and grade mark) will be recorded in the teacher’s record book and posted onto Compass for student and parent access. Feedback will be provided to students on their rubric sheets. Student work will be moderated against students from other classes to ensure accuracy of marking.
Interpret The results of the research project will use a criterion referenced framework, a rubric matrix, to interpret the results. A Guttman chart analysis will be performed to help interpret the data for ease of use.
Use The assessment task will be used as summative assessment of student understanding of this area of study.  Feedback will be given to student on their rubric sheets as well as on Compass. Parents will have access to student’s marks on Compass.


The results of the assessment was converted into a percentage to provide a grade for student SACs.


The results were used to determine students’ current level of knowledge and skill (ZAD) and where to teach to next (ZPD). As a result, it was used to inform future teaching e.g. the need to develop students to reach the higher levels of Bloom’s.



Low Students at this level can:

–       Defines asexual and sexual reproduction

–       Identify reproductive strategies and associate it to a specific organism

–       Record evidence of scientific research and data

–       List sources of informations

Medium Students at this level can:

–       Describes asexual and sexual reproduction

–       Discuss reproductive strategies and its relationship to a specific organism

–       Organises evidence of scientific research to explain data

–       Acknowledge sources of information

–       Communicate ideas using scientific language

High Students at this level can:

–       Compares asexual and sexual reproduction

–       Evaluates effectiveness of reproductive strategies in relation to a specific organism

–       Evaluates evidence of scientific research to analyse data

–       Use APA6 style referencing to acknowledge sources of information

–       Articulate ideas using scientific language


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