Research on the International Biology Olympiad

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In the IBOint project we investigate the International Biology Olympiad as an extracurricular learning opportunity at all levels: What is its contribution to science education? Who participates and who wins? What are the characteristics of the tasks?

Project data

Research linesResearch Line Science Communication and Extracurricular Learning
DepartmentsBiology Education
IPN researchersProf. Dr. Ute Harms (Project lead), Dr. habil. Burkhard Schroeter (Project lead)

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) is one of the premier student science competitions internationally. Over the last three decades, IBO has become an important player in extracurricular science learning, expanding young talents’ interests and providing them performance-adequate challenges in a friendly, yet competitive environment. IBO is organized annually by changing international hosts and addresses high schoolers. Participants are competing in both practical, as well as theoretical exams and participate in a variety of engaging social events to support international exchange. IBO is registered as a public-benefit organization in Germany and has more than 70 active members that, each year, send their top four students from national competitions to the international round of IBO.

The project IBOint is conducted in cooperation between IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education and the International Biology Olympiad Association (e.V.). The research within IBO has the long-term goal to better understand the effects this competition has on its different organizational levels, ranging from the assessment tasks, to its participants, to the their different mentors, as well as to the organizational structures of IBO. The results are intended to help derive conclusions about the impact of student competitions on high-performer education, as well as on broader science education goals. The results are discussed in close connection with the IBO-community, so that a contemporary development of the student competition is supported by the IBOint-project.

Opitz, S. (2021). Perspektiven durch internationale Schülerwettbewerbe – Schülerinnen und Schüler nehmen von der International Biology Olympiad mehr als schöne Erinnerungen mit. Welche fachlichen Anforderungen müssen Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer internationaler Schülerwettbewerbe erfüllen und inwiefern bestärkt die Teilnahme sie darin, einen Beruf mit Bezug zu den Naturwissenschaften zu ergreifen? IPN Journal, 8, 35-39.

Opitz, S. & Schroeter, B. (2021). IBO Assessments – Theoretical and Practical Tasks from 2013 to 2015. IPN, 507 S. ISBN: 978-3-89088-309-0

Project participants

Dr. Charlotte Falkenberg

PD Dr. Burkhard Schroeter

Prof. Dr. Ute Harms

Dr. Sebastian Opitz (bis 31.01.2022)