I raised this question on the IB OCC forum a while back:

How does one “outline one principle” of a level of analysis without it becoming “explaining how one principle is demonstrated by research?” 

I don’t quite know how these two are different and whether or not I should really care (but they might be a SAQ in an exam). 

My approach is to teach for understanding of bigger ideas (which are the principles, basically) and then make sure students can explain their understandings using research. 

But I’m wondering what would happen in an exam if they were asked LO #1 (i.e. Outline principles). I guess basically what I’m asking is if there’s a difference between:

“Outline principle/s of the BLA/CLA/SCLA level of analysis” 


“Explain how principles of the BLA/CLA/SCLA level of analysis can be demonstrated in research.” 

If they require demonstration of knowledge and understanding of research in an SAQ, how can they do anything but answer the second question? 

In reality, at least in my opinion, there is no difference between these two learning outcomes and they can be taught basically as the same. What I would suggest is that if the question is “Outline one principle” then the primary focus should be on the principle and a secondary focus on the supporting study. This could be reversed if the question was “Explain how one principle…”

Hopefully such errors and issues will be addressed and remedied with the new spec’ due out in January.

See my related post about teaching the GLOs last.