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From: Maggie (
Subject:         Here are a couple of resources...................
Date: August 28, 2008 at 9:19 pm PST

In Reply to: science lab grading posted by nan kessler on August 26, 2008 at 12:35 pm:

This site gives you the basic lab report format for a high school lab report. Then it gives a sample lab report. Very helpful. [A college level or above lab report might also have an "abstract" section at the beginning and a "citations" or "references" section, but your high school student won't usually need to have these sections.]

A site that goes into a little more detail is You only need to pay attention to numbers 1-4 on this one.

Your student's report should be clear, written with good grammar, and easy to follow. The basic point of a lab report is to discuss 1)what you were attempting to find out or explore 2) what your procedure was 3) what your observations/results were and 4)what your results mean and how they could be followed up on. (If your student did not get clear results or if the results were not as expected, the conclusions section of the report can include some suggestions as to why the results might not have turned out as expected, what factors might have interfered with good results, and what could be done differently next time to get better results---such as, testing under different conditions of light or heat, testing more kinds of materials, checking the experiment conditions more often or over a longer period of time, etc., depending, of course, on the experiment.) Someone else should be able to read the lab report and do the experiment again to verify the results.

If your student includes each section, writes clearly with good grammar, includes all the important info, and shows an understanding of the results, that should earn an A. It's up to you how to weight the lab report scores with the rest of the scores for the course---you could average all the lab report scores together for the year and count that score as one test, or you could count each lab report score as a test grade, etc.

Learning to write good lab reports is an important part of a high school science course. You could do the first few reports together until your dc has a good understanding of the process; then you could correct the first few reports he does on his own and discuss how his report could have been better, and then count only the lab report scores from the second semester. Also, writing a good lab report can be a bit time-consuming and tedious. It would be better to require one formal lab report per module and have it be well-written than to require your student to write a formal lab report for each lab and have him rush through it just to get it out of the way. (But even if you don't require a formal lab report for each experiment, you should have your student takes good notes as he does each experiment so that he can understand the lab and think about the results.)

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