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National Biology Competition


Teachers, students and schools are informed about National Biology Competition (NBC) at the end of the year which precedes the year of the competition (usually end of the October or beginning of the November). It is scheduled in accordance with all the other national STEM competitions and international olympiads so students who attend more then one STEM competition can take part in all they want. Information about all three rounds of competitions and exact dates are sent by national Agency for Education and it is published at their web site (http://www.azoo.hr/ ; Croatian language only) .


Main organizer of the National Biology Competition is Agency for Education, and members of the National Committee are appointed by the Agency as well. Members of the National Committee are chosen among best biology teachers in the country (with good results from previous competitions) and among academic stuff appointed by Croatian Biology Society and interested in the popularization of biology (ratio of teachers and academic stuff is approximately 1 : 1). Role of the National Committee is to prepare tests for all three rounds of the NBC, tasks are made by the teachers and reviewed by the academics. Competition is organized for two grades of Primary School (7th and 8th grade) and for four grades of Secondary School (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade), students from each grade have different test in accordance with the syllabus of that grade which is announced together with the exact dates of the different rounds of the competition. All tests in all three levels of the competition are identified by passwords, not by the name, of students.

Competition is organized in three rounds and is accessible to all students from public schools, as well as to private ones.

First round is School Biology Competition at which everybody can take part usually is organized during February. Tests for the first round are distributed from the Secretary of the National Committee, who is also employee of the national Agency for Education, to the headmasters who are responsible for the regularity of the school level of the competition. Tests are marked by the School Committees and final lists of students and their achievements are send to the Regional Committees and the Agency. Regional Committee decide how many students would invite to the Regional Biology Competition which usually take part in March. Croatia is administratively divided on 20 regions which spread around biggest cities.

After 20 Regional Biology Competitions have finished and preliminary lists with students results are published tests with bests results (more then 70 % tasks solved) are sent to the National Committee. National Committee sets special meeting, review best test from all Regional Biology Competitions, reevaluate marks appointed by the Regional Committee and make final lists of students who are qualified by their results to take part at national Biology Competition which is usually scheduled at the end of April and/or beginning of May. Usually 10-15 best students from each grade are invited to take part at the NCB.

 

Final round is organized at one place, usually in some local school who volunteered to be a host of the NBC, lasts for four days which include opening ceremony, competition in knowledge (and competition of best research projects in which other students take part), excursions and closing ceremony. Students have theoretical and practical tasks and are supervised by the members of National Committee during exam. Exam usually take 150 minutes. After that, test are evaluated by the Committee and the mentors. Students results are afterwards compared and finalized through moderation process with the mentors and final list of competitors is announced before closing ceremony of the NBC.

 


Test are produced by the National Committe appointed by the Agency of Education, there are 30 members of three National Committee.  Members of the National Committee are chosen among the best biology teachers in the country (with good results from previous competitions) and among academic stuff appointed by Croatian Biology Society and interested in the popularization of biology (ratio of teachers and academic stuff is approximately 1 : 1). Role of the National Committee is to prepare tests for all three rounds of the NBC. Tasks are prepared by the teachers and reviewed by the academics, they have to cooperate during preparation process and ensure best quality of test as possible.

National Committee has guidelines for the difficulty and quality of the tests for each competition level.

In accordance with the Bloom's taxonomy for the:

1st - School round of the NBC: 30 % of tasks should be of 1st and 2nd level of knowledge (15 marks), 60 % of tasks should be of 3rd and 4th level (30 marks) and 10 % of  tasks should be of 5th and 6th level (5 marks)

2nd - Regional round of the NBC: 20 % of tasks should be of 1st and 2nd level of knowledge (10 marks), 60 % of tasks should be of 3rd and 4th level (30 marks) and 20 % of tasks should be of 5th and 6th level (10 marks)

3rd - national round of the NBC: 10 % of tasks should be of 1st and 2nd level of knowledge (5 marks), 60 % of tasks should be of 3rd and 4th level (30 marks) and 30 % of tasks should be of 5th and 6th level (15 marks)

 

Different types of tasks are included in all three levels of the competition: multiple and double choice, essay etc. but the practical task is included only at the 3rd national round of the NBC.

Students make their tests at all three rounds of the competition in schools, their own school at 1st round, some Secondary School in the regional capital at the 2nd level, and at the host school for the national round of the NBC.

 


Mentors (teachers) of the students organize preparation and training of their students for each level of the competition. It usually starts after 1st - school level of the NBC. Mentors are completely responsible for the training and way how it will be organized, it may include learning in schools or at home, working on the old test from the competition as well. Training also can include some practical training and workshops at laboratories at the institutions (institutes or faculties) but it depends on the accessibility of the facilities and the interest and ambition of the particular mentor and/or student. Usually, practical training or workshops are organized at the few regional Faculties of Science but students may also attend different events like open days of institutes or institutions where they gather new experience and knowledge on different biology topics. National Committee has no insight in training and preparations of particular students but assume that students in bigger cities have some advantages due to the accessibility of different facilities. Nevertheless, students from smaller schools and communities regularly are equally successful at the national level of the NBC.


No special materials are prepared for the National rounds but there are some material and instructions prepared for the students attending international science olympiads (EUSO, IJSO and IBO). Usually, material are in the form of preparations and instructions for the practical tasks. For those students all additional literature is accessible (university and school textbooks) as well as old test from the selection process for the international science olympiads. University teachers and/or university students also give lectures and help students to prepare for the international competitions.


At the closing ceremony of the national round of the NBC three best students from each grade of primary and secondary school get acknowledgements for their ranking at the competition and usually get some prize (most often these are science or popular science books, tablets etc.). Also, ranking among three best gives those students advantage for entering at secondary schools and/or faculties of their choice, for some schools and faculties they even get direct entrance if they were among three the best at NBC. Also, all students which compete at the national round of the NBC are identified through electronic national base of students and also get some additional marks for entrance to secondary schools.

Some regional governments also give prize for students from local schools who compete or were among three the best at national round of the NBC which is usually IT equipment (laptop, tablet ...), money or trip to some European destination of interest but it depends only on the local authorities and is not obligatory.


All information about three rounds of NBC are published at the official website of the national Agency for Education (http://www.azoo.hr/) . Also, information and photo gallery from the national round of the NBC is published at the official web page of the Croatian Biological Society (http://www.hbd-sbc.hr/natjecanja-ucenika/). Schools who have candidates or winners at the national NBC also publish that at their web pages or school newspapers. Sometimes, national NBC is covered by the local newspapers or local TV stations or radio. Only international success of the students are covered at the national newspapers and/or TV.


Attendance and all expenses of students and mentors attending national round of the NBC are covered by the Government through funds at the Agency of the Education. Host school of the national round of the NBC also get some money from the Agency but  from the regional government and/or town council as well. Organization of the competition and all other social events during competition depend on their organizational capability (abstracting funds, negotiating public institutions etc.) Members of the National Committee have also covered costs for attendance of the national NBC but also get some symbolic compensation in money (200-300 euros) for they work from the Agency's funds.

Prizes for the best students are usually ensured through donations from the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science University of Zagreb, Croatian Biology Society, Veterinary Institute and some other local public and/or private  institutions or entrepreneurs.


Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia gives organizational and financial support through Agency for Education for organizing national round of the NBC. Employee from the Agency are involved in organizing all three rounds of the NBC (set up lists of competitors, pass information to schools and mentors, enhance communication between schools and National Committee, give legal support in case of complaints for irregularity of the competition, organizing meetings of national Committee, organize transport for all competitors at the national round of the NBC etc.). Also, Agency is responsible for all regulations and rules which are assigned to all national competitions in Croatia (among others, members of the committees, competitors, awarding marks, opening and awarding ceremonies etc.)


It can differ among different years, at school level up to 5000 students enter the competition, at regional round there are approximately 1/4 those from the 1st round and at the national round of the NBC usually compete 80-100 best students from all country.

from September to mid June.
minimum 2 hours, maximum 3 hours.
Coordonator

Andreja Lucić

Department of Biology Faculty of Science University of Zagreb Rooseveltov trg 6 10 000 Zagreb CROATIA
Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia Donje Svetice 38 10000 Zagreb CROATIA
by Andreja Lucić last modified Aug 04, 2017 11:09 AM