The Biology Georgia Standards of Excellence are designed to continue the student investigations of the life sciences that began in grades K-8 and provide students the necessary skills to be proficient in biology by focusing on the identification of patterns, processes, and relationships of living organisms. These standards include more abstract concepts such as the interdependence of organisms, the relationship of matter, energy, and organization in living systems, the behavior of organisms, and biological evolution. Students investigate biological concepts through experiences in laboratories and field work using the process of inquiry.
Biology students start by developing an understanding of the cellular structure and the role these structures play in living cells. The students develop a fundamental understanding of the role of bio-macromolecules, their structure and function as related to life processes. The students then analyze how genetic information is passed to their offspring and how these mechanisms lead to variability and hence diversity of species. They use cladograms and phylogenetic trees to determine relationships among major groups of organisms. Biology students are able to recognize the central role the theory of evolution plays in explaining how the diversity observed within species has led to the diversity of life across species through a process of descent with adaptive modification.
The standards are a required minimum set of expectations that show proficiency in science. However, instruction can extend beyond these minimum expectations to meet student needs. At the same time, these standards set a maximum expectation on what will be assessed by the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.