The Biology standards are designed to provide students with a detailed understanding of living systems. Emphasis continues to be placed on the skills necessary to examine alternative scientific explanations, actively conduct controlled experiments, analyze and communicate information, and gather and use information in scientific literature. The history of biological thought and the evidence that supports it are explored, providing the foundation for investigating biochemical life processes, cellular organization, mechanisms of inheritance, dynamic relationships among organisms, and the change in organisms through time. The importance of scientific research that validates or challenges ideas is emphasized at this level. All students are expected to achieve the content of the biology standards.
The Biology standards continue to focus on student growth in understanding the nature of science. This scientific view defines the idea that explanations of nature are developed and tested using observation, experimentation, models, evidence, and systematic processes. The nature of science includes the concepts that scientific explanations are based on logical thinking; are subject to rules of evidence; are consistent with observational, inferential, and experimental evidence; are open to rational critique; and are subject to refinement and change with the addition of new scientific evidence. The nature of science includes the concept that science can provide explanations about nature and can predict potential consequences of actions, but cannot be used to answer all questions.
-from Virginia Standards of Learning