The International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) is an annual earth science competition for secondary school students. The IESO has been founded as one of the major activities of the International Geoscience Education Organization (IGEO), and countries worldwide with a strong emphasis on earth science in their national curricula have supported the competition. Students who are winners of the respective national competitions are invited to participate in the IESO, and all interested countries are encouraged to contribute to the IESO.
2. Aims of the IESO
The IESO is intended to raise student interest in and public awareness of earth science, to enhance earth science learning of students, and to identify talented and gifted students in earth science. The IESO is also developed in pursuit of encouraging friendly relationships among young learners from different countries and promoting international cooperation in exchanging ideas and materials about earth science and earth science education. The IESO is aimed at improvement of teaching of Earth science in schools.
The IESO is organized by an authorized institution(s) of one of the participating countries with cooperation of the IESO Coordinating Committee. The competition is held every year in the territory of the organizing country. The official language of the IESO is English.
4. Obligations of the Organizer
The organizer of the IESO is obliged to invite all countries that are accepted as members of the competition. The organizer has the right to request participating countries to present their agreements to comply with the regulations of the competition. The organizer must provide all participating countries with an itinerary of the IESO and supply a report of the competition held. The organizer may invite outstanding scientists and educators as observers and/or speakers with offering transportations and accident insurances for the invited person(s).
The organizer of the IESO agrees that there shall be no discrimination against countries and delegations on the basis of political orientation, diplomatic relationships, race, color, gender, handicap, religious affiliation, or any other factors which are not pertinent to participation in the competition.
Each participating country sends its own delegation. Each national delegation has four participants and two mentors maximum respectively. Participants should not be older than 18 years on July 1st of the year of the Olympiad. The participants must not be university/college students. They can only be students of secondary school. If they have already graduated before the competition, the organizer must be informed about the date of their graduation. Participation in the competition is not possible for students who have already participated in the IESO and won a prize in a previous competition. The mentors must be specialists in Earth science and/or Earth science education and capable of serving as members of the International Jury. The mentors must be able to speak the official language of the IESO and thus translate the written examinations and related materials from English to the participants’ native language.
6. Preparation of the Competition
The organizer of the IESO is responsible for organizing the competition. The place and preliminary dates for the competition should be presented by the organizer at least a year before the competition. The total duration of the IESO can range from one to two weeks but should not be longer than two weeks. The competition consists of two parts: theoretical and practical examinations. The theoretical examination is presented in a set of earth science problems which should be solved by participants within a period no longer than six hours. The practical examination includes an experimental and/or field task(s) which should be completed by participants during a suitable period. The examinations are prepared by specialists in earth science and/or earth science education, who also provide solutions and evaluation guidelines. Participants are given the theoretical problems and experimental or field tasks in a written format and supplied with materials needed to solve the problems and conduct the experiments. Some of the experimental or field tasks are given by team basis. Each team consists of four or more members from different countries. Participants work together during experimental and/or field tasks and are graded together as a group. Other experimental tasks are given by individual basis. The participants are allowed to bring writing and drawing instruments and non-programmable calculators for the examinations.
7. Selection of Topics for the Competition
All major areas of earth sciences, including geology, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, astronomy, and environmental sciences, are considered for selecting topics for the competition. The theoretical examination includes problems which are developed to measure the participants’ robust knowledge and understanding in earth science areas. The practical examination consists of tasks which are designed to assess participants’ abilities to carry out scientific investigations in earth science inquiries.
8. The International Jury
The International Jury for the competition consists of a chairperson and members. The chairperson of the International Jury is appointed by the organizer of the IESO. The members of the International Jury are the two mentors in the delegations from each participating country. Resolutions of the International Jury are passed on the basis of majority votes in the presence of at least 75% of the members. Each participating country is entitled to one vote. The chairperson has the casting vote in case of a tie.
The International Jury has the responsibilities
1) To ensure that the competition is conducted in accordance with the regulations.
2) To go over in advance all parts of the examinations, including theoretical problems, practical tasks, their solutions, and evaluation schemes. The International Jury has the right to approve or reject the proposed examinations, provide comments, and suggest changes.
3) To monitor the examination process. The International Jury has the right to make decisions on excluding participants from the competition in case they do not comply with the regulations, including cheating.
4) To supervise the procedure of marking the participants’ answers and ensure that all participants are judged by the same evaluation criteria.
5) To approve the final results of the evaluation, confirm the rankings, and decide on prizes for the participants. The chairperson and members of the International Jury must keep the results and decisions concerning the evaluation and prizes confidential until an official announcement is made.
6) To review the whole process of the competition and suggest changes in the regulations.
7) To moderate any difference in final scores among International Juries (recommended).
9. Evaluation and Prizes
The participants ‘ answers to the theoretical and practical examinations are evaluated and marked by the International Jury. The rankings of the participants are based on the total scores of the theoretical and practical examinations. The official results of the evaluations and the number of medals to be awarded are decided finally by the International Jury. The number of gold medals is approximately 10% of the number of participants, 20% for silver medals, and 30% for bronze medals. An honorable mention may be made of a competitor(s) who does not win a medal but gains high marks for theoretical problems or one practical task. All medals and honorable mentions are awarded on an individual and/or team basis, not on the basis of national results. Each competitor receives a certificate in recognition of his/ her participation in the IESO.
Each country participating in the IESO must pay for its participation fee. The quantum of the participation fee is determined by the organizer of the IESO and requested in an official letter to be sent to the participating countries. The participation fee can be reduced for developing countries if the budget permits. The fee should be paid prior to or at the beginning of the IESO. Each participating country must pay the travel expenses (to and from) of its delegations to the place in the country where the IESO is held. All other expenses directly related to the IESO, including the cost of accommodation, meals, and local transportation for all delegations from countries, are covered by the organizer of the IESO.
11. Bodies of the IESO
The Advisory Board of the IESO advises the Coordinating Committee in maintaining high standards of the IESO. The Advisory Board is chaired by the chairperson of IGEO. The Advisory Board consists of International Council members of IGEO and representatives of related international organizations who are assigned by the chairperson as members of the Advisory Board. For the beginning period of the IESO, IESO Committee may function as the Advisory Board.
The Coordinating Committee attends to the long-term work involved in organizing the IESO. The members of the Coordinating Committee are the chairperson of IGEO and representatives of the countries which have hosted the IESO during the past two years and the countries which will host the IESO in the next two years. For the beginning period of the IESO every participating country may have one member on the Coordinating Committee.
The Coordinating Committee elects its own chairperson and completes its work in collaboration with the chairperson and the organizer of the IESO in accordance with the aims and regulations of the IESO.
The Coordinating Committee may establish several commissions, such as Public Relations, Fund Raising, Syllabus Development, and Operative Matters, to manage urgent problems or tasks of the Olympiad. A commission is composed of several members. At least one of them should be a member of the Coordinating Committee, and others are collaborators invited by the Coordinating Committee.
The International Jury is an ad hoc body formed for each competition. The International Jury consists of the chairperson and up to two representatives each from all delegations. It is chaired by a distinguished specialist in earth science and/or earth science education who is appointed by the organizing country of the IESO.
All countries participating in the IESO, their delegations, and the bodies of the IESO are obliged to observe the IESO statutes. Changes in the statutes can only be made by the International Jury when more than two thirds of votes with regard to the total number of the members are in favor of the suggested changes. Any matter not included in the statues is decided on in the meeting of the International Jury.