Transcript of Changes made to 2018 Extended Essay Assessment
Changes made to 2018 Extended Essay Assessment
All research questions must be posed as a research question.
Enables students to maintain their focus more easily throughout the essay and to make a judgment as to whether they have responded to the research question.
The use of footnotes, endnotes and appendices is clarified.
Greater clarification will be given over the use of footnotes, endnotes and appendices to ensure parity across subjects. Additionally, this is to mitigate against students attempting to circumvent the word limit.
Footnotes and endnotes are not an essential part of the extended essay and examiners will not read them, or use any information contained within in the assessment of the essay. Students must take care to ensure that all information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of their essay is contained in the
Role of external mentors is clarified.
In circumstances where the school deems it appropriate, students may undertake their research at an institute or university, under the guidance of an external mentor. This must be with the agreement of the school, and the external mentor must be provided with a letter outlining the nature of the extended essay and clear instructions as to the level of guidance that is permitted.Schools are responsible for ensuring that these external mentors are aware of the limits of their role in providing this service. It is important to note that if this is the case the student must be allocated a supervisor within the school and undertake their reflection sessions with this person. Only a supervisor within the school is permitted to complete the reflection process for the extended essay with the student and provide both signature and comments on the Reflections on planning and progress form (RPPF).
The “best-fit” approach has been adopted for the assessment of extended essays.
The aim of the “best-fit approach” is to find the descriptor that conveys most accurately the level attained by the student's work. A best-fit approach means that compensation should be made when a piece of work matches different aspects of a markband at different levels. The mark awarded should be one that most fairly reflects the balance of achievement against the markband. It is not necessary for every indicator of a level descriptor to be met for that mark to be awarded.
Reference to external sources or supplementary information
is not permitted
and examiners will not access them.
The extended essay is an entity in itself and any argument made must be in the body of the essay. Supplementary information provided in the form of CDs or DVDs or links to external sources such as YouTube clips are not permitted and examiners will not refer to them.
The abstract will no longer be a requirement of the extended essay.
The abstract will no longer be a formal requirement in response to feedback from teachers and examiners. While the extended essay models an academic research paper, it does not mirror it. Writing an abstract is a skill that students can develop at a later stage in their respective studies. This decision also helps to mitigate the effects the introduction of criterion E might have on student workload.
Formatting of the extended essay is clarified.
Strong recommendations will be made in relation to fonts used, font size and line spacing for the extended essay. This is to promote the idea that the extended essay is an academic piece of work and as such should be formatted appropriately, including font choice.
The number of assessment criteria has been reduced.
After much consultation, review, evaluation and trialling the decision was made to reduce the criteria to five: four to be applied to the essay itself and one to the Reflections on planning and progress form.
The Reflections on planning and progress form has been introduced.
This has been introduced to allow examiners to gain an insight into students’ thinking throughout the process of undertaking their research and writing. It will allow for the application of criterion E, engagement. This will be completed by students after each of their mandatory reflection sessions. Supervisors must sign after each reflection is completed and at the end of the process once the viva voce has taken place and write their summative comment. The form is submitted along with the essay for external assessment.
Three mandatory reflection sessions must take place.
In order to support students through the process of undertaking independent research they must be allocated an appropriate supervisor. It is recommended that students be given between three and five hours of supervision time and this must include the three mandatory reflection sessions. Supervision sessions may vary in length of time and nature of discussion to meet the needs of individual students. This may include a 10-minute check-in to discuss a timeline or clarification of a comment made by the supervisor. It may also include a more lengthy discussion about particular issues related to access to resources, for example. The three mandatory reflection sessions must be allocated an appropriate length of time and it is recommended that this be at least 20 minutes per session.
The Researcher’s Reflection Space has been created.
The RRS is a personal learning environment that can be either a physical or virtual support tool. It is a space in which students are able to record reflections on what they are reading, writing and thinking. The use of a RRS will help students to prepare for their reflection sessions with their supervisors and inform the discussions that take place. In preparing for their reflection sessions students could use their RRS to:
record their reflections
respond to artefacts, such as photos, newspaper clippings, twitter feeds, blogs, and so on
respond to prompts and questions that may arise in the students’ subject areas, TOK classes or other aspects of the DP
create Mind Maps®
The extended essay is changing! There are some significant changes to the EE syllabus that from this year onwards you have to bear in mind. In this blog I’m going to break down those changes, and give you some helpful hints for EE success.
Out with the old, in with the new?
While I began by talking about the changes, it’s important to note that the bare bones of the extended essay are still the same. It is still a 4000 word (max) essay on a topic of your choosing and still counts towards your core points.
But, as I said, there are some key things that are different now about the extended essay. Essentially, if you have your brother/sister/cousin/friend’s EE hanging around from a few years ago, using that as a model might not be the most fruitful thing to do.
So, what’s changed?
This doesn’t directly relate to your extended essay, but as it’s how your final core points are added up, it’s good to remember.
As you can see above, essentially you now need to get a least a D in your EE. An E, no matter what you got in TOK, means you fail. I wouldn’t fret about this though, as long as you put the work in, you’ll be fine!
Abstract and Appendices
There is no longer an abstract- so don’t waste any precious words on writing one! It is much better to lay out your argument clearly in your introduction.
The IB has also stated that is does not want students relying excessively on appendices or footnotes. This means that you shouldn’t in you essay be referring to something not actually in your essay as an examiner doesn’t have to look it up or check your appendix. Instead, it’s much better to have everything embedded. If you have a diagram, for example, put it in the main body of your essay. This is especially true for any text sources, as the IBO is pretty firm that it doesn’t want you using referencing systems to get around the word count.
This is a new addition to the EE. Previously you had meetings with your supervisor, but now it is a more formalised ‘reflection’ process. Essentially, you have 3 main meetings with your supervisor:
- First reflection
- Interim reflection
- Final reflection
As their names suggests they happen at different stages in the extended essay process. One when you are just getting started, one when you are progressing with your essay, and one when you have finished your EE.
After all your meetings with your supervisor, you then have to formally fill out a ‘reflection’. Your reflection write-up is actually submitted and marked with your EE, and counts towards your final grade, so it’s important to do it well!
One simple way of making sure your reflections are tip-top is to make use of a Researcher’s Reflection Space. This may sound familiar to those of you who have taken the MYP! Essentially it’s a research diary where you write down any thoughts you’ve had on your research, anything useful you’ve read or any conversations you had that have influenced your ideas.
One of the things I like about the new system is that it encourages you to reflect upon your research from the start, making you think of how best to construct your evidence and argument. I also think it makes the process of writing your extended essay seem a bit more structured. You can set yourself clear targets for each reflection. So while on the surface it may seem extra work, I definitely think it’s worth it!
I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of the marking system. Instead, I definitely recommend looking at your specific subject’s mark scheme. These are invaluable when it comes to writing your extended essay.
However, one of the key changes (and a really good one I think), is that the mark scheme now only has 5 sections as opposed to 11 in previous years. 4 of these refer to your actual essay. I like this change because it means you essay is marked more a a whole. The entire craftsmanship of your EE is therefore considered, not just individual sections of it.
Another change to note, it that now your title actually needs to be a question. So, it needs to end with a question mark! This is to make sure your work is actually focuses on the topic you are writing on, and help you create an argument.
Overall, I think the new EE looks pretty great. There’s a bit more structure, and also a chance to properly reflect on your own work. Definitely check out the IBO’s website for more details but why not also join Lanterna this summer to get your EE in check? Our summer courses are a perfect opportunity to fit in study and also have a really great time! Our bespoke EE workshop is definitely not something to be missed.