The learning involved in researching and writing the Extended Essay is closely aligned with the development of many of the characteristics described in the IB learner profile. Students are, to a large extent, responsible for their own independent learning through which they acquire and communicate in-depth knowledge and understanding. The research process necessarily involves intellectual risk-taking and extensive reflection while open-mindedness, balance and fairness are key prerequisites for a good extended essay.
The Extended Essay asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the IBDP subjects they are studying. The World Studies extended essay option allows students to focus on a topic of global significance which they examine through the lens of at least 2 IBDP subjects. The essay is to be 4,000 words in length on a topic of the student's choice. This topic is drawn from one of their IBDP subjects and the title usually takes the form of a question. Students choose a topic that is of interest to them.
A teacher supervisor meets regularly with the student to discuss their research and to guide them through the procedures necessary for successful completion of the essay. The essay will involve some form of independent research, collection of data/information and the drawing of some conclusions from this. However, the important part of the Extended Essay is the student's understanding of the procedure process of writing, and the format of, a research paper, rather than the subject content.
The IBDP Extended Essay is excellent preparation for students going on to universities where such skills are called upon frequently. A good Extended Essay can be used to support a university application.
The aims of the Extended Essay are to provide students with the opportunity to:
|Pursue independent research on a focused topic.|
|Develop research and communication skills.|
|Develop the skills of creative and critical thinking.|
|Engage in a systematic process of research appropriate to the subject.|
|Experience the excitement of intellectual discovery.|
In the IB Diploma Programme, the Extended Essay is the prime example of a piece of work where the student has the opportunity to show knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm about a topic of his or her choice. Students are required to obtain a D grade in both TOK and the Extended Essay in order to pass the IB Diploma. A good Extended Essay together with a TOK essay and presentation of the same quality can contribute a maximum of 3 diploma points on top of academic points, making a potential total of 45.
The Extended Essay is assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject and is:
|Compulsory for all IB Diploma Programme students.|
|Externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for theory of knowledge, contributes up to 3 points to the total score for the IB Diploma.|
|A piece of independent research/investigation on a topic chosen by the student in cooperation with a supervisor in the school.|
|Chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme subjects published in the Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme.|
|Presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words.|
|The result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student.|
|Concluded with a short interview with the supervising teacher (recommended).|