It's that time again - Parent Teacher Student Conferences on Oct 30 and 31!
This also means that there will be a 2 day Extended Essay (EE) Workshop for Y12s and Y13s.
Each year group will have a different area of focus. The Y13s are finishing their final drafts and should have the last feedback from their supervisors. Their EEs should be 90% done and students should be reflecting back on their first experiences of doing independent research.
I have had parents tell me that their child should invest very little time on the EE in comparison to other IBDP subjects. After all, it is only worth 1.5 points, right? The EE, together with the ToK essay and presentation, another 1.5 points, can add another 3 points to the 42, making it total of 45 possible points.
I have told parents that I must, respectfully, disagree with them. Firstly, the independent scholarly research and writing skills that are used in the EE, will be repeatedly used in university, up the doctoral level. Secondly, it's better for students to make their mistakes with me now and their EE supervisors, rather than with the external moderators who will give the final grade. As EE supervisors, we can only give a predicated grade.
Inversely, the Y12s are just starting their EEs, so we want them to have a solid foundation before starting any writing or research. With this purpose in mind, I aim to:
1) Facilitate inquiry into a subject that they are genuinely interested in. They need to sustain that interest for 4000 words of independent writing. They should NOT be developing their research question or thesis statement at this early stage.
2) Know the EE assessment criteria from the IBO. I will break the Y12s students into groups based on their EE subjects (eg. Physics, Economics) and they will create posters based on their subject-specific criteria from the IBO EE Criteria and share them with the class. They will also explain to the whole class, 5 do's and don'ts of the EE, in addition to summarising the assessment criteria.
3) Meet their EE supervisors for the first time and be clear on the roles and expectations of both the EE students and their supervisor, according to the IBO EE Criteria.
4) Review online scholarly sources at our school and at the National Library Board (NLB). NLB has over 101 databases, many of which can be used 24/7 online remotely. I will use the video below from NLB and show it to our students. Our school has a school membership so all students have access to this online resource.
5) We will also review citation and in-text referencing according to MLA 8 with Y12s. MLA is the school standard for citing sources and is approved by the IBO as an accepted form of citation for student submitted work. The orange abridged version of the MLA 8 will be shared with all Y12s via Managebac, and we have 2 print copies of the MLA 8, unabridged, to borrow from the library.
I will also recommend all Y12s to read or skim the book, Three, by Alexander Louev. Although the assessment criteria has changed for the EE in 2016, the principles of scoring high are the same. It's a short, practical, entertaining and straightforward read about how to do the EE right.
Louev is not an IB teacher and he does not work for the IBO. But as an IBDP student he scored a perfect 3 on both ToK and EE . He scored a total of 43 out of 45 points in the IB Diploma. He later went on to study economics and business at Oxford University. He now runs his own tutoring business, and has successfully tutored over 400 students in economics and mathematics. His business is so successful that he no longer takes on any new students. Here is his website.
You can read my review of Louev's book, Three, on Goodreads.
Watch this space to see what our Y12s produce and share to show from the 2 day EE workshop!