On Monday October 24th Northbridge International School Cambodia held its annual Extended Essay Exhibition. The Extended Essay is the culminating project of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and consists of a written report of 4,000 words. The students work on it over the course of many months and meet regularly with their assigned supervisor to ensure their research meets the exacting standards of the IB.
From conception, to refinement, to researching, writing and consolidating, the EE takes many months. To guide the student along this path an EE advisor is assigned. This is someone on staff who is knowledgeable in both the subject area and planning and completing academic reports.
While the supervisor is always available to counsel the student, they are only required to formally meet with each student three times during the months-long process. This is in keeping with the IB’s vision that this be the students “first paper for college” as well as their “last paper in secondary school.”
A key skill the students master during the process is how to develop a strong research question; one that will lead to analytical writing rather than narrative prose. There must also be resources available to them so that they can answer the question to be fully within the word limit.
This year the exhibition was held virtually to ensure social distancing was observed. Each Grade 12 student was given time to explain their research question, the process involved in researching it, the challenges they had faced and overcome and also to answer questions posed by the Grade 11s.
Some of the questions asked my Grade 11 students included: what key skills are necessary to do well in the EE? How do you suggest I choose the DP subject to write EE in? What are some ways to come up with a good research question?
This process is important to our learning community as it allows us to come together to celebrate the reaching of a major milestone in the Grade 12’s intellectual journey through secondary school. It also gives the Grade 11 students an opportunity to learn directly from those that have walked this path before.
Consistent with past years, the Grade 12s passed down one key nugget: focus on your time management. The consistency of this message, year after year, speaks to the perseverance and dedication necessary to manage the requirements of this summative task effectively. The students' feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
One Grade 12 student commented, “I actually liked this more than when we did it in person last year when I was in Grade 11 because the Grade 12s spoke to the entire advisory rather than just one or two students.” The students also created visuals summarizing their experiences and these will be turned into a resource to add to our collective knowledge.
Developing a deep understanding, sharing knowledge, celebrating successes and supporting those around us: in many ways the EE Exhibition represents the best of NISC and the IB.