The Core Overview and Extended Essay
An Overview of the Core
The IB diploma is more than a package of different academic subjects, and the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts, with the core of the IB Diploma sitting at the heart of every student’s program of study. This core consists of three strands; the Theory of Knowledge course, Creativity, Action and Service; and the Extended Essay. These courses, through reflection and action, seek to encourage the development of young people into learners that are Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective; who really can help to create a better and more peaceful world.
To gain the IB diploma, a student must complete and pass this core curriculum. Both the extended essay and the theory of knowledge contribute to the overall diploma score through the award of points. A maximum of three points are awarded according to a student’s combined performance in both the extended essay and theory of knowledge.
The Extended Essay
The extended essay (EE) is an in-depth study that offers the opportunity for IB students to investigate a topic of special interest, usually one of the student’s six Diploma Programme subjects, and acquaints them with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research on a topic of choice, under the guidance of a supervisor, which leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject. In countries where normally interviews are required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university, the extended essay has proved to be a valuable stimulus for discussion.
Students begin to consider and plan their EE at the beginning of the summer term in their first year, and will be expected to submit it for marking at the beginning of the 2nd year of their course. The EE requires approximately 40 hours of work, and students will be guided by their EE supervisor, who will complete the EE process in the autumn term by conducting a concluding interview – the viva voce – with the student.
To be awarded the IB Diploma you must complete and pass the EE. The EE is externally marked, and assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject.