Now that we are in February, those of us who have students taking exams in May are in most cases trying to finish up the Extended Essay process. The students have numerous other requirements – our students had their Maths IAs due yesterday – and so most have moved on. However, we teachers need to ensure that everything has been done on our end, so that we don’t drive the IB coordinators crazy.
The first thing is one last read through of the essay. How does it sound? What do you think of it? Is this the student’s best work – do you see evidence of growth and learning? Do you have any questions about the essay? Make a note of these things and then –
Hold a final meeting with the student. Although the viva voce is no longer a requirement it is still strongly recommended. It gives the students a chance to answer any questions you have and to raise any issues that came to light during the process. If you have any concerns about authenticity, this is the time to ask them. Remember, that malpractice isn’t necessarily intentional and this is an opportunity to clarify any problems. Ask the student about how referencing was done and even the note-taking process. Make notes of the conversation; it will help you in the next stage. Before the student leaves the meeting, have them sign the EE cover sheet.
At this point you, too, must sign the cover sheet, give an estimate of how much time you spent on the essay and agree that, to the best of your knowledge, the work is that of the student. It is up to you whether you want to run it through a search engine. If there is malpractice, you are supposed to handle that within the school – and in accordance to your school’s policies. Even if it means a rewrite in a short period of time, that is better than failing the diploma and have it reported to universities that the student plagiarized.
Supervisor’s comments are also up to you In most cases, it doesn’t hurt the student and it gives the examiner who reads the essay an insight into the student. It makes your kids seem real and increases our interest in the subject. It is also the place to explain the level of initiative that the student took, and any interesting twists that occurred in the research process. It probably doesn’t take much time, especially when you balance it against the amount of time the student spent on the EE.
Before you submit it to the IB Coordinator, make sure you have an extra copy – paper or electronic – that is identical to the one submitted. On some rare occasions, EEs can get lost, so it is important that the school has a copy if they need to resend the essay. Some schools have a folder for all submissions, so you may have to save it there. Regardless, make sure that you have it somewhere.
Lastly, you have to give a predicted grade for the EE. You may enter it yourself in IBIS or you may give it to a coordinator who does it, but either way, you must make a judgment of the essay against the assessment criteria.
Then, it is time to go for your beverage of choice: coffee, beer or a tall drink of water. Celebrate – you have helped student on the path to completing their IB Diploma and they can check something significant off their list – and so can you.