Focus on the criteria

Focus on the criteria

Criterion A: Focus and method

This criteria assesses the candidates ability to write about the extended essay topic in a coherent and effective manner.  In order to achieve the top mark band for this criteria, candidates must demonstrate that they have successfully completed the following:

How the research was conducted must be clearly communicated.  This should be explained at the beginning part of the essay and must be expressed in the form of a question.  The focus and research question must also be suitable for answering the topic effectively within the word limit of the essay.  Extended essay supervisors must be particularly vigilant in ensuring that students select a suitable research topic.  The temptation for many students in the IB is to select a particular area of interest such as the economic impacts of Brexit. In reality this is simply too broad a topic to describe within the word limit of the essay.  A far more suitable research question might be the impact of the UK referendum decision on a small geographical area, perhaps one likely to be directly effected by the decision. 

The research methodology must also be complete and clearly connected to the research being undertaken.  The discussion detailed in the essay must draw on the research completed.  The candidate uses appropriate and sufficient sources in completing their work.  This may be evident in the variety of the resources used as well as the quantity used.  Students must indicate in the introduction which theories and studies they intend to use and how they will use them.

Candidates will need to explain, during the introduction how they will develop their argument throughout the essay.  In other words they need to explain their plan of how they will write their essay.  Overall the introduction now plays a larger element of the essay and for this reason the number of marks for this criteria has been increased.

Maximum mark for this section 6.

Criterion B: Knowledge and understanding

To score highly in ths section candidates must demonstrate excellent knowledge and understanding of the relevant economics concepts.  This means also that the candidate has effectively used an appropriate array of sources (this is also included in criteria A).  The essay must show not only a definition of relevant economics topics, included in the essay, but that they have used them accurately in writing the essay.  Simply providing a textbook definition for a term such as demand elasticity would not be sufficient to achieve the top mark band for this criteria.

Maximum mark for this section 6.

Criteria C: Evaluation

This is the most important assessment criteria under the new criteria as it awards the most marks.  To reach the highest grade boundary in this criteria, a candidate must demonstrate evidence of the following: 

The research completed during the essay must be excellent and builds on the relevant work already written in this subject area.  One way of achieving this is to focus on a local area or problem that can be investigated. The research and analysis completed must be excellent and relevant to the investigation.  Almost all of the research is entirely focused on the scope of the essay and adds to the overall quality of the content.  Conclusions identified will be supported by the research completed during the essay.  There must be effective discussion through out the essay containing a balanced argument, that is effectively supported by the evidence provided. This section must include a critical evaluation of all the research completed and this must highlight both the weaknesses and strengths of the research.

Maximum mark for this section 12.

Criteria D: Presentation

The overall presentation of the essay must be good to score highly in this criteria.  The essay must be well structured, making it easy to read and follow the main arguments and conclusions.  There are two main changes from the previous criteria.

Examiners will no longer give credit for anything written in footnotes.  Previously students could use footnotes to clarify an argument and some students would use these footnotes as a way of getting around the word count.  Definitions must now be written in the body of the essay. 

Students will no longer write an abstract under the new criteria.  This will now be included in the introduction.  Citation will also no longer be assessed, although candidates may be penalised for academic dishonesty should the citation not represent the work accurately.

The IB are also tightening up on the reference section.  Examiners will penalise students in situations where a candidate includes a number of sources in the References section which were not included in the body of the work. 

Maximum mark for this section 4.

Criteria E: Engagement

This is a new criteria for the extended essay and assesses the candidates ability in planning the essay as well as following through with the process.  This criteria might also reflect the extent to which a student has reacted to either set backs or additional information encountered during their research process.  To score highly in this section the candidate must demonstrate that the level of engagement, employed during the writing and research process, has been excellent.  It is likely that supervisors will have a more active involvement in assessing this criteria, than under the existing criteria, which used a viva voce as the primary method of assessing the student's engagement in the essay writing process.  Under the new criteria students are required to submit three reflections on the research process.  The first of these will be early on in the process, the second will consist of a meeting during the essay process and then the last of these will be conducted after the final viva voce.  IB refers to these as "Planning, Process and Product."

Schools using the Managebac system will find a tab for the 'Planning and Progress Form' on the EE page in the right-hand column.  This is where students can enter their reflections.

Maximum mark for this section 6.

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.