Criteria (first exam in 2018)
The assessment criteria for the extended essay are both general to all subjects and specific to each subject. The criteria given below are the specific to the Language A: Language and Literature course. These are summaries of the actual criteria, which can be found in the Extended Essay guide on the Online Curriculum Centre.
Criterion A - Focus and method - 6 marks
Topic and research question: The research question should guide the extended essay and give it a strong sense of focus. The focus of the question should include the texts, either literary or non-literary. The research question must be clearly stated on the title pages, along with the name of the course (English A: Language and Literature) and the category (1-3) on which the question is based (see requirements for more information on the three categories). Avoid closed and leading questions. These are questions that are quickly answered and imply bias towards a particular answer. fd
Methodology: Students should undertake an analysis of the text(s) as it pertains to the research question. This includes an introduction explaining the question and why it is worthy of investigation. The introduction should be focused around the research question which must be stated as a question. Background information and a contextual understanding of the text(s) should be offered in the introduction. For categories 1 and 2, there should be a succinct reference to the history of the text(s) and the author(s). For category 3, a connection should be made between culture, context and the target language.
The methodology also includes a relevant conclusion that directly ties to the research question. In between the introduction and conclusion, students should be focusing on analyzing the primary text(s) and using secondary resources to support their claims.
Criterion B - Knowledge and understanding - 6 marks
Source materials and terminology: Students should very carefully select their primary and secondary source material. It should be pertinent and appropriate to the research question. Students will need to make sure to integrate their secondary source material seamlessly with their primary text(s). Correct use and understanding of literary and linguistic terminology is essential.
Students must also demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the text(s) (primary sources). There must be evidence that the student is engaged with the primary source(s). For category 3, both the production (context of composition) and reception (context of interpretation) of the text must be carefully considered with regards to culture.
Criterion C - Critical thinking - 12 marks
Research, analysis, and evaluation: For all three categories, students are expected to investigate the research question in light of the texts chosen. This investigation consists primarily of the student's own interpretations and criticism of the text, supported secondarily by secondary sources offered by critics. Students must develop a unique argument in answering the research question, illustrated by examples from the primary sources. A critical view of secondary sources is encouraged.
Students must support their personal interpretation of texts with strong textual analytical skills. Interpretations must not be the retelling of a critic's ideas from a secondary source.
The essay needs to go somewhere. It must not be a summary of a plot or textual features. Rather the development of a thesis with multiple, well-founded arguments must be included.
Criterion D - Presentation - 4 marks
Structure and layout: The research paper is presented with consistent referencing, quotations and formatting. The title page, bibliography or works cited, table of content, page numbering, illustrations and figures are clear and coherent.
A suggestion was made in the guide that most essays in Category 1 and 2 will be presented as a "continuous body of text." Sometimes, sections and headings will be necessary for a Category 3 extended essay, but they are not always needed.
Criterion E - Engagement - 6 marks
Process and research focus: The examiner uses the "Reflection on planning and progress form" or RPPF to determine this mark. It is the overall impression made by the examiner after reading the essay and is the opportunity for examiners to reward creativity, unique research insight and initiative. Students may score poorly on other criteria but be rewarded on criterion E.
Most importantly, students must take examiners through their learning journey, reflecting about decisions and plans while writing the essay. It is a rationale for their decisions and what they have learned because of it. Mere description of the process isn't warranted. Instead, examiners want to see the student's voice and thinking process.