CP news

CP news for coordinators and CP teachers

Here you will find updates on the CP that may well be relevant to your context as well as spotlights on key areas of philsosophy and curriculum with additional support material to aid collaboration and understanding amongst staff and students. Creating a greater concurrency between programmes forms a major part of your five year plan as you work towards evaluation. The focus predominantly here is on the core and how it can draw together all aspects of the CP experience for the students.

News and monthly focus

March 2021
This month, as the reflective project process draws to a close for CP2 cohorts, we turn our attention not just to the CP1 reflective project process but the whole core experience.
For many the new term can signal a loss of momentum in the reflective project process that parallels an improvement in the weather. Scaffolding the student experience with thinking processes and extra support for supervisors can really help students over this hurdle.
Select resources to position the reflective project as a process not a product and using the Researcher's Reflection Space, in whatever form they choose, can really help them make decision as well as inform their RPPF.

Research skills

An open-minded and adaptable approach to researchStudents developing research skills early on can help them quickly ascertain whether their intended research question and area will work; there are many...

Reflective Thinking

Reflection is generally seen as an exercise in looking back on what has been done. The part that is missed out is to use this knowledge to shape what can be done in the future. This is how reflection...

The students may also be at a stage of realising their question is not working for them and needs adapting. Refocus with resources from these pages.

Creating a Research Question

Without the right research question, there is a limit to how successful the whole reflective project can be. Yes, students will still have the opportunity to employ ethical, critical and reflective thinking...

Ethical dimensions, issues and dilemmas.

Finding a suitable ethical issue and dilemma to analyse critically is at the centre of the reflective project process. However a student also needs to be able to understand the ethical ramifications of...

February 2021: Reflective Project supervisors

As centres launch the reflective project for their CP1 cohort, it is a good plan to think ahead to giving supervisors the confidence they need to help students in their RP. A good supervisor has a range of attributes but being an expert in the field of their student's reflective project topic area does not have to be one of them! Being a good questioner and listener is definitely far more important.

For more activities and advice, see Supervising  and Giving feedback pages as well as advice on how to spot really good Ethical Thinking , Reflective Thinking and Critical Thinking. Also see Planning and process management and Self assessment for ideas on giving students the autonomy they need.
NEW: Understanding 'Truth' is a new set of resources in the PPS hub with very close ties with the Reflective Project. A great way to start 2021!

Here we explore the concept of truth. post-truth and misinformation (fake news!) in the context of 2020 and 2021 and activities to help students navigate this tricky landscape.

3rd December 2020: Look out for updates

The CP coordinator is constantly looking keeping up to date with updates from the IB but even more so in 2020. With the release of Supporting guidance for the May 21 and November 21 exam sessions, there are consistent addenda too. Loom out on 3rd December for updates on internal assessment and non-examination/coursework assessment components. There are updagtes for Studies in language and literature (Language A: language and literature-individual orals, Literature and Performance), Language Acquisition (Language ab initio, Language B SL and HL - individual orals), Business Management, Geography, Global Politics, Sciences (general update and Group 4 project), Design Technology, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre (including pilot), Visual Arts, Extended Essay (sciences and geography) and, last but not least, Reflective project.

The Reflective project has updates on the moderation process and advice from the chief examiner from the M20 session. Highlights to be included below soon.

Core news and reading

Podcasts and interviews

 Guiding students with the reflective project by Wilma Shen: December 2020

In addition to the IB voices podcast below from November 2020, there is another focused on the reflective project with Wilma Shen from Renaissance College in Hong Kong, well worth a listen. Another perspective on the reflective project and how it can be structured and supported in your school

The Reflective Project - Big Picture: November 2020:

“Everything in the reflective project gives students the skills needed to navigate their career path”.

IB Voices are making a series of podcasts that concentrate specifically on the CP core. In the first, I am interviewed by Robert Kelty about the reflective project and my 2019. Less than 30 minutes, it gives insights, advice and tips for meeting the challenges of the reflective project and helping students recognise the real world relevance.

 COMING SOON Spring 2021 (Northern Hemisphere!)

I am really delighted to interview Sara Woodcock on developing the core element of Language Development in your school's context. Sara is an expert in this field! Whatever stage you are at with the CP, whether moving towards Authorisation or Evaluation, this discussion will help you consider your course from new perspectives.

Another really enriching listen with Chad Lower from North Kansas City High School discussing creating authentic language development for his students to enhance their experience of the CP
Reflective Project Updates[1]

The editable PDF version of the RPPF should be used for all examination sessions. The RPPF is essential for the fulfilment of criterion E so non-submission of this form means a mark of zero for this criterion. From May 2020 the form has a career-related study section and candidate initials as well as a word count for each student reflection. Centres absolutely should use this form by 2021 exam session at the latest and E-upload with reflective projects as is normal procedure.

Using Reflective Project Assessment Criteria

The subject report for the Reflective Project is brilliant for helping supervisors in their role, tweaking delivery for the next school year and, most importantly, to keep in mind for the marking of the draft stage (by the time final moderation comes about, any major issues are hard to tackle). The suject report gives you information about the grade boundaries set for that year by the chief examiner; however always use the descriptors in the official criteria for marking as these are the only constant. Also ensure that you are using the revised version of Criterion A from September 2017 for first assessment in May 2018.

Curriculum reviews[1]

Each element of the core is undergoing a curriculum review at the moment as part of the IB's 7 year curriculum cycle. The IB always encourage current CP teachers to become part of the review cycles which is worth investigating as a really good way of keeping key staff proactive in the delivery of the core.

Personal and Professional Skills, Service Learning and the Reflective Project are undergoing curriculum reviews and in the early stages of development.

Language Development is in the development stage of this cycle and has already published updates last year. With all reviews the aim is unpack the theoretical framework and find ways to clarify the purpose, scope and nature of the core element. Here the focus is very much on how do student's gain a full understanding of their cultural and linguistic starting point and how can they effectively curate this evidence. The idea being that a greater understanding and illustration of the unique nature of every individual's language background leads to a rich and meaningful language development journey.

December spotlight on ... Academic Integrity

Spotlight on academic integrity in 2020 

Academic Integrity is a fundamental aspect of the CP course and no greater way is played out than in the reflective project process. For schools offering CP or multiple IB programmes including CP, this is familiar territory indeed. Academic Integrity is also an area that all stakeholders need refreshing about every year so ensuring that Core, DP and CRS staff are up to speed with what malpractice can look like and what to do if they are suspect issues, is crucial. In addition to this, 2020 has thrown many challenges at us; adapting to ensure that academic integrity is not compromised by the new ways we have had to teach and learn is just yet another.

Advice released on the 20th  October[2] and 3rd November by the IB[3] gives clarification of changes to assessment for M21 and N21 sessions as well as core specific guidance for the CP. Such literature indicates a reality of moving core teaching and learning online and carried out remotely; conversations with different centres have illustrated successes and setbacks in such a process but certainly what unites everyone is a commitment to make it work.

Interestingly, in the core guidance it is the reflective project area that needs arguably more attention. It details the need here for supervision to move remotely and how this can be carried out. Remember the role of the supervisor is to witness the reflective project process in a way that they can verify that the work is the student’s own authentic research and exploration. It might be that remote supervision calls for supervisors to pay close attention to comparing previous work with current work to check that the student’s work is consistently progressing without anomalies. Certainly, it is also sensible to ask students to provide excerpts and evidence of the research they have done to confirm not only the amount of work they have done but also how they have used it.

It remains that the supervisor’s key role is to ask good open questions that guides students into getting the most out of the reflective project so the more the student feels they can interact in as natural way as possible with their supervisor the better; making real use of a shared online RSS – essentially a journal  with vlogs, blogs, photos, videos, comments, questions, extended reflections can make the job of tracking the student’s reflective project process a lot easier and also more enjoyable. Arguably it establishes a use for the Research and Reflection Space in a far more authentic and useful way than is often utilized by students in ‘normal’ times. Many centres also use plagiarism software which can be really helpful but obviously results need to be scrutinized and not taken at face value.

The reality remains that in tough times such as this, students and parents may feel tempted to access outside tuition and guidance – especially if they perceive the support network has not been effectively establish by school. This is a very tricky area and essentially compromised academic integrity.


  1. a, b Career-related Programme Coordinator notes: December 2020
  2. ^ Supporting Guidance for CP Schools M21 and N21: On the Completion fo the CP Core 
  3. ^ Information and/or support for the May and November 2021 examination sessions
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