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Extended Essay

A guide for the extended essay in the DP.

History- Sample A

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary

Subject

History

If applicable, theme for WSEE

 

 

If applicable, category for language essays

 

If applicable, subjects used for WSEE

 

 

Title of essay

To what extent was Molotov a driving force behind Stalin’s foreign and domestic policies in the 1930s?

Essay number

A

Examination session

May 2018

 

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]

6

The topic is communicated accurately and effectively along with the purpose of the research. The research question is clearly stated and appropriately focused. The methodology is mentioned in the introduction and is complete, with an appropriate range of relevant sources. The methods outlined are applied consistently and arguments are posited with frequent references to the research question.

The mark band 5-6 (upper end) is the best fit for this criterion as the essay meets all the requirements.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]

5

Good knowledge is demonstrated throughout, but there are some lapses of understanding. The use of appropriate terminology and concepts is good. The topic is placed within the broader historical context of Stalin’s rule. Overall, the level of knowledge is borderline good/excellent, but understanding best reflects the indicators in the 3-4 mark band (upper end). The use of terminology and concepts is sufficient for the 5-6 band. The best fit would be the lower end of the 5-6 band.

C: Critical thinking

[12]

8

The level of research is good and clearly relevant to the research question and so meets the indicators of the 7-9 band. Analysis is adequate/good with individual points partially supported by the evidence, so this strand barely meets the 7-9 band indicators. There is some evaluation, but this is insufficient to go beyond the upper end of the 4-6 band. Overall, the level of research and analysis brings this essay to the 7-9 mark band, but at mid-range.

D: Presentation

[4]

4

This is well presented. There is clear structure. Referencing is appropriate with footnotes used for citing sources correctly and consistently. The layout is clear and supports the reading, understanding and evaluation of the essay. It meets all the indicators for this 3-4 mark band.

E: Engagement

[6]

(not included)

 

The assessment of an accompanying RPPF will affect the overall mark awarded and the grade achieved.

Total marks awarded

23/28

The topic is identified and the research question is appropriate and stated clearly. Context is given and its significance explained. A focus on the research question is maintained effectively throughout the essay with frequent linkage to the topic. The structure is clear and, for the most part, each argument is explained and supported with sources used effectively, as indicated in the introduction. The knowledge demonstrated is relevant and of a good standard, but not always as thorough as it might be given the quantity of material that has been published on this period of Soviet history. Molotov’s adherence to ideology, for example, could be better explained and more fully supported. Similarly, a better understanding of Stalin’s inner circle (not just Molotov) would have been useful, to add further context. Appropriate terminology is used accurately and effectively. The level of research carried out is good and the material is analysed in a way that is clearly relevant to the question. Conclusions for individual points of analysis are stated, but not always effectively with some assertions rather weakly supported. There is an effective and reasoned argument attempted throughout, but the evaluation of sources is somewhat neglected. Several opportunities to strengthen analysis are missed. The formal presentation is very good and the layout supports the reading and understanding of the essay.

Please note: as a result of modifying existing extended essays for illustrative purposes, not all exemplars have an accompanying RPPF for assessment under criterion E (this is a mandatory element for all essays as of 2018). As a result, this essay has been marked out of 28 rather than 34.

History- Sample B

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary

Subject

History

If applicable, theme for WSEE

 

 

If applicable, category for language essays

 

If applicable, subjects used for WSEE

 

 

Title of essay

How did the US media reporting of Vietnam War events out of context influence the American public?

Essay number

B

Examination session

May 2018

 

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]

3

There is a research question, but the wording is not very coherent and it is not entirely clear what the investigation will aim to achieve or how this will be done. An RQ is stated but not clearly expressed. The intent is more or less understood, however. The types of sources to be used are mentioned in the introduction and are generally relevant and there is some evidence that their selection was informed. For the most part, there is some adherence to the method and some focus is kept on the research question. Best fit is the low end of the 3-4 band.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]

3

There is some knowledge of the topic, with reference being made to events in the Vietnam War, and so this is relevant and appropriate. There is limited/some understanding of the sources used but their application is only partially effective. There is some historical context. Low end of the 3-4 band is the best fit.

C: Critical thinking

[12]

3

Although there is some research, the analysis is limited. An argument is outlined but is incomplete with little attention paid to possible counter-arguments or alternative interpretations. The candidate sets out to state an argument and to select material/state opinions to support it. This suggests limited understanding (see B).There is no explicit evaluation of sources beyond, perhaps, a blanket rejection of the reliability of media reporting.

D: Presentation

[4]

2

The formal presentation is acceptable but there are weaknesses in the structure that inhibit the reading and understanding of the extended essay. The presentation of the photographs is poor, lacking referencing, and there are no sub-headings to indicate how the argument is structured.

Under the new requirements this essay must be referred as a possible case of academic misconduct due to incorrect and inconsistent citing and referencing.

E: Engagement

[6]

(not included)

2

The reflections are mainly descriptive, although there are glimpses of an insight into issues with sources.

Total marks awarded

13/34

A weak extended essay that is hampered by a poorly worded research question. Also, clearly, the intention is to support a hypothesis with selective arguments that do not consider any alternative interpretation of events. There is little here on how the impact of reporting on the American public is measured, beyond rather general assertions regarding the impact of television news. Understanding of the events of the war that are mentioned is rather poor and sources are not evaluated. There is limited application of critical thinking and analysis is weak. Overall, there is an absence of source evaluation and a limited attempt to support a dubious argument with weakly supported assertions.

History- Sample C

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary

Subject

History

If applicable, theme for WSEE

 

If applicable, category for language essays

 

If applicable, subjects used for WSEE

 

Title of essay

Under what circumstances did the March 1 st Movement develop?

Essay number

C

Examination session

May 2018

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]

4

The topic and the research question are communicated and are appropriate. There is a focus on the research question and links are made to it as the essay proceeds. The methodology is explained. Sources used appear to be appropriate and there appears to be some evidence that their selection has been informed. The best-fit is top end of the 3-4 mark band.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]

4

The knowledge and understanding is fair (rather than “good”). The selection of source material is mostly relevant (this is assumed from the content, as the titles of sources are all in Korean). The terms used are adequate, although these could, at times, have been better explained. For the most part, they demonstrate an adequate level of the context for the March 1 st movement.

C: Critical thinking

[12]

4

The application of some research is relevant to the research question, but the level of analysis is rather limited. Although analysis is attempted and some of the arguments posited are reasonable and quite logical, there is almost no supporting evidence offered, beyond referencing. It is implied that the sources would include evidence. There is some limited attempt to evaluate sources but this is not very effective. Conclusions on individual points are made but, again, not well supported. The best-fit is the lower end of the 4-6 band.

D: Presentation

[4]

4

The layout is quite correct and applied correctly, for the most part. The bibliography could have been structured more coherently, but sub-headings are used and this assists with the reading and understanding of the EE.

E: Engagement

[6]

(not included)

 

The assessment of an accompanying RPPF will affect the overall mark awarded and the grade achieved.

Total marks awarded

16/28

There is an attempt here to convey the importance of the March 1 st movement, with some structure that allows for the development of a reasonable argument that is linked to the Research question. It is rather descriptive, for the most part, with many assertions that are not supported with specific evidence and a tendency to resort to sweeping generalizations rather than a careful analysis of sources. Research has been undertaken and some effective engagement has been attempted. There is some knowledge and understanding of the topic in the wider context of this period of Korean history and this is mostly relevant. Partially relevant analysis has been attempted but conclusions are not well supported.

Please note: as a result of modifying existing extended essays for illustrative purposes, not all exemplars have an accompanying RPPF for assessment under criterion E (this is a mandatory element for all essays as of 2018). As a result, this essay has been marked out of 28 rather than 34.

 


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