Skip to main content

Extended Essay

A guide for the extended essay in the DP.

Visual Arts: Sample A

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary

Subject

Visual Arts

If applicable, theme for WSEE

 

If applicable, category for language essays

 

If applicable, subjects used for WSEE

 

Title of essay

Master of Suspense: Alfred Hitchcock

Research Question: How does Alfred Hitchcock visually guide viewers as he creates suspense in films such as “The Pleasure Garden,” “The Lodger,” “Strangers on a Train” and “Psycho”?

Essay number

 

Examination session

 

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]

5

The essay reaches achievement level 5-6 and deserves the lower mark. The topic of the essay is appropriate, interesting and made sufficiently clear, as is the purpose and focus of the research. The candidate does a good job of frequently bringing the discussion back to the research question. Evidence of an effective and informed selection of sources is to be found throughout the essay.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]

5

The essay reaches achievement level 5-6 and deserves the lower mark. The source material is clearly relevant and appropriate. The analysis of the films in question is well handled and appropriate historical and critical texts have been consulted. The use of subject specific terminology is accurate, if not perspicacious, and the use of language demonstrates effective knowledge and understanding.

C: Critical thinking

[12]

10

The best-fit approach is needed here. The research is clearly appropriate and in places effectively applied to the argument and analysis, although not consistently so (11). The inclusion of less relevant research (Hitchcock’s influence on Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island) does not significantly detract from the quality of the overall analysis (11). An effective series of arguments has been developed, although in a somewhat piecemeal manner that does not entirely lead to the summative conclusion (9). In terms of the films, the research has been critically evaluated. Some of the secondary sources, such as reference to Donald Spoto, is well handled, while other sections, e.g. reference to Edward Munch’s The Scream and the discussion of mirrors in Psycho, may be interesting, but are not clearly linked to the research. (10)

D: Presentation

[4]

4

The essay meets the expectations for the formal presentation. Although it would have been more impressive if a side-by-side comparison with Munch’s The Scream had been presented, this should not be seen as an expectation and such an omission does not prevent the formal presentation from being deemed “good.”

E: Engagement

[6]

(not included)

 

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

Total marks awarded

24/28

Although in places more descriptive than necessary, overall this is an intelligent, insightful and analytical extended essay. The candidate has reflected both upon the films in question and secondary sources, with an appropriate focus on cinematic themes relevant to an extended essay registered in the Visual Arts. In several instances the analysis is good and leads to a rather convincing argument.

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.

Visual Arts: Sample B

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary

Subject

Visual Arts

If applicable, theme for WSEE

 

If applicable, category for language essays

 

If applicable, subjects used for WSEE

 

Title of essay

Title: Emotions in the Surrealist Works of Salvador Dali

Research Question: How did Salvador Dali's Use of the Surrealism Movement Evoke Emotion?

Essay number

 

Examination session

 

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]

4

The research topic is communicated and focused, but the discussion in the essay is only partially focused and connected to the research question – the emotional content of the paintings considered in the essay, and how Salvador Dali used surrealist strategies to communicate emotional sensations to viewers of his work, receives superficial treatment. The selection of sources is limited – much of it appears to be of a general nature and internet based.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]

4

The selection of source material is mostly relevant and appropriate to the research question. Both application of sources and demonstration of knowledge of the topic are only partially effective. Subject specific terminology is for the most part adequate, but no real distinction is made between emotion, idea, anxiety and the subconscious. As it is, these concepts seem to be applied almost interchangeably.

C: Critical thinking

[12]

5

The best-fit approach is called for in applying Criterion C: The application of the research presented is limited and its relevance to the RQ, “How did Salvador Dali's Use of the Surrealism Movement Evoke Emotion?” is not entirely clear (level 3). There is some good analysis of the paintings discussed in the essay, partially relevant to the research question (level 6). The discussion and evaluation are adequate, but the reasoning contains inconsistencies. Although the candidate does not stick to the research question, some of the points made are valid, clear and connected with the research (level 5).

D: Presentation

[4]

2

The essay only partially meets the requirements for the formal presentation. Images are appropriately referenced, but do not appear in the body of the text. Most, but not all quotations have been referenced. Quotation marks are placed after parenthetical citations, rather than after the last word of the actual quote. Citations are provided for general information from the research, but URLs for sources indicated in the main text, e.g. Salvador-dali.org and theartstory.org, are not listed as such in the bibliography.

E: Engagement

[6]

(not included)

 

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

Total marks awarded

15/28

For an essay ostensibly about how Dali used surrealist strategies to evoke an emotional response in viewers of his work, there is little discussion about what these emotions are supposed to be, as if they are either too obvious or too mysterious to mention. Instead, descriptive accounts of the three paintings in question are followed by brief analysis of their content and palette, accompanied by references to a limited number of internet sources.

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.

Visual Arts: Sample C

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary

Subject

Visual Arts

If applicable, theme for WSEE

 

If applicable, category for language essays

 

If applicable, subjects used for WSEE

 

Title of essay

The Depiction of Women in the Paintings of Joaquin Sorolla and Marc Chagall

Research Question: To what extent does the culture and emotional background of Chagall and Sorolla impact their depiction of women?

Essay number

 

Examination session

 

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]

2

Although the research question itself is sufficiently focused and its intent is understandable, it has not been clearly expressed. Identification and explanation of the topic is limited and the purpose and focus of the research is unclear. Given the research topic, sources and methods are limited, as is evidence that their selection has been informed.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]

2

Although early in the essay there are a few appropriate quotes from art scholars, these are mentioned in passing and not used effectively. In several instances, subject-specific terminology and concepts are inaccurate, demonstrating a rather basic knowledge and understanding. The candidate uses “dyed” as a synonym for “painted” and the term Giclée (a digital-printing technique), is completely inappropriate for the context in which it is used.

C: Critical thinking

[12]

2

The application of the research presented is limited and its relevance to the research question is not clear. The student survey referred to in the essay does not appreciably further the discussion. Some of the analysis of the two works under discussion is good – especially the point about the relationship between the man and woman in the Marc Chagall painting – but in several sections is limited and not based on evidence. There are a few valid points made in the argument, but much of it is unstructured, insufficiently focused on the research question and based on limited evidence.

D: Presentation

[4]

1

The formal presentation is barely acceptable. The essay layout is sufficiently well organized, but several elements are either weak or only partially in place:

  • The bibliography lists “Google Search” as a source (no less than three times)
  • The sources for images are not clearly provided
  • Only a few of the quotes are referenced.
  • Proper names frequently begin with a lower-case letter

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)

3

Clearly some personal engagement with the topic area and some insights into the decision making process.  However, these do not move beyond general observations about decisions made and the impact of these on the research.

Total marks awarded

10/34

While the essay topic itself is interesting and some attempt is made at providing structure to the analysis and argument, much of what is presented appears to be based on the candidate’s feelings and (limited) knowledge of the subject, rather than applying critical analysis to appropriate research. As the conclusion makes all too clear, the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of modern art is rather basic.


Keystone Academy Libraries
No. 11 An Fu Street
Houshayu, Shunyi District
Beijing, China 101318
Phone: (86 10) 8049 6008