Ee samples 2018 Guide Marking Comments



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EE Samples 2018 Guide
Marking Comments
Biology Sample

Title of essay: An Improvising Brain

What are the neurophysiological correlates of playing musical pieces that are subject to varying practice and hence to varying ability to improvise?
Mark awarded Commentary
A: Focus and method [6]
5 The topic explanation is very clear and well-founded, with appropriate sources and research. 
The title could be a bit more illuminating. 
The research question is actually very focused, although that may only become clear when the essay is read. The methods applied are well explained. 
A best-fit approach lands the essay in the top band. However, an explanation of why the student’s approach is selected (and not others) is not evident, so only the lower level in the band is achieved.
B: Knowledge and understanding [6]
6 The candidate addressed both strands and all indicators to the highest level.
C: Critical thinking  [12]
11 The research was highly sophisticated and creative, but not always directly relevant to the research question. The candidate showed excellent understanding and mastery of the research. The analysis is clearly structured and presented and a consistent, clear argument is developed with conclusions drawn.

There is a critical evaluation, but it does not address whether the approach taken and methods used were appropriate and produced valid data—hence the absolute top level is not achieved.

D: Presentation [4]

4 An appropriate cover letter from external professional was provided. 


The structure and layout are good and support the reading and appreciation of the essay

E: Engagement [6]

(not included)

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

Total marks awarded 26/28

Summative comment 


Top-level investigation. The only weakness were a lack of discussion about the reasons for choosing the data-collection method and critical evaluation of that method. 
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

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

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.

Language and Literature Sample (Category 1)

Title of essay

How is light used to depict the course of the Wingfield family’s hope in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie?

Mark awarded

A: Focus and method [6]

6The essay is a good example of work which meets the requirements of the top level (5-6) of achievement in this criterion. The research topic is effectively communicated and the purpose and focus of the research is clear. In addition, the candidate has made an effective selection of source material in support of her answer (especially the inclusion of the lighting photos, gleaned from various stage productions and reproduced in color in the appendices). The methodology of the essay is firmly focused on an exploration of dramatic technique used by Williams and how this is used to support both the meaning of the events of the play and intensify its tragic outcome. This sophisticated approach in particular justifies the mark of “6” for this criterion.

B: Knowledge and understanding [6]

6Knowledge and understanding of the way lighting techniques are used by Williams to represent and/or symbolize both hope and the lack of hope is excellent, and sources are used effectively and with understanding throughout the discussion. Subject-specific terminology—especially important in an essay of this nature—is confidently employed to support the points made, and includes references to concepts such as “plastic theatre” coined by Williams himself to describe his stagecraft techniques. The candidate’s confidence in selecting examples from the text to illustrate her ideas and demonstrate her understanding merit a mark of “6” here also.

C: Critical thinking [12]

10The research is analysed effectively and remains clearly focused on the research question. Conclusions to individual points of analysis are effectively supported by the evidence—for example, when “tracking” the upsurge of hope, or conversely, the regression into despair and disillusionment in a particular scene. A clearly structured and reasoned argument is supported by a strong final conclusion. The importance of Williams’s stage directions is acknowledged and the candidate pays careful attention to the fact that through these, Williams controlled the lighting scheme to eg reproduce the effect of a religious painting “where the figures are radiant in an atmosphere that is relatively dusky.” The essay as a whole merits a place in the top band of achievement for this criterion (10-12). However, a few further examples or quotations from the play and, in places, a more detailed discussion of context would have helped the candidate to explore her topic still further, and thus a mark of 10 has been awarded.

D: Presentation [4]

4The formal presentation is good and the structure and layout support the reading, understanding and evaluation of the EE. Full color copies of the stills from the stage productions are helpfully supplied as appendices and provide visual aids to the discussion.

E: Engagement [6]

3The reflections are quite pedestrian compared to the quality of the essay. There is some recognition of skills development but overall is quite descriptive.

Total marks awarded26/34

An excellent example of a candidate who really examines the play as a play, with careful attention being paid to a key element of the staging and its contribution to the meaning of the theatrical experience. There are well-argued and expressed ideas throughout.



Language Acquisition Category 3

Title of essay: Limitation or Illumination in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

A: Focus and method [6]

6The topic is clearly and effectively introduced and communicated. The Research question is precise and very appropriately developed in the discussion through the essay. The purpose and method applied is entirely appropriate to the Research question.

B: Knowledge and understanding [6]

6The knowledge and understanding is excellent. The selection of sources is appropriate and clearly relevant to the Research question. The use of concepts about Asperger’s and characterization are effective and well understood. Secondary sources are well chosen and support the ideas from the primary text. In a category 3 essay, the use and understanding of primary text must be at the core.

C: Critical thinking [12]

11The research is almost always relevant to the Research question. The assertions made are well supported in most places by relevant evidence from the text. An effective, persuasive argument is developed; however, the one weakness noted in section two seems to come in the confusion surrounding what the candidate means by “enlightened”. Some of the evidence points more toward coping mechanisms employed by Christopher, rather than on how he gains insight into situations. The conclusion does not present an entirely convincing summative conclusion either. Nonetheless, the argument remains coherent throughout and these inconsistencies do not take away from the overall strength of the essay.

D: Presentation [4]

4The essay clearly contains all the expected layout elements of an EE in this subject. The structure of the essay is clear and supports the presentation of the argument. The referencing is consistent, despite the error with URL references that did not include the date of access or other possible identifying information. The presentation overall shows awareness of the academic context of the EE and deserves top marks.

E: Engagement [6]

(not included)

4Reflections are generally good, communicating a personal engagement with the topic and some insights into skills development.

Total marks awarded31/34

The essay is a good example of a well planned and executed argument. It has some minor flaws, but overall is impressive in the presentation, language and support of ideas. There is a skilful use of relevant secondary sources and well-chosen support. The discussion is coherent and interesting and the writer’s voice is authentic. The structure of the essay is sound. The candidate demonstrates a solid effort all around.

Visual Arts Sample




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.


World Studies Sample




Title of essay

Factors contributing to the support of separatist movements

Essay number

A

Examination session







Assessment of extended essay




Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary




A: Focus and method

[6]


5

The research question is “Which factors, with a special focus on the 2014 referendum for independence in Scotland, have contributed most to the increase in popularity of separatist movements in Europe?”

The topic is communicated clearly. The topic implies a rather wider field of study than the direct focus on Scotland which is in the research question. The research question is intriguing as it implies that the author will rank the factors mentioned. An appropriate range of sources of different types has been chosen, with a nice mix of academic and current media. All that is missing is the setting of the issue of separatism in a broader context, as an issue of global importance.

The appropriate markband is 5-6.





B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]


5

The IB academic subjects claimed on the cover sheet are history, economics and politics. There is evidence of familiarity with all three in the course of the essay, and terminology from the social sciences is used with understanding and skill. The author’s understanding of separatism in Scotland is good, but more time should have been taken to “launch” the issue of separatism, which is evident in many parts of the world. Also, the conclusion could have done more to apply the knowledge and understanding gained on a wider scale. Some brief comparisons are made. Sources are generally used well and with understanding.

The appropriate markband appears to be 5-6.






C: Critical thinking

[12]


9

The author’s judgement in selecting four topics to analyse Scottish separatism is good, especially in the use of history and culture in creating a believable myth of national identity. In some sense it is a shame that the distinctive legal and educational systems are not considered (though this is acknowledged in the introduction), as they are different from England’s and are a part of institutional distinctiveness.

A mature analytical style is used, with evaluative content (usually substantiated) woven into the text. There is frequent reference back to the main theme of the essay and so a clear, coherent, reasoned argument develops. A summative conclusion is offered, which ranks the factors in order of importance in determining the local characteristics of separatism in Scotland.

The section on economic factors is interesting and the attempt to correlate SNP votes against income (not wealth, as stated) levels is an original attempt at primary research which could have been developed further.

The most appropriate markband is 7-9.






D: Presentation

[4]


4

The essay is clearly a stewed down version of a much bigger work and the author is guilty of compressing extra material into footnotes, which are expansions of the text rather than references. This is a way of expanding the word limit and should be discouraged.

The structure of the essay aligns with the expectations of a research essay. Referencing is clear and fairly comprehensive and consistent. The layout allows the reader to access the essay easily. The author has a good academic style which communicates clearly and allows understanding readily. The bibliography is nicely organized and accessible.

The most appropriate markband is 3-4.





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

It must be emphasised that this essay was written well before the referendum on Scottish independence of September 2014 (which resulted in a narrow majority against independence) and the UK general election of May 2015 in which the Scottish Nationalist Party (separatist) won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland. It therefore lacks the benefit of hindsight that comes from a substantial victory for separatist politics. At the same time, it shows a degree of prescience in that the issue has become more important since the time of writing.

The main limitation of the essay is that it confines consideration of separatism to Europe and focuses too heavily on Scotland, though comparisons are drawn with Catalonia and mention is made of other countries. In other words, it does not establish an issue of global concern. The skills exercised are very much those of the historian, even though the subject matter includes the last 10 years. These skills relate to causation, weighting of factors, interpretation of information, etc. A better introduction and conclusion could have made the essay outstanding, but nevertheless it represents a considerable achievement by the author.







ESS Sample

A: Focus and method [6]

3 The research question is explained and the purpose of the research is clear and well explained but unfortunately the methodology and sources are very limited.

B: Knowledge and understanding [6]

4 The candidate shows some knowledge and how the research question relates to the subject area.

Use of terminology and concepts is mostly accurate but very limited. However, the communication style sometimes is too journalistic and less scientific

C: Critical thinking [12]

6 The candidate recognizes the complexity of this topic (anthropogenic influences in climate change) and makes an effort to be review several perspectives.

The analysis of the data is partially relevant to the research question but the conclusions are only partially supported by the evidence.

The candidate has done some evaluation of the research and makes clear attempts to be a critical thinker.

D: Presentation [4]

3 The structure of the essay is clear and appropriate. However, the presentation of illustrations and graphs could be improved.

Under the new guidelines the candidate should only list the references that are cited on the text (not the ones consulted).

E: Engagement [6]

4 Some good insights shown and reflections made. Positive engagement with the subject area.

Total marks awarded 20/34

The candidate selected a very interesting topic (humans and climate change) but has a research question very difficult to answer in the scope of an extended essay.  The candidate was able to select data and carry out some mathematical analysis. The quality of the discussion and analysis is limited but shows independent thinking.

Economics Sample

Title of essayWhat are the factors that affect the consumers’ demand for cabbage in two different localities in Busan, South Korea: Haeundae and Young-Do and how do they vary from each locality?Essay numberAExamination sessionAssessment of extended essayCriteriaMark awardedCommentary

A: Focus and method [6]

5

Ideally, a double-barrelled RQ should be avoided. However, this shortcoming is not enough to prevent the essay from reaching the top band. The purpose and focus of the research is made very clear and is highly suitable for economic analysis. The essay uses an appropriate range of sources, including highly effective primary data, and the methodology is appropriate to the Research question and quite sophisticated. The essay remains focused on the Research question throughout. What prevents this from receiving full marks is that the question ends up being too big to be able to be answered within 4,000 words. The focus on the Research question is maintained throughout the essay, but the student seems to be forced to forego some critical analysis.



B: Knowledge and understanding [6]

6

There is clear and coherent use of the source material. Throughout the essay, there is evidence of a mature and sophisticated understanding of economic theory. The use of terminology and concepts is excellent.



C: Critical thinking [12]

10

Both the research undertaken and the analysis of the results are of a very high standard, showing a mature application and understanding of economic theory. Throughout the essay, there are concluding comments linking the analysis with the research question. An effective, focused, and reasoned argument is developed from the quantitative data. The argument is largely well-structured and coherent. Limitations here come from the likelihood that it was a challenge to keep the essay within the word count. Some of the analysis/conclusions are presented in a rather perfunctory manner, or even in the form of a table rather than a written analysis, and this leaves some of the analysis up to the reader. With a longer essay, there might have been more evaluation throughout the essay. Although there is evaluation in the summative conclusion, it would have been appropriate to evaluate the analysis throughout the essay. The bottom of this level is appropriate; the research and analysis are excellent, but there could be more critical awareness.



D: Presentation [4]

4

The structure of the essay is clearly appropriate in terms of the requirements of a formal essay. The illustrative material supports the approach and is mostly very clear and informative.



E: Engagement [6]

(not included)

The assessment of an accompanying RPPF will affect the overall mark awarded and the grade achieved.Total marks awarded 25/28

This is a very strong EE, showing a high level of knowledge and understanding of economic theory, excellent research and mature analysis. There is clear engagement with the relevant topic.

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.

Maths Sample

Title of essay

The Mathematics of the Rainbow

Essay number

A

Examination session

May 2014

Assessment of extended essay

Criteria

Mark awarded

Commentary

A: Focus and method

[6]


4

There is a clearly focussed topic and research question, but the methodology a little lacking—it’s all rather repetitive. In a sense it’s one short essay repeated four times, and this repetition should be avoided. Both the research question and the methodology needed greater thought. A more effective essay would have gone on to explore some other aspect of rainbows, perhaps after the secondary rainbow. Exploring the “ends” of the rainbow, perhaps.

B: Knowledge and understanding

[6]


5

Good knowledge and understanding shown, and an effective commentary runs through the essay. The use of mathematical terminology is good.

C: Critical thinking

[12]


8

This is a good, well written essay, but Snell’s Equation, which was crucial, was stated without justification or example. Basically, the same approach is taken four times in looking at four types of rainbow, so it’s rather repetitive. That Snell’s Equation is taken from physics doesn’t make this inappropriate as a maths essay, as the candidate has taken a situation from physics and analysed it in a mathematical manner. The repetition keeps the essay out of the 10-12 range, but the clear analysis and discussion puts it firmly in 7-9.

D: Presentation

[4]


4

Well presented. All requirements are here.

E: Engagement

[6]


(not included)




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

Total marks awarded

21/28

As a maths essay it’s a little flawed, but as a learning process with a successful outcome it is very good.

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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