Extended Essay Language B Criteria Matrix

While the extended essay is an excellent opportunity to explore a topic of choice in depth, it is important that we adhere to the basic requirements of the IB.  It is easy to become carried away with an idea that seems fantastic, but in the end is neither relevant nor focused.  This page offers an overview of the changes to the EE guide with exams starting in May of 2018.  It also provides general and subject specific requirements. 

3 Major Extended Essay Changes for First Exam in May 2018

1.  Reflection Sessions and Paperwork

  • Students must fill out the "Reflections on Planning and Progress Form" or RPPF.  It can be found on the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC). 
  • 3 meetings with the supervisor must occur: initial, interim, final (also known as the viva voce).  
  • After each meeting or what the IB calls a "reflection session," students must fill in the correct box on the RPPF. 
  • The total word count for all three reflection sessions must not exceed 500 words. 
  • Supervisors are to sign and date the RPPF immediately after students have filled it out post meeting (ideally that day or the day after).
  • The RPPF is used to assess Criterion E: "engagement." 

2.  Criteria

  • The criteria have changed. They are: focus and method; knowledge and understanding; critical thinking; presentation; and engagement.   Find a more in-depth explanation of the criteria here.

3.  Other

  • More emphasis on research and secondary sources, although the primary text(s) still play a major or starring role in a Category 1 or 2 extended essay. 
  • A Group 1 Category 3 EE must use a text or texts originally produced in the language of the essay.  
  • The research question must be stated as a question in the introduction. 
  • The extended essay no longer requires an abstract. 

General Requirements

  • The extended essay is required to receive the full IB Diploma. Failure to submit an extended essay will result in a failure of the Diploma.
  • The extended essay may be no longer than 4,000 words. Although there is no minimum word count, it is recommended to write at least 3,000 words.
  • The essay is assessed externally by an IB examiner. 
  • The topic of the extended essay is focused around a research question.
  • The topic of the extended essay is chosen by students. It must relate to one of the DP courses. Schools often decide that the topic must relate to a course that the student takes and the school offers.
  • Each student is assigned a supervisor who spends 4 - 8 hours monitoring, consulting and supervising the project. The supervisor is usually a teacher of the subject that the essay is based on.
  • Students must meet internal deadlines set by the school, both for the final result and for tasks that the supervisor and school set.
  • Students are required to fill out the "Reflections on Planning and Progress Form" or RPPF during the process of the extended essay(see IB Extended Essay guide).
  • The essay is assessed according to the assessment criteria.  See criteria page.
  • The final marks from both the extended essay and the Theory of Knowledge assessment are combined in a matrix to form a maximum of three points for the IB Diploma. (A total of 45 points are possible for the IB Diploma; 7 points for each of the 6 subjects, plus 3 for extended essay and Theory of Knowledge. You must have at least 24 points to earn an IB Diploma, excluding the points (0-3) earned for TOK and extended essay.) The matrix, which has been taken from the Extended Essay guide, can be found by clicking here.
  • If a student gets an E on their extended essay, they will fail to get their IB diploma. 

Language and Literature requirements

As the Language A: Language and Literature course falls in Group 1, which is intended for native and near-native speakers, essays should demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency in the language. If students want to write in their second language, a Group 2 essay would be more appropriate.

For all Group 1 courses, there are three categories of essays that students may choose from. The following are outlined in the Extended Essay guide. 

  1. Category 1 - Studies of a literary work(s) originally written in the language in which the essay is presented.
    • literary criticism
    • well-structured and persuasive arguments
    • in-depth understanding of the texts
  2. Category 2 - Studies of a literary work(s) originally written in the language of the essay compared with literary work(s) originally written in another language.
    • equal comparative analysis of both texts
    • cross-cultural understanding
    • well-structured and persuasive arguments
  3. Category 3 - Studies in language.
    • textual analysis skills
    • reference to culture and context
    • rooted in primary and secondary sources originally written in English

Remember: The definition of 'literary work' for the extended essay may include works studied in class. Having said this, students are expected to take a new or deeper approach in their studies of these texts than that taken in class. Students are also free to choose literary works from anywhere. They do not have to be taken from the Prescribed List of Authors or the Prescribed Literature in Translation. Having said this, works chosen must merit a certain level of literary quality. The professional judgment of the supervisor may be consulted for this. 

TOK/EE Matrix

Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge Assessment

What is Extended Essay (EE)?

The extended essay of approximately 4,000 words offers the opportunity for IB students to investigate a topic of special interest, usually one of the student’s six Diploma Programme subjects, and acquaints them with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity—resulting in approximately 40 hours of work. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research on a topic of choice, under the guidance of a supervisor. © International Baccalaureate Organization 2010

What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?

The interdisciplinary theory of knowledge course is designed to develop a coherent approach to learning that transcends and unifies the academic areas and encourages appreciation of other cultural perspectives.

The theory of knowledge course is in part intended to encourage students to reflect on the huge cultural shifts worldwide around the digital revolution and the information economy. The extent and impact of the changes vary greatly in different parts of the world, but everywhere their implications for knowledge are profound. Theory of knowledge encourages critical thinking about knowledge itself and aims to help young people make sense of what they encounter. Its core content focuses on questions such as the following.

  • What counts as knowledge?
  • How does it grow?
  • What are its limits?
  • Who owns knowledge?
  • What is the value of knowledge?
  • What are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2010

How are these subjects Evaluated?

Letter grades are awarded for the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge based on achievement against published criteria.

The standards are:

A - Work of an excellent standard
- Work of a good standard
- Work of a satisfactory standard
- Work of a mediocre standard
- Work of an elementary standard

These grades are combined according to the matrix below to give the student a maximum of 3 points.

The Diploma Points Matrix


If a student gains an “E” in either component 28 points overall will be required to pass the IB Diploma (not 24 points as is usual). A grade “A” in one of the components earns an extra point even if the other is a grade “E”. An “E” grade in both the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge means an automatic failure of the IB Diploma.



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