Policy changes for IB extended essay process

Sarah Olander, Staff Writer

By Sarah Olander

Despite the new policies for the Extended Essay, PA students have still found difficulties submitting their finished drafts by the deadline. 

“Due to advice from upperclassmen and information about the enforcement of deadlines, I procrastinated turning it in,” says a senior granted anonymity by The Page, after turning his essay only a few days late. As per the new policy enforcement, this student was taken out of his excused fourth block until he turned in a completed rough draft.  

The process of calling in students to finish their Extended Essay due to not turning it in before the Sept. 6 deadline has begun in hopes of having all students submit within the next few weeks. After a long history of late submissions, new practices have been put in place in hopes of more students submitting their Extended Essay (EE) on time. 

“I’m hoping it will really help the students with creating a quality essay” says EE coordinator Katie Liakos. The Extended Essay is a 3,000 to 4,000 word research essay turned in fall of senior year by students in the IB program as one way to culminate performance in the program. This year, deadlines were more concrete and enforced by Liakos, who is new to the position. 

Liakos hopes that the new practices will not only help with the production of a better essay, but also with reducing their stress later in the year, as well as giving teachers more time to read their students’ essays and produce quality feedback.

With the first due date being just a few weeks ago, the immediate effects of the practices have come apparent. “I don’t know the specific numbers from last year, but I feel that there is a smaller number of students who did not turn in a completed essay,” said Liakos about the effects of the new practices on the recent deadline. The plan for students who hadn’t turned in a complete draft by Sept. 26 was to send them back to their home schools, but with this threat looming over PA seniors’ heads, the last student’s draft was turned in days before this last deadline. 

“I’m very pleased that Virginia Beach City Public Schools has allocated hours to teachers to be able to spend time during school as opposed to having to do it all after school,” said previous coordinator Kelly Boyd about the increase in planning blocks given to the advisers. On top of grading and lesson planning, Boyd had to spend her time after school completing the necessary tasks for the EE. With recent policy changes, Liakos now has fewer classes in order to give her planning blocks to work on the EE.

Students who turned in their EE are apparently feeling the benefits of the enforced deadline, as it encouraged everyone to get it completed over the summer. “It was good that it was so early in the year so I could get it out of the way,” said Vivian Wermers. She’s relieved to be able to focus on school assignments and college applications as the year progresses instead of having to continue to worry about the essay. 

There are hopes of going even further junior year next year, as the end goal is to get a quality essay done in the least stressful manner possible. “I want to try to communicate with the students and parents earlier and try to start the essay earlier,” said Liakos about the upcoming year.