This is an extension to the already successful Symposium project which ALL Lower 6th students currently complete, so what is the difference, and what does it involve?
What is the EPQ?
The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is designed to allow students to develop skills which prepare them for University. The Extended Project will develop and extend from one or more of the student’s A Level subjects or from an area of personal interest or activity outside their main programme of study. It will be based on a topic chosen by the student(s) and agreed as appropriate by the school.
What are the benefits of doing the EPQ?
The main benefits from the project are similar to the benefits from completing the Symposium project. These include developing research skills, referencing, problem-solving, critical evaluation, reflection and independence. In addition, students will gain a qualification that will stand alongside their A Levels and can be used for university applications. It is possible for universities to make slightly lower A Level offers if a relevant EPQ is also a part of the offer. For example, an offer might be AAB but may be reduced to ABB with an A grade in a relevant EPQ. It will also provide some leverage on results day, if a student just misses their offer. The student may be able to argue that they should still be accepted as they have a good relevant EPQ qualification.
Who is it for?
The EPQ is a significant piece of work – even beyond the requirements of the Symposium project. It is recommended for students who are academically more able, who are already achieving well in their A Level subjects and who are not over-committed to extra-curricular activities. It is really only worth considering if there is a realistic chance of getting an A or A* grade.
What does it involve?
Students must produce a 5000 word assignment on the topic of their choice. However, the research ‘journey’ must be logged and this forms an important part of the assessment of the project. Each student must be able to show that they have attended the full range of Symposium Skills workshops and completed one or more FutureLearn (https://www.futurelearn.com/) courses to achieve a total of 30 hours of training. They must keep a detailed log of their research, including meetings with their supervisor. They will then give a 10-15 minute presentation on their project to an audience of students, parents and staff. The overall assessment is a combination of all of these aspects.
How is it different to the Symposium project?
It should be seen as an extension of the Symposium project. Students must keep a detailed record log throughout the project and must write a 5000 word assignment rather than 2500 for Symposium. They will also give a separate presentation for the EPQ.