The Extended Project is a significant piece of individual research carried out by the student on a topic/theme/area of interest of their own choosing. There are clear guidelines concerning the appropriateness of research topic titles. As part of the qualification they receive taught/timetabled input into effective research methods etc although the main onus is placed on the student. The final project can be in a written form as a report or more abstract as a film, model etc. All students are required to produce a minimum 1000 word report and a presentation concerning the completion of their project, which must be presented to an audience. Assessment is school based but rigid. Each student will have a teacher mentor to support them. Assessment is based as much on the processes as the content. The Extended Project is equal to an AS grade with the requisite UCAS points. This qualification is to be taken alongside their programme of study and not to replace a current A2 subject.
We have now had 3 successful cohorts. They presented their reports to students, friends and parents. Topics ranged for the Ethics of Eugenics to the Metallurgy of Coins! Student evaluations acknowledged their enjoyment of the intellectual challenge and the liberation they felt in studying a project over which they had control.
The Extended Project has been welcomed by Higher Education institutions. The ‘1994 Group’ (the UKs leading research Universities) has been very positive about its introduction.
It is our feeling that more and more of the oversubscribed Universities and high demand courses will want students to undertake the Extended Project at Level 3. It is unlikely that it will form part of the formal offer but would differentiate students and provide a fantastic focal point for interviews as well as showing a willingness to accept an intellectual challenge. It will certainly develop their research skills. When you look at the presentation you need only read information related to Level 3 (A Level) and not Level 2 (GCSE Level).