St Peter's School
The Extended Project Qualification is a one year course which gives pupils the opportunity to pursue an area of study of their own choosing. This may arise from, or be connected to, A levels a pupil has chosen, a subject area a pupil has not chosen to continue at A level but would like to explore in greater depth; the course a pupil intends to pursue at university; or any area of creative or academic interest. Two key features of the project are that the subject area and title of the topic are chosen by the pupil and that the work is carried out independently (though under the guidance of a supervisor). Specialist support from other teachers and externally from academic and other bodies may be used as required.
The project may take one of four forms: - a dissertation; an investigation or field study; a
performance; or an artefact. These can address a question, hypothesis, problem, challenge, outline of proposed performance an issue to investigate or a nominal client commission. The written dissertation will usually be in the region of 5-6000 words, a report of an investigation 4-5000, the report accompanying a performance or artefact 1500-3000 words. Performances can be musical, theatrical, a lecture, sporting or scientific demonstration. Artefacts can include a musical composition, an engineering project, computer program, architectural design, a crafted object, a work of Art, CD, DVD, set design, piece of creative writing or theatrical script. The scope is very broad. Visits to museums, universities, concerts, exhibitions, small or large businesses, government departments or other fieldwork are likely to feature in the research phase of most projects.
The final product will be completed by the Easter holidays of the Lower Sixth. To conclude the process pupils will give a short presentation.
The assessment is undertaken by the school and moderated by the exam board. While the quality of the final product is important, it is the process by which the pupil got there which is primarily assessed. The extent and quality of the preparatory research, the way the pupil planned and used time, spotted difficulties and then overcame them, understood the limitations and potential of their project, appreciated and engaged with the conventions of research and referencing are all examples of aspects which are assessed. With this in mind, pupils keep a journal throughout and both the written element and the final presentation will include a review of the whole experience.
The UCAS tariff for an EPQ is slightly higher than an AS level. Grades A* - E are available.
Examination Board: Edexcel
Pupils will gain an AS award and UCAS points for only one year’s study. Pupils will have more ‘study periods’ due to the EPQ being timetabled for four periods per week, rather than the eight used for an A level subject. However, they are expected to use these extra periods for research and work on their projects. Pupils are not expected to have decided the title of their EPQ (or even the area of study) before starting the course.
The EPQ is highly regarded by universities, as it demonstrates independent working, research skills and original thinking. Many encourage students to undertake the qualification for this reason and some make alternative (lower) A Level offers.