Best of the Week 2021-2022: Excellence in College Prep


WITH STELLAR EXAMPLES FROM ST. ED'S 33 IB DIPLOMA GRADUATES FROM THE CLASS OF 2021, CURRENT IB SENIORS BEGIN THEIR EXTENDED ESSAY JOURNEY

Having graduated 33 students from the Class of 2021 with the International Baccalaureate Diploma, St. Ed's is looking ahead, already preparing the current 38 IB seniors to hit the ground running on their IB Extended Essays. As the world's most robust college preparatory program, students take advantage of this rigorous academic curriculum by completing an Extended Essay, a college-level writing and research experience that encapsulates both the breadth and depth of the IB Experience. The IB Extended Essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research that provides IB students with the opportunity to develop skills in formulating an appropriate research question, engaging in a personal exploration of the topic, communicating ideas, and developing an argument. "When I think back to the kind of writing and research I was doing as a junior and senior in high school, it doesn't hold a candle to the depth, authenticity and sheer scale of our IB Diploma candidates' Extended Essays," says Associate Dean of Academics & IB Coordinator Nick Kuhar. "I deeply appreciate how thoughtfully our advisors help scaffold the Extended Essay process. There's a tight-knit infrastructure of support amongst the IB faculty and students. When we poll our IB Diploma Programme seniors, they tell us that the Extended Essay is, year in and year out, one of the most memorable, meaningful and empowering academic adventures they embark upon in their four years at St. Ed's." ​ "I think for each of these students, the Extended Essay represents independent work driven by their own interests. A test can't gauge the degree to which a student can claim agency over his learning, but the Extended Essay measures that very thing," says Film Department Chair and Extended Essay Supervisor Lydia Munnell. "For a lot of students, high school is a measure of one's ability to follow rules, and for those students, college (and the personal and academic freedoms that come with it) can be jarring. An essay without a template or a clear prompt can feel overwhelming to the kinds of students who've been programmed that their primary task is to answer questions and follow directions. But the IB Extended Essay gives our IB Diploma candidates the chance to take on an academic subject and topic that interests them and to make all the decisions in research and writing. In short, when it's done well, it's one of the most authentic learning experiences we have."