IA vs. EE and the Difference Between Them

by in Education
IA vs. EE

There is a lot of confusion between the IB Internal Assessment and the IB Extended Essay. In this article, we will explore the differences between the Internal Assessment and the Extended Essay and help you decide which one is right for you.

What Is the Internal Assessment?

The IB Internal Assessment (IA) is one of the components of the IB Diploma Programme that students must complete to receive their diplomas. It’s a research-based task that requires students to investigate and reflect upon a topic, issue, or question within an international context. 

As part of their preparation for the IA, students must choose a topic that interests them. The chosen topic must be relevant, significant, and current; it cannot be mere speculation or conjecture or rely on existing research alone. Once a topic has been selected and approved by the student’s teacher, it must develop into a clear thesis statement.

Once these requirements have been met, students are free to conduct research. There’s no set format for an IA. IB students are encouraged to use their discretion to carry out their investigation. This includes conducting interviews or surveys, analyzing data from sources, making observations in natural settings, etc. There are many IB IA help services to provide you with assistance.

What Is the Extended Essay?

The IB Extended Essay is a research paper required for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. The essay is an independent research project that students can complete on any topic that interests them. The Extended Essay is an excellent opportunity for students to explore a topic of their choice in depth and to develop their research and writing skills.

The Extended Essay should consist of an introduction, body text, and conclusion. It must be between 4,000-6,000 words in length (not including the title page or reference pages) and follow the prescribed style guidelines set out by the IB. The purpose of the Extended Essay is to enable students to develop their research, writing, and thinking skills. The essay may be on a factual or theoretical subject, with or without a real-world application.

What Are the Differences between the Internal Assessment and the Extended Essay?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers two assessment options for students in the Diploma Programme: the Internal Assessment and the Extended Essay. Both assessments are compulsory and must be completed to earn the IB Diploma.

So, what are the key differences between the Internal Assessment and the Extended Essay? Here are four key points to consider:

  • The Internal Assessment is an ongoing assessment completed throughout the IB Diploma Programme, whereas the Extended Essay is a standalone work.
  • The Internal Assessment consists of two written tasks (Task 1: theory and Task 2: application) as well as an oral presentation. In comparison, the Extended Essay requires one 4,000-word essay on a topic related to issues of global concern. 
  • Both options require students to demonstrate higher-order thinking skills, but they differ in how they do so. For example, the Extended Essay requires a thorough exploration of the chosen topic in an original manner and with sufficient support. In comparison, the Internal Assessment requires students to demonstrate critical thinking skills by answering a question from a set of approved questions developed by IB.
  • The Extended Essay is due at the end of Year 11 (age 17) or Year 12 (age 18), whereas the Internal Assessment is completed in the first year of the Diploma Programme (D1). Students must complete their IA tasks before they begin any other part of the Diploma Programme.

Which Subjects Are Used?

The subjects used in the internal assessment and the extended essay are: English, math, science, social studies, and arts.

English is evaluated in the internal assessment. It is also a requirement for the extended essay. Both the internal assessment and extended essay include a math component. Being able to understand and solve problems is essential for students. The internal assessment for science is conducted through exams, and the extended essay component investigates designated essay topics.

The internal assessment for social studies covers topics in U.S. history and geography, while the extended essay focuses on global issues. The Arts are internally assessed through a student’s original creation or response to literature. It is also externally assessed in the extended essay by addressing a global issue.

Final Thoughts

The main difference between these two options is that the Extended Essay requires an original piece of work. In contrast, the Internal Assessment consists of previously developed questions. The IB believes that these pre-determined questions are essential for students to be able to complete their IB Diploma Programme assessment requirements.

As such, the Extended Essay is more challenging. Still, it is more rewarding for those students who excel in writing, research and composition skills. Analytical skills are more applied to an Internal Assessment test. So students should consider first which skills are more advanced. They can write an extended essay on a topic that interests them, as well as demonstrate higher-order thinking skills through critical analysis and appropriate subject selection. On the other hand, they can apply their advanced skills in analysis to get a high IA score. Summing up, excellence in math would help with IA, whereas substantial progress in humanitarian sciences would be a good argument to opt for EE.

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