Many universities and employers are looking for evidence that students are self-motivated and independent learners who are able to carry out research projects. The Extended Project is a separate qualification that A Level students do as part of their second year and is designed to demonstrate the ability to plan and write an extended piece of writing. The Extended Project is a piece of independent research undertaken by students in addition to their core A Levels. The research can be on almost any topic you choose but must not duplicate the specifications in your chosen A Levels. It is the equivalent of one AS Level (although unlike other AS Levels an A* grade is possible) and is viewed very positively by employers and universities as it provides evidence of independent learning and project management skills.
There are no formal entry requirements other than being an A Level student. However, it would be expected that students would be motivated learners who enjoy research and working on their own.
You have a free choice of project topic, so you can choose to explore a further aspect of a subject you're studying, or another subject, or choose a topic in which you have a personal interest.
You will meet with a member of staff (supervisor) weekly to discuss your progress and to guide you and help you develop the necessary skills to complete a successful project.
Students have to:
• Choose a topic to study
• Complete a production log to document the project process
• Plan, research and carry out their project
• Prepare and deliver a presentation on the outcome.
Examples of the extremely wide range of projects students can research include:
• Global Warming – Is the threat real?
• All in the mind? – An exploration of the perceptions of mental health and learning disability disorders
• Cystic Fibrosis – Is gene therapy the answer?
• What are the inequalities faced by female police officers? Career aspirations and expectations of ethnic minority women
• A linguistic and literary exploration into 17th Century religious sonnets
• Democratic or Autocratic - Which is the most effective management style?
• Antibiotics and the dangers of resistance
• Maths and its everyday uses
• Childhood obesity – What are the problems?
• Pancreatic cancer – Is gene therapy the answer?
• The application of nuclear fusion to power generation
The assessment covers both the process and the end product. The final project, plus the production log, will be assessed as a whole, according to a generic set of marking criteria. We'll be looking at how well students identify and use resources, carry out research, develop their ideas to realise an outcome and then reflect on the outcome and the process. The final project would be approximately 5,000 words in length.
The AS Level Extended Project is excellent preparation for university or employment as it provides evidence of being able to organise and research a substantial topic as an independent learner.
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