Although we have been using FOSIL to enhance our support for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) Extended Essay (EE) since 2012, it is only since the appointment of Chris Foster to the position of Head of Student Research in 2018 that support for the EPQ has begun to benefit from these FOSIL-based interventions and resources.
Chris should be able to elaborate on where we are with EPQs shortly.
As Darryl suggests, FOSIL has helped us to better support the EPQ at Oakham. In particular, engaging with FOSIL has:
enabled us to understand the EPQ process in terms of stages in an inquiry cycle,
made it easier to develop and adapt resources that help pupils through the difficult stages of the inquiry process, and
think about the EPQ assessment criteria and how we can better provide evidence that shows how the pupils have engaged with the process of carrying out a project.
I’ve attached an EPQ assessment framework to this post. I produced it to help me think about what resources might support the pupils and how we can use them as evidence for their engagement in the inquiry process. The framework lists the resources we use, and links the assessment statements to the FOSIL stage they fall into. The FOSIL resources are marked with an ‘F’ in the framework.
I’ve based the framework on the AQA assessment criteria, but I hope that it might be useful for those of you who are supporting pupils through EPQs with other exam boards. The Investigative Journal and CRAAP Testing Rubric have really helped pupils think about how they select and use information.
I’ll add more resources as I produce them. At the moment, I’m working on a reflection aid to help with the summary and reflection pages of the production log.
I’d be very interested in hearing what other forum members use to support the EPQ in their schools.
For me, the FOSIL tool that has made the most difference to the quality of EPQ research at Oakham has been the investigative journal. For this reason, I thought I would share with the forum a couple of examples of the investigative journal in use. These examples are interesting because they show how how FOSIL tools can be used to support pupils in the trickier stages of an inquiry. The journal is suitable for all abilities. It scaffolds the process of constructing understanding from a source of information. The pupil who produced these was very able, and her journal shows just how deeply she engaged with the sources she selected. Frustratingly, she hasn’t included page numbers in her citation, although these were used in her final essay. She used the referencing tools in Word to produce a bibliography which followed APA 6th Edition (our preferred ‘in-house’ style) at the end of her journal.
What’s also worth noting is that these examples show an earlier draft of the investigative journal than the one we currently use. It shows how our thinking has developed. To make the inquiry process more visible, later drafts of the journal use the FOSIL colour scheme and the icons bottom left to indicate the stages of the inquiry process it draws upon. The right hand box has been simplified and a CRAAP testing prompt added to our current draft, which can be found on the resources pages.
Do post if you have any questions about use of the investigative journal or suggestions for improvements.