IB Extended Essay Rubric

The Extended Essay is an important part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and is designed to test the research, writing, and evaluation skills of students. The EE rubric is a guide to assessing student essays and provides criteria for an overall grade based on specific areas in the essay.

The EE rubric is an essential tool for evaluating essays and providing an objective assessment against which grades can be given. It ensures fairness as all essays are assessed using the same criteria and keeps students focused on producing quality work.

The criteria for assessing an EE includes Criteria A (Focus and Method), Criteria B (Knowledge and Understanding), Criteria C (Critical Thinking and Evaluation), and Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection.

By using the EE rubric, teachers and assessors can effectively and accurately evaluate the student’s performance in each criterion.

IB Extended Essay Rubric

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Understanding the EE Rubric

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Extended Essay (EE) assignment is a significant writing project that has a specific set of guidelines. Students are expected to research and write a lengthy, comprehensive paper on a topic of their choice. To ensure the quality of the EE, there is a rubric for evaluation.

The EE rubric is a scoring system used to assess student projects. It is designed to give a clear assessment of the essay by measuring it on four distinct criteria. The criteria that the rubric assesses include focus and method, knowledge and understanding, critical thinking and evaluation, and reporting and reflection.

Each criterion is scored on a scale from 0-4. A score of 0 indicates the student has not met the expectations of the criteria, whereas a score of 4 shows that the student has exceeded the expectations.

It is important to understand the rubric and its criteria as they will be used extensively in the evaluation of the EE.

Overview of the Different Criteria in the EE Rubric:

The EE Rubric is used to assess student essays. It is made up of 4 criteria: Criteria A (Focus and Method), Criteria B (Knowledge and Understanding), Criteria C (Critical Thinking and Evaluation), and Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection.

Criteria A (Focus and Method):

This criterion focuses on the extent to which the essay focuses on a particular topic. It evaluates the quality of sources used and the analysis of results and evidence. It also assesses the writer’s ability to use appropriate methodology for the research.

Criteria B (Knowledge and Understanding):

This criterion assesses the student’s understanding of their chosen topic. It evaluates their ability to explain complex ideas or theories in a clear and concise manner. Additionally, it looks at the depth of knowledge the student has on the topic.

Criteria C (Critical Thinking and Evaluation):

This criterion looks at the student’s ability to think critically and make an argument. It assesses how effectively the student analyses and evaluates the topic in question. It also evaluates the student’s ability to draw logical conclusions.

Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection:

This criterion evaluates the student’s ability to reflect on their own essay and provide their personal opinion on the research. It also assesses the clarity of phrasing, structure, grammar and syntax.

Detailed Explanation of Criteria A: Focus and Method

The first criterion for the IB Extended Essay Rubric is Criteria A: Focus and Method. This refers to how well the essay focuses on a research question and how effectively different research methods are used.

The research question should be specific, clearly defined and answerable through research. It should be complex enough to allow for an interesting analysis, but not so complex that it becomes impossible to address.

The methods used to conduct the research must be appropriate and accurate. The essay should include an analysis of data collected by the student, the application of theoretical concepts and the interpretation of evidence.

In order to assess how accurately the essay has met Criteria A, the evaluator will look at the quality of research, the clarity of the research question, how effectively the research methods have been applied and whether the evidence has been interpreted accurately.

The essay should be indicated as either passing or failing Criteria A. If it is passing, then the evaluator will assign it a score from 0-6, with 6 being the highest.

  • 0 β€” Fails to reach a standard described by the descriptors below
  • 1 β€” Very limited
  • 2 β€” Limited
  • 3 β€” Adequate
  • 4 β€” Good
  • 5 β€” Very good
  • 6 β€” Excellent

It is important to remember that Criteria A is not just about the content of the essay, but also about how it has been put together. The structure, transitions and writing style of the essay should all be taken into consideration when scoring it against Criteria A.

Criteria B: Knowledge and Understanding

The second criterion assessed in Extended Essay (EE) is Knowledge and Understanding. This criterion is scored out of 6 marks and measures the student’s ability to show a deep knowledge of their topic, as well as a clear understanding of how the research question was answered.

Under this criteria, the student must demonstrate not just a broad knowledge of the topic, but an in-depth and specialized understanding. To gain the full 6 marks, the essay must show that the student has done extensive research, and is able to explain the complexities of their topic or argument confidently and accurately.

Markers are looking for evidence that the student has read widely and independently, as well as considered and incorporated a variety of sources in their essay. They are also assessing the essay’s clarity and factual accuracy. A student may have a good general understanding of the topic, but if they have gone beyond this and demonstrated a broader, deeper understanding of the subject, they can achieve full marks.

  • Does the student demonstrate a broad but also deep and specialized knowledge of their topic?
  • Has the student used a wide range of research sources?
  • Is the content of the essay accurate, logical, and reliable?
  • Does the student demonstrate an understanding of the research question and how it has been answered?

These are the main questions the marker will be asking when assessing your Knowledge and Understanding. If you have answered these questions confidently and accurately, you should have no difficulty in getting full marks on this criterion.

Understanding Criteria C – Critical Thinking and Evaluation

Criteria C is all about how you evaluate the material you’ve studied. This includes judging the evidence given and making conclusions from it. In order to get full marks here, you must demonstrate independent thought and originality. You should be able to think critically and draw conclusions that are independent of your source material.

To get full marks, it’s important that you use analytical thinking and evaluate the evidence, rather than merely recounting facts and figures. You should also be able to come to valid, meaningful conclusions that show you have understood your research material and can make independent judgements.

You need to be aware that conclusions made based upon incomplete evidence or personal opinions will not receive full marks. Think carefully about how to use the academic evidence in a way that produces reliable results.

The criteria for Criterion C has five core components which the examiner looks for:

  • Insight – using the research material to form unique opinion or understanding
  • Analysis – evaluating the evidence presented and look for patterns and relationships
  • Application – using the evidence to draw conclusions and/or support ideas
  • Reflection – showing an awareness of the significance and implications of the conclusions drawn
  • Evaluation – independently making judgments about the material based on reliable evidence

Put together, these will make up your EE score for Criteria C. If you can demonstrate evidence of critical thinking and analysis in your essay, then you will be rewarded with higher marks. It is essential to keep in mind the core aspects of this criteria when writing your EE.

Detailed explanation of Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection

Criteria D looks at the reporting and reflection in an Extended Essay. It is designed to ensure that students are not just gathering information, but also reflect on their own learning journey and topic. This means looking at a range of different sources, critically evaluating them, and ultimately presenting the findings in a clear way.

When assessing Criteria D, it is important to consider how well the student has reflected on their topic, the accuracy of reporting of their findings, and their ability to draw conclusions from what they have researched. For example, have they explored the primary and secondary sources available, and considered the implications of their findings? Are their conclusions based on evidence? Do the sources used support their arguments?

To assess Criteria D, examiners should be aware of the following elements:

  • Evidence of use of appropriate sources – primary & secondary sources used effectively.
  • Demonstration of synthesis & analysis – conclusions supported by evidence, engagement with relevant theory.
  • Ability to draw clear, concise conclusions – conclusions are clear and concise, free from any bias or preconceived ideas.
  • Evidence of self-reflection – topic is contextualised and student’s reflections are present.
  • Inclusion of summaries, quotations & paraphrasing – knowledge is accurately reported from external sources.

In general, a good EE will demonstrate an effective balance between sourcing of evidence and its reporting/reflection. It should also demonstrate a critical approach to thinking and evaluation. All of which collectively should result in a well-structured essay with insightful conclusions.

Examples of How to Analyse and Assess Essays Using the EE Rubric

Understanding how to analyse and assess essays using the Extended Essay (EE) Rubric is important. It helps ensure that students receive fair and valid grading. The EE Rubric can be broken down into four criteria: Criteria A (Focus and Method), Criteria B (Knowledge and Understanding), Criteria C (Critical Thinking and Evaluation), and Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection.

When analysing a student’s essay against the EE Rubric, it is important to consider each criterion separately. Here are some examples of how to analyse and assess essays using each criterion.

Criteria A: Focus and Method

  • Check the research question to make sure it is focused and relevant to the topic.
  • Ensure the sources used are reliable and of an appropriate level.
  • Check that the student has collected a sufficient amount of data and evidence to support their conclusions.
  • Consider the structure of the essay and if the student has used appropriate academic conventions.

Criteria B: Knowledge and Understanding

  • Make sure the essay reflects a deep knowledge and understanding of the chosen topic area.
  • Look out for an appreciation of different points of view.
  • Check that the essay challenges any initial assumptions made.
  • If the essay deals with factual information, make sure it is accurate and up-to-date.

Criteria C: Critical Thinking and Evaluation

  • Look for evidence that the student is using analytical thinking skills when considering their conclusions.
  • Check to see if the student has drawn on different interpretations and perspectives.
  • See if the student has demonstrated an ability to make judgements based on the available evidence.
  • Look out for evidence that the student has reached well-founded conclusions throughout the essay.

Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection

  • Check that the essay is presented in a clear and well-structured way.
  • Make sure the student has given details on any limitations or issues they encountered during the research.
  • Look out for evidence that the student has reflected on their own findings.
  • Check that the student has provided adequate justification and explanation for their conclusions.

By following these examples of how to analyse and assess essays using the EE Rubric, teachers can ensure that students receive fair and valid grading.

Tips for improving assessment accuracy with the EE Rubric

In order to accurately assess essays using the EE Rubric, it is important to understand each criteria and how they relate to the overall evaluation of an essay.Below are some tips for improving your accuracy when assessing essays with the EE Rubric.

  • Understand Each Criteria: Make sure you understand what each criteria is asking for and how it is significant to the essay being evaluated.
  • Only Assess What Is There: Make sure to only make evaluations based on the evidence being presented in the essay.
  • Be Objective: Make sure to evaluate the essay objectively, rather than subjectively.
  • Keep Notes: Take detailed notes on why each evaluation has been made and make sure that these notes are kept in case of any future review or confusion.
  • Double Check Results: Double check your results to make sure that nothing has been missed and that all criteria have been evaluated correctly.

By following these tips, you can be sure that you are accurately and fairly assessing essays using the EE Rubric. It is essential to be precise and objective when using the EE Rubric, as this will ensure consistent results.

Summarising the Key Points of the EE Rubric

The Extended Essay Rubric is an important part of the EE assessment process. With four criteria, it can seem complicated at first, but the points outlined below help to simplify and understand how it works.

  • Criteria A: Focus and Method – This criterion focuses on how well the essay has been planned and structured, how well the research question has been answered and the level of understanding of the topic.
  • Criteria B: Knowledge and Understanding – This criterion assesses a student’s grasp of the topic, evaluated through their use of sources and evidence to back up their argument.
  • Criteria C: Critical Thinking and Evaluation – This criterion evaluates the students’ ability to analyse the information they have collected, form conclusions and make judgements based on that data.
  • Criteria D: Reporting and Reflection – This criterion looks at how accurately the essay has been reported, taking into account grammar, formatting, clarity and correct referencing.

In summary, the EE Rubric is assessing the student’s ability to thoroughly research, plan, critique and present the findings of their essay in a logical and understandable format. With guidance and evaluation, the EE Rubric helps students to understand what areas they need to focus on when writing their essay.


The International Baccalaureate Extended Essay Rubric is an important tool used by examiners and teachers to evaluate the quality of student essays. It assesses each essay against four criteria: Focus and Method, Knowledge and Understanding, Critical Thinking and Evaluation, and Reporting and Reflection.

The rubric is designed to ensure that students have structured their essay properly and have provided evidence to support their ideas. It also encourages students to think critically and reflect on the research process they have undertaken.

The EE Rubric is an important tool in achieving the desired outcomes of the Extended Essay; it provides students with a clear understanding of what is expected from them and how their work will be assessed. Completing an essay using the EE Rubric will help students develop essential skills for further study in higher education.

Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.

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