DP Curriculum Corner: 10/05/2019

Reflection within the IBDP Core

The attribute of reflection is a key attribute within the IB Learner Profile. This is no different within the Diploma Programme and reflection is most evident within the core, being formally assessed the in each core area:


Why does reflection play such a key role in the core?

Learner profile attributes are important life skills and skills that Universities and employers are looking for in our students and we all use the skills of reflection on a regular basis. Within the core, the role of reflection has a different emphasis in each part, developing a different type of reflection:


As our students have recently completed their first reflection session for their Extended Essay, let’s focus on the Extended Essay in more detail for a moment.

Within the Extended Essay, students are encouraged to plan, review and reflect on their own progress in the research process and this forms part of an assessment of students’ engagement with their topic and the research process. It is intended to help students with the development of their EE as well as allowing them the opportunity consider the effectiveness of their choices, to re-examine their ideas and decide whether changes are needed. It also enables the IB to monitor and ensure the authenticity of student work.

Students are encouraged to informally reflect throughout the experience of completing an Extended Essay, but they are required to reflect formally during three reflection sessions with their supervisor and when completing the Reflections on Planning and Progress Form that is submitted to IB along with the student essay. This form is assessed in one of the five assessment criteria: Criterion E – Engagement. This criterion assesses the student’s engagement with their research focus and the research process. The examiner is looking for the following:

Engagement with the process:

  • The student has engaged in discussions with their supervisor in the planning and progress of their research; the student is able to reflect on and refine the research process, and react to insights gained through the exploration of their research question;
  • The student is able to evaluate decisions made throughout the research process and suggest improvements for their own working practices.

Engagement with their research focus:

  • An insight into their thinking, their intellectual initiative, their creative approach through reflections on the thought and research process;
  • The extent to which the student voice is present rather than that of the supervisor and academics; is the student’s engagement reflected?

Across the three formal reflection sessions that students complete with their supervisor, IB is looking for the student to have made progress in their development of reflection, moving through the levels of descriptive to analytical and finally to evaluative:


I hope you have found this informative in helping in understanding the role of reflection in the core. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at npearce@iscomo.com

Have a lovely weekend,

Nicole Pearce