Hints and tips - five minute read
Rebecca Wood – Education Consultant
During this time all subjects bring their own teaching challenges and the EPQ is no exception – particularly when students are choosing their own project to plan research and implement. However, it also presents an opportunity for students to really get to grips with working more independently and innovatively.
I’ve pulled together some tips and ideas to help support you, and to help you support your students.
OCR have some valuable EPQ resources on their website. There are four teaching guides that take you step by step through the delivery of the EPQ. These cover:
They also have an excellent selection of student exemplars that cover a range of marks and a range of academic and practical topics.
If you’re new to the EPQ these give you an idea of what a project might look and feel like but are also invaluable with supporting your assessment decisions.
Moderators’ reports – after every exam series our lead moderator writes a report that contains some very helpful insight into good practice as well as highlighting any pitfalls.
Choosing a title that is manageable but challenging.
A really successful EPQ relies on the student choosing the right project title and the best format to present it in. Encouraging students to really think about the limitations that the current situation might place on them when choosing their project title is going to be crucial.
Being able to discuss the students chosen title with them as soon as possible is important.
OCR encourage and value all approaches to the EPQ, some of the best projects seen have been those that result in an artefact (illustrated books, pieces of music, practical projects etc.) or some kind of event.
It’s worth remembering that universities also really value those EPQ’s that demonstrates a student’s innovation, creativity and critical thinking - so don’t think that an EPQ has to be limited to a dissertation to help support a student’s university application.
This seems more pertinent than ever in this present climate that offers as many exciting opportunities for exploration of new and interesting topics, as it does limitations.
If students are working on their projects outside of the classroom then time management can become even more of an issue. As well as getting them to produce timetables and charts to plan and manage their project it is worth encouraging them to use the Project Progression Record right from the start.
It’s okay if this piece of paperwork evolves and changes over the course of their project. It’s invaluable in reminding students what they need to produce and the important milestones they need to meet along the way.
Getting them to keep a notebook right from the word go is also really important not least so they can remember what they’ve done – they can always write them up later if they want to.
Guiding them to online resources available and how to undertake research in a safe way.
Many methods of carrying out research might not be available at this time and may be limited for the foreseeable future.
Students will need to be guided towards more online sources and be more creative in how they go about conducting their research. There is a lot of online resources available for students to investigate academic articles as well as artefacts.
We have written a blog for students that looks at this in much more detail which we hope you will encourage them all to read.
I hope you have found this blog useful and do remember that we are always on hand to answer any queries or concerns you might have – so please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions you can submit your comments below or email us at email@example.com. You can also sign up to receive email updates.
Rebecca has taught in post–16 education for 17 years. She also worked as an OCR subject advisor and has been an examiner and moderator across a range of creative subjects. Rebecca has also run workshops for young people as far afield as Brazil and Russia. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, spending time with her two sons and walking her dog.