Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
The EPQ programme has been growing and running successfully at Dubai College since its inception five years ago. Over 70 teaching and non-teaching staff are involved in mentoring students for their projects.
All four project types are offered to students in Year 12 purely on a voluntary basis. These comprise: Dissertation, Investigation, Artefact and Performance. Students apply to gain entry into the programme in Term 2 of Year 12 and embark upon a weekly course covering: Philosophy, Ethics, Critical Thinking Skills and Research Skills. This runs to the end of Term 3. During Term 3 the students are assigned a teacher-mentor who will act as a support and guide, rather like a tutor at university. Questions, topics and designs will be decided upon by the end of the term in order for students to maximise their research time over the summer holiday.
Moving into Term 1 of Year 13, the students participate in a weekly writing course. This breaks down the project and covers every aspect of how to write it. By mid-November students will have produced a full draft. Presentations are then delivered between November and early January which forms part of the overall assessment. Final submission of the project is in early January.
This is a course which is assessed from the outset. The process of researching, keeping an academic journal in the form of a log, being organised and meeting deadlines are all covered in the assessment criteria. It is the same standard as an A Level, is graded in the same way and carries UMS marks. Unlike A Levels, there are no reports or target grades. Students are not chased and are expected to be highly motivated and highly organised, especially since the independent side is assessed.
The EPQ provides valuable experience and preparation for university, along with honing and developing transferable skills. It allows students to study subjects they might not otherwise have had access to and in an area which they are passionate about. Feedback from our alumni has been overwhelmingly positive. Alumni have returned and expressed that they felt that the EPQ gave them a head start and made the transition into university life a lot easier.
The school is currently in the second year of the Higher Project Qualification (HPQ), having experienced a highly successful pilot project programme. This is the GCSE version of the EPQ. The structure of the course largely runs parallel to the EPQ. Students apply in January and go through a selection process to ensure that their GCSEs are not impacted. They then follow a Philosophy course covering the ancient Greeks to the present day, relating philosophical lines of thought to topical issues and the world around them. As per the EPQ the students engage in research of a chosen area and produce a thesis at the end of term one Year 11. As with the EPQ, this is set to grow exponentially, already proving to be the case as we embark the course with our third cohort of students.