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How to prosper with MYP personal projects: reflecting on the process

By Sarah Phillips

In the final post in the series How to prosper with MYP personal projects, we explore examples from several IB World Schools of how they help their students to capture the impact of their personal project on their knowledge, understanding, and development as an IB learner.

Remind students to use the process journal regularly

The process journal both supports the process of completing the project and documents that process. Personal project supervisors can support students by providing prompts for reflection about their progress at various stages of the project, how they have overcome challenges, and how they have demonstrated the skills and attributes of IB learners.

Students at Gimnasio del Norte in Colombia are prompted to reflect every week on what skills they have developed. At both The Kaust School in Saudi Arabia and the International School Breda in The Netherlands, students tag their process journal entries with the related ATL skills and learner profile attributes so they can quickly find evidence and examples of their growth when it’s time to reflect at the end of the project.

Collect evidence of the ATL skills and learner profile

Remember that the process journal isn’t just about a student’s reflections, it can also include valuable evidence of the skills the student employed in the process of completing the project. For example:

  • a KWL chart can show what a student learned throughout the process
  • a detailed evaluation of a research source provides concrete evidence of research skills
  • a timeline for creating the product shows time-management skills
  • artifacts such as emails or interview notes are evidence of communication skills
  • a self-assessment of the final product using the criteria for success that were articulated in the goal provides evidence of reflective

At Pechersk School International in Ukraine, students work together early in the year to brainstorm possible evidence of the ATL skills. This results in a list that students use for guidance as they make entries in their process journals. Personal project coordinators can provide regular prompts for process journal entries so that students collect a body of evidence that will be helpful in their final reflection. For example, the faculty at Moscow school 45 in Russia has developed a report template that includes prompts to reflect on ATL skills so that students are once again reminded to discuss how they demonstrated and developed their skills throughout the personal project.

Use the appendix as a basis for reflection

Students can include up to 10 pages of extracts from their process journal in the appendix of the personal project report. Because the 10 pages are excluded from the total word limit, a well-curated appendix can be a basis for the final reflection and a compelling collection of evidence to support the body of the report.

The students at TMS in Canada refer to exemplars when selecting their process journal extracts. At the Kaust school, students against the assessment criteria and their supervisors check that the appendix provides evidence to support their self-assessment. The task-specific clarifications provided in Further guidance for projects provides detailed guidance for students and project supervisors.

Students are encouraged to refer the appendix throughout their report for a variety of reasons. Using artifacts from the inquiry and action phases of the project in the reflective phase helps students to make clear connections between the parts of the action cycle and internalize what they have learned. It also supports the meta-cognitive process of describing their achievement and what and how they learned.

In this post in this series, Gill Chudley addresses some of the frequently asked questions about assessment and standardization of the personal project. MYP educators at IB World Schools can also explore the teacher support materials (TSM) in the programme resource centre, such as the template for reflecting on the ATL skills and learner profile attributes. An updated version of Further guidance for projects was posted on the programme resource centre in December 2017—this is a must-read for coordinators, supervisors and students who want to clarify personal project criteria. The update includes illustrations of how students can use their 10 pages of process journal entries to provide evidence in support of the assessment criteria.

The personal project is an important culminating experience for Middle Years Programme (MYP) students, and their whole school community. While it has always been central to the MYP experience, the project’s mandatory moderation has presented some new challenges. We asked schools how they were rising to meet those challenges so that we can share their advice in this series of blog posts.

Do you have effective personal project practices that you’d like to share? Join the conversation in the MYP projects community or send us your ideas at [email protected].