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What to look forward to with the new Personal Project course

Exciting advancements are underway with the new Middle Years Programme (MYP) personal project course. Curriculum manager Justine Swainson shares the top four changes to look out for.

What to look forward to with the new Personal Project course

By Justine Swainson 

September 2021 will herald the first teaching of the revised personal project guide for the Middle Years Programme (MYP), a collaborative effort between IB educators and staff. The development work involved consultations and meetings in 2018, followed by a pilot of the new assessment model in 2019. 2021 will see the publication of a new guide alongside a separate one for community project, as well as a range of teacher support materials (TSM) and exemplar student work.

What can schools expect?

MYP curriculum manager Justine Swainson tells us what teachers can expect to be different in the planning and supervision of MYP personal project:

  • Firstly, teachers will be familiar with the new personal project guide, and key aspects of the current personal project process and implementation will remain unchanged. The changes we have made are designed to increase the relevance of the task for students, improve in-school implementation and make the assessment of the project more valid and reliable.
  • One of the first things teachers may notice is that there are now only four clear aims for the project, which we hope both teachers and students will find easier to understand and apply in their school setting. We have removed the requirement for students to prove that their product or outcome is ‘highly challenging’, and instead we have expanded the goal for the project so that it consists not only of the outcome or product, but also a goal set by the student for what they want to learn in the process of working towards the final project goal. This means that if the final product doesn’t turn out as planned… or even if it does, the student gains credit for the learning that is evidenced in the project as well.
  • Secondly, we have introduced a different way of demonstrating approaches to learning (ATL) in the personal project by allowing the student to identify and evidence which ATL skill they are using at different stages of the process. With regard to the format of the report, that too has changed slightly as we are looking for the evidence relating to both ATL skills and the product or outcome to be embedded in the report rather than provided in an appendix or separate document. These changes will help students build transferrable knowledge and skills that are useful in a wide range of academic and career contexts.
  • The third thing that teachers will notice is that the assessment criteria for the project have changed. There are now three criteria as opposed to the four that we had previously; each criterion is worth eight marks, so the project is now out of 24 rather than 32. The criterion headers are Planning, Applying Skills and Reflecting. Each of these represents a phase of the project and specifically addresses the development of the product as well as the learning goal.’

When will the new guide/TSM be released?

The new guide and TSM will be published in early 2021 and you can see a preview of the changes in the June 2020 personal project development report down below. There will also be a series of subject-specific seminars (SSS)―these will be offered face-to-face where possible but will otherwise be available online.

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