The Personal Project is an independent research project that all students at IB schools undertake designed to demonstrate the student's ability to independently organize, create, and complete a significant body of work.
Student choose a creative endeavour that demonstrates the skills that they have developed throughout their five years of study in the Middle Years Programme. Practicing skills such as: inquiry, thinking, self-management, research and communication help to prepare our students for the Diploma Programme and for the world beyond.
Students are encouraged to think of something they have always wanted to try—to research it and then to do it! How many times in life do you get an opportunity like that? Students begin by selecting the Global Context and topic they would like to explore and from there they develop an end goal of what they would like to achieve; after that, the possibilities are endless. We’ve had students build a bicycle, a canoe, and a computer, research another language, learn to sew, or learn to play a new instrument. Some students have studied photography, created cookbooks or designed video games. To rephrase the old saying, if you can dream it, our students can do it!
Each student is assigned an adult supervisor who will be available to offer advice and guidance. Students meet regularly with their supervisors to ensure that they are on track with various tasks such as journal writing, crafting the project statement, and elements of the final presentation they will give on their project.
We consistently receive feedback that the Personal Project is one of the most memorable experiences of our students’ education at GNS! Begun in May of Grade 9 and completed in the Winter Term of Grade 10, the Personal Project follows relatively simple criteria:
- Investigate: Define a clear goal and context for the project, based on personal interest
- Plan: Develop criteria for the product/outcome
- Take action: Create a product/outcome in response to the goal, context and criteria
- Reflect: Evaluate the quality of the product against their criteria and reflect on how completing the project has extended their understanding of the topic
Assessment of the Personal Project is based on a set of 8 specific criteria that are normalized to a scale of 1 to 7. At least two teachers will assess the product and final report against four criteria. Each criterion is of equal value and has 8 levels of success. The criteria are:
- Criterion A – Investigating: You will be assessed on this criterion based on your clear definition of your goal and global context for the project. You will also identify your prior learning and subject-specific knowledge, which is relevant to the project. You will also be assessed on your research skills: choice of references, bibliography and resources.
- Criterion B – Planning: You will be assessed on this criterion based on the development of product/outcome criteria for which you will also plan and record the development of this process in your process journal. You will have to demonstrate self-management and time management skills.
- Criterion C – Taking Action: You will be assessed on this criterion based on the creation and quality of the final product/outcome of your project. Additionally, we will look at how your product/outcome has responded to the goal, global context and criteria that you have set. You must also demonstrate your thinking, communication and social skills during your final presentation.
- Criterion D – Reflecting: You will be assessed on this criterion based on your ability to self-evaluate the quality of the product/outcome against the criteria that you had previously outlined. You will reflect on how completing the project has extended your knowledge and understanding of the topic and the global context. You will also reflect on your development as an IB learner through the project.
Near the end of the project, the school hosts an Exhibition night where students present their projects to peers, family, staff and friends. The final products are truly incredible and inspiring! You can feel the energy, the confidence, radiating from the students as they stand up with pride and show off how much fun they had while achieving one of their dreams. Alumni often report back to us that the Personal Project changed the course of their lives, helping them decide on a career path or giving them the confidence to try something new. As a learning tool and as a motivator, the Personal Project is quite possibly the most important project our students undertake in their schooling.