“Success of our students in their MYP Personal Project is probably one of the best indicators of how well we are educating at IICS in the sense that the skills needed to execute the Personal Project well are the skills students need most for success in their adult lives,” says IICS Head of School, Ms. Jane Thompson.

MYP PERSONAL PROJECT SUCCESS LAST YEAR
In September, IICS received the results of the International Baccalaureate’s external moderation of last year’s Personal Projects. Not only did IICS Grade 10s have a 96% pass rate, 17 students earned a score of 7, which means roughly one third of the class succeeded in receiving the highest possible mark from the IB.  This fantastic result clearly underlines the quality of our students Personal Projects at IICS.

This year’s grade 11 students should be justifiably proud of their achievements and this provides inspiration for our current grade 10 who have just started their own projects.

RELEVANT SKILL BUILDING
The Personal Project process has students engaging in skills they will need to build successful careers:
-critical thinking & analysis
-project management
-produce results in a set time
-effective communication
-initiative & entreprenuerial spirit
-curiosity & imagination

As the biggest independent project students will have engaged in, there are countless obstacles, unexpected (and sometimes undesired) outcomes, and other hurdles students face while bringing their project to life. Navigating these successfully –and even reflecting on less successful navigation– are valuable experiences that develop student understanding and skill at project management.

WHAT DO STUDENTS DO FOR THEIR PROJECTS?
Students select an area of interest, ask questions that drive their research, implement their creativity, manage their project, and deliver their results. Students have the freedom to choose a topic and determine challenging goals and scope of their project.

WHY IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CURRICULUM?
As a significant and challenging piece of work, it allows students to demonstrate the skills they have developed over the years and have more opportunities to develop these skills, such as effective researching, time management, designing, reflecting, problem-solving and collaboration. Moreover, it allows students to work on areas that they may be interested as a future career (for example as an architect or engineer) or simply to learn something that may be completely new to them and allow students to challenge themselves.

WHAT DO THE STUDENTS PRODUCE?
Students work on the Personal Project independently, with contact with a Personal Project advisor for 1 period a week. In addition, each student has their own supervisor that will act as a mentor, meeting with, monitoring and advising their student’s work on a one-to-one basis. Each student will produce a final 3,500-word report, together with up to a maximum of 10 selected Process Journal entries that provide evidence of meeting the four assessment criteria and of course the final product or solution. The showcase of learning at the end is the Exhibition.

WHAT IS THE PERSONAL PROJECT EXHIBITION?
The grand finale is the elaborate MYP Personal Project Exhibition. Last year in March, every student showcased their projects, final products, and their learning to the IICS Community. Personal Project students take great pride in the exhibits, dress for the occasion, and excel in showcasing what they have achieved. The Upper Gym is completely transformed overnight to accommodate the increasing complexity of the exhibits and numbers of students. As always, the event was very well attended by parents, students, and faculty. Grade 6 and 9 students are usually given more time to explore the exhibits to aid their own Exhibition work and provide inspiration for those that will undertake the Project next year.

The range of topics is extraordinary from recreating the art of Japanese Tea Ceremony, building a function controller for a quadcopter, designing and creating clothing from recycled materials, design and building a working prosthetic for a cat, and creating a sand art animation, to name just a few.

HOW IS THE PERSONAL PROJECT ASSESSED?
Each project report is assessed at least twice by Personal Project supervisors. A sample of these is also reviewed by the Personal Project Coordinator. Once marks have been agreed, these are sent to the International Baccalaureate Organization, who in turn select projects for external moderation. This process ensures consistency in grading across all schools taking part in the Personal Project. As a result, marks can be adjusted if deemed necessary.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
One of this year’s main aims is to have our students engage with experts in their chosen field more and much earlier in their project work. We believe that this can give our students a distinct advantage in their projects. To that end, we would like to see our parent body more involved and allow our students to tap into your expertise. The commitment in time is very minimal and contact would often be via email. You might be asked to look over project designs and products and offer feedback, or you might be able to offer services such as an area where students can exhibit their work. If you feel you might be able to offer some assistance, however small, please do fill in the form below. A number of parents have already provided their assistance at the Personal Project session in the Back to School Day.

LINKS:
Form for parents to offer assistance: Parents and the Personal Project
More information on the Personal Project, please see the website here.
This year’s current topic list: Personal Project Topics and Goals 2016-17

IICS is very proud to have such dedicated students that see the Personal Project as a significant and important challenge. Their work can benefit communities, inspire students to undertake new areas of interest, provide worthwhile CAS opportunities in their DP years, and benefit their own university applications.

For me, they are simply brilliant, inspiring students whom I have the privilege to work with.

Ash Esmail 
Personal Project Coordinator