EPQ Programme a Huge Success


Following the EPQ course's early successes, the year 13 pupils spent the remainder of the term eagerly awaiting their results, which were announced on January 14th after an extensive process of external marking and moderation.

We are delighted to announce that our very first EPQ cohort of nine year 13 pupils received 7A* and 2B grades in the Tianjin international senior school.

This is a fantastic achievement, especially given that the course was not only new to the Tianjin international senior school, but a significant portion of the pupils' study occurred during the turbulence of lockdown. Not only have the pupils achieved superb results in their final grades, but they also acquired essential skills to equip them for university study and beyond. We do not doubt that the lessons learnt from undertaking the EPQ will provide a firm foundation for their very successful futures – congratulations to all the pupils for their hard work, determination and passion, you are a credit to Wellington school community.

One of the great triumphs of the last academic year at Wellington College Tianjin was the introduction of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) AS-level*. Pupils on the course undertake an independent research project in an area outside their A-level studies. The project's outcome, against which the pupils are assessed, is a 5000-word dissertation, production log, and public presentation. The EPQ's four assessment objectives are planning and management, using sources, project development, and evaluation.

The benefits of studying the EPQ alongside other A-level subjects are that the skills learnt can enhance and extend a pupil's understanding – pupils may choose to carry out an EPQ in an area related to their A-levels, extending their learning far beyond the curriculum. The skills learnt for the assessment objectives are cross-curricular and beneficial for achieving highly not only for A-level but also in undergraduate studies.

*Even though the qualification is the equivalent of an AS-level, top pupils can still achieve an A* if they achieve 90% or more in their final mark.

The pupils receive 30 hours of 'training' in skills such as referencing, source analysis and time-management, whilst the remainder of the qualification time (90 hours plus) is spent researching, logging and writing independently. The pupils apply these general skills to their chosen area by critically dissecting an argument of a seminal author, engaging in a debate with a subject specialist or knowing how to evaluate the effectiveness of different methodologies. These skills are suited to undergraduate studies since the EPQ requires pupils to acquire enhanced subject knowledge and challenge their own and others' ways of thinking. Thus, the pupils of Tianjin international senior school are challenged both cognitively and metacognitively by the EPQ. 

The University of Cambridge has commented:

"We welcome the introduction of the Extended Project and would encourage you to undertake one as it will help you develop independent study and research skills and ease the transition from school/college to higher education."

The final stage of the EPQ process requires pupils to transform their 5000-word essay into an engaging presentation. The nine-year 13 pupils presented their final projects in a marketplace display which contained an array of topics from quantum computing, to political philosophy to the impact of Umami sensitivity on body weight. The marketplace was the first of its kind in any Wellington International school. Staff, pupils and parents all attended, as well as founding chairman, Joy Qiao who commented that she "was blown away by the diversity of the topics, quality of the presentation, confidence of our pupils and the fluency of their English."

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