Extended Essay Grandes



La Grande Therese: The Greatest Scandal of the Century

Hilary Spurling, Author Counterpoint LLC $20 (160p) ISBN 978-0-06-019622-6
This small book--in essence, an extended essay--serves up with wit and a novelist's delight the story of a scandal that almost toppled France's Third Republic. A century ago, Th r se Humbert held a seemingly impregnable position in French society. Doyenne of the Parisian social scene, intimately connected to French political life through her father-in-law, who was minister of justice, Humbert embodied the people's dreams like a modern Hollywood star. But it was all a charade: Th r se had spread the notion that she was heiress to an immense fortune--and on that basis she borrowed large sums of money--but she was in fact the daughter of a poor family from a small town in Languedoc. Through a psychologically astute portrait, Spurling grants her readers entry into this fin-de-si cle world of French society and this truly odd tale of one woman's rise from rags to riches. We first meet young Th r se through the eyes of her Languedoc neighbors, who attest to her wily fabulist skills from an early age. Her invention of wealthy relations and her swindling of businessmen and neighbors were, to some extent, acts of necessity, but Th r se's dreams of castles and riches lay deep in her psyche. When Humbert's scam was finally exposed in 1902, fortunes were ruined (including that of Henri Matisse's in-laws--Spurling came on the tale while researching The Unknown Matisse) and bankers committed suicide. Journalists lavished attention on the case, while popular songs and toys took on the Humbert theme. Spurling beautifully captures both the political interest of Humbert's grand scandal (the embodiment of latent contradictions in French society, which esteemed both riches and republicanism) and the sheer, exhilarating daring of one woman's imagination. Illus. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2000
Release date: 07/01/2000
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-06-095592-2
Paperback - 136 pages - 978-1-86197-854-7

The extended essay (EE) is a mandatory core component of the IB Diploma Programme. It is a research paper of up to 4000 words, giving students an opportunity to conduct independent research or investigation on a topic that interests them. Like the theory of knowledge (TOK) essay, TOK presentation, and participation in creativity, action, service activities, submitting an extended essay is a prerequisite for the award of the Diploma.

Recommended subjects[edit]

It is mandatory that the extended essay be taken from the field of one of the IB subjects being studied (e.g. the essay may be about a book that has not been studied as part of IB English).[1] However, the topic must not be too broad or too narrow as to make it difficult to write 4,000 words, and the general subject must be taught under the IB diploma program by one of the members of staff at the high school (so that there is someone with expertise able to help). The subject (not topic) on which the extended essay is written is recommended to be one that the candidate has formally studied, but this is not required. Also, the EE may not be written across different subjects – it must concentrate on one subject only, unless the student is writing under the World Studies topic. However, some subjects include several disciplines, with an emphasis towards one. An example is the subject Societies, which can include chemistry, biology, psychology, etc. generally with an emphasis toward one discipline.


The supervisor provides the student with assistance in putting together their EE, including guiding them in finding a suitable research question and on how to acquire the necessary resources to complete the research (such as a specific resource material–often hard-to-find documents or books–or laboratory equipment). The supervisor may suggest improvements to a version of the EE, but must not be engaged in writing it. The IBO recommends that the supervisor spend approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.


Extended essays are marked by individuals named external assessors (examiners appointed by the IB) on a scale of 0 to 36. There are "general" and "subject-specific" criteria, at a ratio of 2:1 (24 possible marks for the general criteria and 12 marks for the subject-specific one). The total mark is converted into a grade from A to E. A similar system is used for theory of knowledge and students can gain up to 3 points for the diploma based on the grades achieved for EE and TOK. A scores of E on either the extended essay or TOK essay revoked the eligibility of receiving the IB Diploma (EE Subject Guide p15).[2]

Theory of Knowledge
Extended Essay
A3321Failing Condition
E or NFailing Condition
Source: The diploma points matrix. May 2015 onwards[3]


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