Class of 2015 and 2016:
Graduation Project

Semester Course (0.5 credits)

This course, open to juniors or seniors, is required as part of the graduation requirements of Norwin High School. In the course, students will work on an I-Search paper. The students will receive a Pass or Fail grade.


MLA Research "iSearch Essay"

The class fulfills most schools requirement for an MLA Research essay for his or her graduation project.  The paper is in an "iSearch" format.   The essay allows students to choose a research topic of choice, journal about the research process, develop a research question and thesis, write an MLA research essay, and reflect upon the entire 'search.'   (approximate length of total paper = 7-10 pages)



Pennsylvania state regulations, as set forth in Section 4.24 of Chapter 4 Academic Standards and Assessment, require all students to complete a culminating project in order to graduate. Section 4.24 specifies that:


 “Each School District…shall specify requirements for graduation in the strategic plan. Requirements shall include course completion and grades, completion of a culminating project and results of local assessments aligned with academic standards. The purpose of the project, which may include research, writing or some other appropriate form of demonstration, is to assure that the student is able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding.” 


Summary of Guidelines

The Graduation Project is mandatory for all students who attend Norwin School District. Successful completion of all parts of the project is a graduation requirement necessary for the awarding of the diploma. During the freshman year, students will be assigned a faculty member to monitor their progress during the Graduation Project process, which includes three components: Research, Product and Presentation. Students will meet with a faculty monitor several times during the school year, during scheduled monitor meetings. Students will begin thinking about a topic for their project during your freshman year and work to hone their topic and select a project mentor during the sophomore year. The research paper will be completed in the junior year English class and evaluated by the English teacher. Students will work to develop a product and your presentation during the monitor meetings and will need to work on these independently. In the junior year, students will be assigned to a team of three faculty members who will be responsible for evaluating the product and presentation components of the project. Each component of the Graduation Project will assessed using a rubric. The skills necessary for the completion of the Graduation Project will be reinforced throughout the curriculum and are aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards.


Project Options/Topics

The focus of the Graduation Project should be about something of interest to the student or something s/he wants to learn more about. Students will frame a topic around a research question. The project does not require argumentative research (this is done in 10th grade English classes). Instead, during the graduation project students should find a topic in which they have a connection or in which they are passionate. Students might consider topics about personal experiences or interests, career exploration, community organizations/service, etc.



Freshman Year

·   Be assigned a project monitor

·   Attend graduation project monitor meetings

·   Review project guidelines

·   See examples of projects and presentations

·   Begin thinking of a topic of interest

Sophomore Year

·   Attend graduation project monitor meetings

·   See examples of projects and presentations

·   Select a topic and a mentor and turn in paperwork to your faculty monitor

·   Develop a one-page proposal for your topic

Junior Year

·   Attend graduation monitor meetings

·   Be assigned to an evaluation committee (three faculty members)

·   See examples of projects and presentations

·   Write the I-Search paper in English class; rewrite if needed

·   Prepare your product and presentation

·   You may present during the second semester

Senior Year

·   Present project by the end of the first semester

·   Revise and present project, if needed, by April 15 of senior year


Components/Evaluation Criteria

The following are the components required for completion of the Graduation project.


I. I-Search Paper—Written Communication

The I-Search paper is a personal research paper whereby students pick a subject/topic in which they have a connection and write about that subject/topic from a personal perspective. The I-Search paper consists of three distinct parts:

1. The story of the search—This part requires students to tell the reader what they already know about a subject/topic, what they want to find out and how they searched for information.

2. What was learned, the research—In this section, students will tell readers the results of the research. All research should be documented using the MLA guide for parenthetical documentation and will include a Works Cited page. English teachers will provide you instruction on how to complete the I-Search paper.

3. Reflections on the research—This last portion of the I-Search paper asks students to tell the reader what was learned from the research.


II. II. Product—Evidence of Thinking Skills

The product will vary depending on the student’s project, but, through it, the student must exhibit evidence of thinking skills across all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  The product should not just repeat the research or information learned. Instead, it should extend student’s learning of the research and information learned.


Knowledge—remembering the material learned

Comprehension—proving an understanding of the material learned

Application—using the material learned

Analysis—breaking down the material and showing relationships between parts

Synthesis—putting various parts of the materials together to show something new

Evaluation—judging the value of the material learned


III. Presentation—Oral Communication Skills

The main goal of the presentation is to prove what was learned as a result of the research. Formal presentations guidelines as outlined in freshman Communications II class must be followed during the presentation of the graduation project. Students may use technology, such as PowerPoint, audio, video, etc. to enhance the presentation, but should focus the presentation on information to share with the graduation committee.


IV. Final Evaluation of Project

Students will be evaluated in three categories: Presentation, Product and I-Search Research Paper. Student scores from each category will correspond with one of the following numerical ratings:

5 = Distinguished

4 = Advanced

3 = Acceptable

2 = Conditional

1 = Unacceptable


A student must receive at least a two (2) in each of the categories or a minimum score of nine (9) to obtain a passing grade for the graduation

project as well as a completed student manual packet.