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The ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) provides a framework for teaching and assessing the development of independent, pupil-led project-learning skills, taking the form of a 15-20 hour project. It can be used as a stand-alone addition to an existing curriculum, or as an alternative to one or more curriculum subjects. The iPQ is usually completed in Years 7 or 8, but schools may start preparing pupils for the iPQ through smaller scale project work in Years 5 or 6.

Registration for the 2023-24 iPQ has closed. Information about registering pupils for the 2024-25 iPQ will be available on the iPQ Registration Area soon. 

Why the iPQ?

The iPQ allows pupils, usually in Years 7 or 8, to identify a question, research the answer, develop their views in light of research, present their findings, and reflect on the learning process. The emphasis is on the process rather than the output, providing the pupil with real insights into their own ways of thinking and working. 

Pupils who complete the iPQ will have been given the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills that will help prepare them for the transition to senior schools. Similar in format to the Extended Project Qualification commonly taken in sixth forms and valued as part of university entrance procedures, the ISEB Project Qualification prepares pupils for the style of learning they will be working to throughout their time at senior school, and gives them a project to show prospective schools during their application processes.

“To say that we have loved being involved is an understatement. If schools haven’t explored the iPQ, they really should.” Cottesmore School

Levels and badges


iPQ2 (Level 2)

For Years 5 and 6, with a focus on devising and delivering a group project, in collaboration with others.


iPQ3 (Level 3)

For Years 7 and 8, with a focus on independent enquiry and exploration.


iPQ4 (Level 4)

For Years 8 and 9, with a focus on leadership, problem-solving, and real-world projects.

“I absolutely recommend the iPQ to all schools … (the) iPQ is perfect for Year 8 pupils, especially academic scholars who show a natural curiosity and interest in learning”.

Nick French

Director of Scholarship, Reporting and Assessment, and Head of Geography at Shrewsbury House School

“To say that we have loved being involved is an understatement. Watching the children being interviewed was yet another moment of confirmation in my mind that the future of education lies in such meaningful, empowering and project-based learning... If schools haven’t explored the iPQ, they really should.”

Ross Borthwick

iPQ Lead and Head of Sustainability and History at Cottesmore School.

“In the modern world, it is becoming increasingly important to promote independent thinking and creative problem solving, which is why the iPQ is the best preparation pupils can have”.

Mrs Elizabeth Locke

iPQ Lead and Librarian at Hall Grove School

“One of the things I really like about the iPQ is that children who don’t enjoy writing exam papers but are great musicians or are interested in arts can use their talents in a different way – linking up the intellectual rigour and research with their particular interest and talent... The iPQ undoubtedly gave our Year 8 pupils an idea of what it is like to work with greater independence and to direct their own learning.”

Stephanie Donaldson

iPQ Lead and Deputy Head Academic at Kenton College, Kenya.

“The iPQ allowed our pupils to develop a range of skills, such as independent thinking, researching and referencing, and time management that will undoubtedly serve them well as they move on to their senior schools and face a range of new challenges. The opportunity to explore different ways of presenting allowed pupils of all abilities to access the work in ways that the more traditional type of project would not have allowed.”

James Moss-Gibbons

iPQ Lead at Kenton College, Kenya from 2021-22.


To join the growing number of forward-thinking schools adopting project-based learning, register your interest for the 2024-25 iPQ session.

Registration for the 2023-24 iPQ has closed. Information about registering pupils for the 2024-25 iPQ will be available on the iPQ Registration Area soon. 

Full iPQ documentation is provided to schools once they have registered pupils. The iPQ synopsis and a range of other supporting documents are provided below.


Discover the ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) and explore how enquiry-led, skills-based learning can transform pupil motivation, engagement, and achievement.

Focusing on pupils’ strengths, the iPQ is about the process, not the outcome, enabling individuals to select and investigate topics and projects based on personal interest increasing involvement and advocation.

The iPQ is an excellent complement to traditional exams, developing additional skills that add to a child’s portfolio of recognised achievements.


iPQ brochure

PDF 3.05 MB

iPQ synopsis

PDF 782.01 KB



ISEB keeps fees as low as possible but must set them at a level which covers the training and support costs of this qualification.

ISEB Project Qualification fee for 2023-24 (per candidate): £40

Moderation and results

Each pupil’s progress through the ISEB Project Qualification is assessed by the teacher and moderated by ISEB. Final grades will be awarded as Pass, Merit or Distinction.

How does the moderation process work?

We will moderate projects using Adaptive Comparative Judgement (ACJ). Once schools have submitted their projects for moderation, they will all be uploaded anonymously into the RM Compare platform for moderation.

The RM Compare platform allows judges to compare a set of two projects digitally, against a set holistic statement. Judges will be asked which project in each set of two best display independent learning through the five stages of project development: define, create, research, present, reflect.

Each project will undergo multiple judgements by a range of judges, giving a completely human-led rank order. This approach means that all iPQ projects, whatever their format, topic and content, can be moderated and ranked in a fair, transparent and highly accurate way.

The ISEB moderation team will review the final rank order, and select Distinction, Merit and Pass grade boundaries.

Will assessors/moderators and judges know the name of our pupils?

No. Only ISEB as the data controller will have access to the pupil names. ISEB anonymises projects, removing pupil names.

All judges are academics and/or school teachers, all of whom should be DBS-checked and all of whom have submitted pupil work of their own, or work for ISEB.

How is data handled within the RM Compare platform and is it a trusted tool?

ISEB is the data controller and RM is the data processor. RM’s Schools Technology business provides software, services and technology to schools and colleges in the UK. RM’s Assessment business provides assessment services and education data analysis to exam boards and central government in the UK and internationally; and RM Resources provides physical and curriculum resources for schools and nurseries in the UK and internationally. RM fully complies with the GDPR and UK Data Protection Act 2018, they also hold ISO 27001, the international standard for information security.


We offer a range of Continuing Professional Development opportunities for teachers working with the iPQ. More information will be available about this soon.

To request bespoke support and guidance for your school and teachers, please contact the Qualifications and Delivery team via the iPQ Support Portal.

Feedback to ISEB

Schools are invited to give feedback on the examination papers by completing ISEB’s online surveys, which are sent out after the spring examination session. It is hoped that as many schools as possible will complete the surveys for each subject. ISEB welcomes feedback from schools at any time of the year; please contact us via the iPQ Support Portal.

ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) Support Portal

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