The Core of the Diploma Programme Model

  • CAS Subject Brief

    Extended Essay Subject Brief

    TOK Subject Brief


    All Diploma Programme students participate in the "core" of the IB Diploma Programme. Click the following links to learn more about the core:

    CAS

    CAS involves students in a range of enjoyable and significant experiences, as well as a CAS project.

    CAS is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. With its holistic approach, CAS is designed to strengthen and extend students’ personal and interpersonal learning from the PYP and MYP.

    • CAS is organized around the three strands of creativity, activity and service defined as follows.
      • Creativity—exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance
      • Activity—physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle
      • Service—collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need
    • The CAS program formally begins at the start of the Diploma Programme and continues regularly.
      • All CAS students are expected to maintain and complete a CAS portfolio as evidence of their engagement with CAS. The CAS portfolio is a collection of evidence that showcases CAS experiences and for student reflections; it is not formally assessed.
      • Completion of CAS is based on student achievement of the seven CAS learning outcomes. Through their CAS portfolio, students provide the school with evidence demonstrating achievement of each learning outcome.
      • Students engage in CAS experiences involving one or more of the three CAS strands.
      • A CAS experience can be a single event or may be an extended series of events.
      • The nature of CAS Creativity, activity, service guide 9 Further, students undertake a CAS project of at least one month’s duration that challenges students to show initiative, demonstrate perseverance, and develop skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making. The CAS project can address any single strand of CAS, or combine two or all three strands.
      • Students use the CAS stages (investigation, preparation, action, reflection and demonstration) as a framework for CAS experiences and the CAS project.
      • There are three formal documented interviews students must have with their CAS coordinator/adviser. The first interview is at the beginning of the CAS program, the second at the end of the first year, and the third interview is at the end of the CAS program.
      • CAS emphasizes reflection which is central to building a deep and rich experience in CAS. Reflection informs students’ learning and growth by allowing students to explore ideas, skills, strengths, limitations and areas for further development and consider how they may use prior learning in new contexts.

    CAS Documents

    Extended Essay

    The Extended Essay, a substantial piece of academic writing of up to 4,000 words, enables students to investigate a topic of special interest that they have chosen themselves; this encourages the development of independent research skills expected at university.

    "The extended essay is:
    • Required for all Diploma Programme students
    • Externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for theory of knowledge, contributes up to three points to the total score for the IB diploma
    • A piece of independent research/investigation on a topic chosen by the student in cooperation with a supervisor in the school
    • Chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme subjects normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words
    • The result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student
    The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme subjects. is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school)." — "Nature of the Extended Essay," International Baccalaureate.

    The Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

    The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course encourages students to think about the nature of knowledge, to reflect on the process of learning in all their subjects, and to see and understand the connections between them. Knowing about knowing TOK is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. It is a core element which all Diploma Programme students undertake and to which all schools are required to devote at least 100 hours of class time. The TOK course examines how we know what we claim to know. It does this by encouraging students to analyze knowledge claims and explore knowledge questions.

    Knowing About the Knowing

    A knowledge claim is the assertion that "I/we know X" or "I/we know how to Y", or a statement about knowledge; a knowledge question is an open question about knowledge. A distinction between shared knowledge and personal knowledge is made in the TOK guide. This distinction is intended as a device to help teachers construct their TOK course and to help students explore the nature of knowledge.

    The Ways of Knowing

    While there are arguably many ways of knowing, the TOK course identifies eight specific ways of knowing (WOKs). They are language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory. Students must explore a range of ways of knowing, and it is suggested that studying four of these eight in depth would be appropriate.

    The WOKs have two roles in TOK:

    1. they underlie the methodology of the areas of knowledge
    2. they provide a basis for personal knowledge.

    Discussion of WOKs will naturally occur in a TOK course when exploring how areas of knowledge operate. Since they rarely function in isolation, the TOK course should explore how WOKs work, and how they work together, both in the context of different areas of knowledge and in relation to the individual person. This might be reflected in the way the TOK course is constructed. Teachers should consider the possibility of teaching WOKs in combination or as a natural result of considering the methods of areas of knowledge, rather than as separate units.

    The Areas of Knowledge

    Areas of knowledge are specific branches of knowledge, each of which can be seen to have a distinct nature and different methods of gaining knowledge. TOK distinguishes between eight areas of knowledge:

    1. Mathematics
    2. Natural sciences
    3. Human sciences
    4. The arts
    5. History
    6. Ethics
    7. Religious knowledge systems
    8. Indigenous knowledge systems

    Students must explore a range of areas of knowledge, and it is suggested that studying six of these eight would be appropriate. The knowledge framework is a device for exploring the areas of knowledge. It identifies the key characteristics of each area of knowledge by depicting each area as a complex system of five interacting components. This enables students to effectively compare and contrast different areas of knowledge and allows the possibility of a deeper exploration of the relationship between areas of knowledge and ways of knowing.

    Assessment

    There are two assessment tasks in the TOK course: an essay and a presentation.

    1. The essay is externally assessed by the IB, and must be on any one of the six prescribed titles issued by the IB for each examination session. The maximum word limit for the essay is 1,600 words.
    2. The presentation can be done individually or in a group, with a maximum group size of three. Approximately 10 minutes per presenter should be allowed, up to a maximum of approximately 30 minutes per group. Before the presentation each student must complete and submit a presentation planning document (TK/ PPD) available in the Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme. The TK/PPD is internally assessed alongside the presentation itself, and the form is used for external moderation (International Baccalaureate).