The Creativity, Activity, Service component of the International Baccalaureate is a core part of the IB Diploma. Participation in the IB CAS programme encourages students to be involved in creative pursuits, physical activities and service experiences in the local, national and international context.
One of the items that makes the IB Diploma Programme different from many national qualifications is the requirements within the Core: namely, TOK, CAS and the Extended Essay.
The Extended Essay (EE) allows students the opportunity to:
Pursue independent research
Develop research and communication skills
Develop creative and critical thinking skills
Engage in systematic research
Experience the excitement of discovery
All Diploma students have to complete an EE, reflecting the IB principle that independent research skills are vital in study and should have a central role in the curriculum. The EE is a 4000 word in-depth study within a Diploma subject and should take around 40 hours to complete. Each student works with a subject supervisor (usually their subject teacher) who spends around 4 hours offering advice and guidance in the skills of research. This is an opportunity for students to further explore an aspect of their studies that interests them, and is particularly valued by universities for the formal essay-writing and research skills it develops. The process starts in March of DP1 and is completed in October of DP2.
Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)
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. TOK and the Diploma Programme subjects should support each other in the sense that they reference each other and share some common goals. The TOK course examines how we know what we claim to know. It does this by encouraging students to analyse knowledge claims and explore knowledge questions. 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 aims of the TOK course are for students to:
1. make connections between a critical approach to the construction of knowledge, the academic disciplines and the wider world
2. develop an awareness of how individuals and communities construct knowledge and how this is critically examined
3. develop an interest in the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions
4. critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives
5. understand that knowledge brings responsibility which leads to commitment and action
It is expected that by the end of the TOK course, students will be able to:
1. identify and analyse the various kinds of justifications used to support knowledge claims
2. formulate, evaluate and attempt to answer knowledge questions
3. examine how academic disciplines/areas of knowledge generate and shape knowledge
4. understand the roles played by ways of knowing in the construction of shared and personal knowledge
5. explore links between knowledge claims, knowledge questions, ways of knowing and areas of knowledge
6. demonstrate an awareness and understanding of different perspectives and be able to relate these to one’s own perspective
7. explore a real-life situation from a TOK perspective in the presentation.
Part 1: External assessment (10 points - 67% of final grade)
Essay on a prescribed title (maximum 1,600 words)
One essay on a title chosen from a list of six titles prescribed by the IBO for each examination session.
Part 2: Internal assessment (10 points - 33% of final grade)
The presentation (approximately 10 minutes per student)
The TOK presentation requires students to identify and explore a knowledge question raised by a substantive real-life situation that is of interest to them. The selected real-life situation may arise from a local domain of personal, school, or community relevance, or from a wider one of national, international or global scope. Whatever situation is chosen, it must lend itself naturally to a question about knowledge. Students may present individually or in a group (maximum 3 people