The IB Core
Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course is an essential component of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program designed to encourage students to critically examine different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge. This interdisciplinary course challenges students to question the bases of knowledge, to be aware of subjective and ideological biases, and to develop the ability to analyze evidence that is expressed in rational argument.
The primary objective of the TOK course is to foster a sense of wonder and curiosity about the complexity of knowledge itself. Students are encouraged to explore how knowledge is constructed, examined, and revised in various areas. TOK prompts students to consider and reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
The TOK course is structured around two main components:
The TOK Essay: Students must submit an externally assessed 1,200-1,600 word essay on a prescribed title set by the IB.
The TOK Exhibition: This internally assessed task requires students to create an original display of real-world situations from their own experiences to show the relevance and application of TOK concepts.
The TOK course revolves around the exploration of key concepts, such as "knowledge", "belief", "truth", "culture", "value", "reason", and "ethics", among others. It covers various ways of knowing (perception, language, reason, emotion, etc.) and a broad range of areas of knowledge (natural sciences, human sciences, history, the arts, ethics, mathematics, etc.).
Upon completion of the Theory of Knowledge course, students will be able to:
Understand the interconnections between knowledge and the learner's experiences in and outside the classroom.
Analyze knowledge claims and assess their implications.
Demonstrate an understanding of different perspectives on knowledge and learning.
Formulate, evaluate, and communicate ideas effectively in oral, visual, and written forms.
Develop a degree of skepticism and humility towards knowledge and recognition of personal and ideological biases.
The Theory of Knowledge course does not just enrich one's educational journey; it also builds a foundation for lifelong learning, helping students navigate a world full of diverse perspectives, complexities, and uncertainties. Through this course, students gain a deeper understanding of the world and themselves, cultivating critical thinking skills necessary in the 21st-century global landscape.
Extended Essay (EE)
The Extended Essay (EE) is a crucial requirement of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Unlike traditional coursework, the EE is an independent research project, culminating in a 4,000-word academic paper.
The Extended Essay aims to cultivate essential skills required for rigorous research and scholarly writing. It promotes intellectual curiosity and encourages students to delve deeper into a chosen subject—directly related to one of the IB subjects studied—which they are passionate about, creating a linkage between theoretical curriculum and applied knowledge.
The Extended Essay structure comprises of:
Choosing a Research Topic: Students are expected to select a specific, well-defined topic within one of their chosen IB subjects.
Supervision: Each student is paired with a supervisor (usually a teacher within their school), who provides essential guidance throughout the research and writing process.
Research and Writing: Over the course of several months, students independently conduct detailed research and write their extended essay, adhering to academic standards.
Submission and Assessment: The completed essay is submitted for external assessment. It's assessed based on the student's research, argumentation, analysis, and presentation of their topic.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of the Extended Essay, students should be able to:
- Conduct independent research on a chosen topic within a specific discipline.
- Organize and articulate complex ideas effectively.
- Demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Understand the conventions and requirements of a long-form, academic research paper.
The Extended Essay is a unique aspect of the IB Diploma Programme, bridging the gap between classroom learning and independent research. It offers students the experience of crafting a scholarly paper and provides invaluable preparation for university-level academic work.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme.
The CAS program aims to develop students as individuals who are empathetic, balanced, and globally-minded, fostering values and skills needed to impact local and global communities positively. It encourages students to share their energy and special talents while developing awareness, concern, and the ability to work cooperatively with others.
The CAS program requires students to participate in various activities, each of which falls under one or more of three categories:
- Creativity – Arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
- Activity – Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
- Service – An unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student, where the rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected.
Each student is expected to maintain a CAS portfolio as evidence of their experiences and to demonstrate reflection on their personal growth throughout the program.
CAS runs over the course of the two-year IB Diploma Programme and requires students to engage in CAS activities for approximately 150 hours in total, with a reasonable balance between creativity, activity, and service. It is important to note that these are not "hours to be counted" but rather a range of meaningful engagements that extend beyond the classroom.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of the CAS requirement, students should be able to:
- Identify their strengths and areas for growth.
- Undertake new challenges and develop new skills.
- Plan, initiate, and carry out projects.
- Work collaboratively with others.
- Understand and appreciate the ethics of service.
- Show perseverance and commitment in their activities.
CAS is an exciting journey of self-discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point and different goals, but they are all connected through shared values of mutual respect, support, and encouragement. Through CAS, students can enhance their personal and interpersonal development and foster a sense of responsibility towards their community.