DP Core

Creativity, Activity, and Service

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. It involves students in a range of experiences alongside their academic studies and is therefore ongoing throughout the Diploma Programme. The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular experiences, are characterized 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.

Successful completion of CAS is a requirement for the award of the ISS and IB Diplomas. CAS is not formally assessed but students need to document their activities and provide evidence that they have achieved seven key learning outcomes, where students provide evidence that they:

  •   Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth.
  •   Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
  •   Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
  •   Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences.
  •   Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
  •   Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
  •   Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.

CAS can enable students to demonstrate attributes of the IB Learner Profile in real and practical ways. A good CAS programme should be both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self‑discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS experiences are profound and life‑changing.

Extended Essay​

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved IB Diploma Programme subjects—normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB Diploma. It 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. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen. It is recommended that completion of the written essay is followed by a short, concluding interview, or viva voce, with the supervisor.

Theory of Knowledge

TOK plays a special role in the IB Diploma Programme by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge. The task of TOK is to emphasize connections between areas of knowledge and link them to the knower in such a way that the knower can become aware of his or her own perspectives and those of the various groups whose knowledge he or she shares. TOK, therefore, explores both the personal and shared aspects of knowledge and investigates the relationships between them.

The raw material of TOK is knowledge itself. Students think about how knowledge is arrived at in the various disciplines, what the disciplines have in common and the differences between them. The fundamental question of TOK is “how do we know that?” The answer might depend on the discipline and the purpose to which the knowledge is put. TOK explores methods of inquiry and tries to establish what it is about these methods that makes them effective as knowledge tools.

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 IB 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. 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. 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 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. They are mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, history, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems.

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.

Points Matrix

The matrix below shows the calculation of core bonus points for the ISS and IB diploma based on performance in Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay.