The Core of the Diploma Programme

Creativity, Activity, Service | Extended Essay | Theory of Knowledge

The Grade 11 and 12 Diploma Programme is made up of three core requirements: Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), Extended Essay, and the Theory of Knowledge.

All three work together to enrich the two-year program, providing balance, critical thinking skills, and preparation to succeed in post-secondary studies.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) provides balance to the academic Diploma Program. At Meadowridge, students are provided opportunity to complete CAS requirements in ways which are meaningful, enlightening, and profound. Our students will often complete some, if not all, of their CAS requirements through club and athletic participation.

Students explore their creative side in the arts, music, photography, or the design of service projects.

Students get moving, taking initiative in sports, physical learning experiences, and expeditions – it’s a great chance to keep fit and active through all the studying!

Students perform valuable service projects in the local and international communities.

As a school we have decided to require all students from Grade 6 to 12 to participate in CAS through outside school activities, school clubs, and more.

Why Does CAS Matter?

Balance is the core of CAS. Students balance academic DP with skills that – while not always readily taught through curriculum – are applicable to curriculum, career, and well-being:

  • Self-awareness, including strengths and areas for growth.
  • Confidence to face new challenges.
  • Plan and take lead on projects independently and collaboratively.
  • Perseverance and commitment.
  • Engage with issues of global importance.
  • Empowerment to think and act ethically.

The Extended Essay

Beginning in their Grade 11 year, our Diploma Core students embark on a two-year, self-directed piece of research; and, by the time they submit their 4,000-word paper in their grade 12 year, they will have produced a university level research paper.

Example Extended Essay Topics

Topics for the Extended Essay are focused in one of the six subject groups. Here are examples of research questions our Grade 11/12 students have used for their Extended Essays.

Explore more Extended Essay topics

Why does the Extended Essay matter?

The Extended Essay teaches students how to formulate an appropriate research questions, to engage in a personal exploration of the topic, and to develop a sustained and reasoned argument throughout the paper.

From the Blog

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is central to the educational philosophy of the Diploma Core Programme, providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and how we know what we claim to know. In TOK, students learn to question and understand how they know what they know.

Theory of knowledge (TOK) plays a special role in the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.

From the IB Website

Assessment of TOK
The TOK course is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600 word essay. The presentation assesses the ability of students to apply TOK thinking to real-life situations, while the essay takes a more conceptual starting point.

For example, the essay may ask students to discuss the claim that the methodologies used to produce knowledge depend on the use to which that knowledge will be used.

From the IB: What is TOK?

How is TOK structured?
As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions.

The most central of these is "How do we know?", while other questions include:

  • What counts as evidence for X?
  • How do we judge which is the best Y model?
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world?

What's the point of TOK?

TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised or rejected.

It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:

  • reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge
  • consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.

In addition, TOK prompts students to:

  • be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
  • recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.
  • TOK also provides coherence for the student, by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them.

It therefore demonstrates the ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.