The Core of the Diploma Programme

The Grade 11 and 12 Diploma Programme is made up of three core requirements: 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, and Service (CAS) provides balance to the highly academic Diploma Program. At Meadowridge, students are provided opportunity to complete CAS requirements in ways which are meaningful, enlightening, and profound.

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

Action: 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!

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

Why Does This Matter?

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

  • Increased self-awareness, including strengths and areas for growth.
  • Confidence to take on new challenges.
  • Initiative to plan and take lead on projects, both independently and collaboratively.
  • Perseverance and commitment.
  • Ability to engage with issues of global importance.
  • Empowerment to think and act ethically.

The Extended Essay

Beginning in their Grade 11 year, our DP 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.

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

Why Does This 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.

Extended Essay Topics of Study

See below for examples of research questions our students have asked and answered in their own Extended Essays.

The Arts

Group 6: The Arts

Visual Arts

  • How did Wang Wei’s style of painting influence the progress of Chinese brush painting?

Experimental Sciences

Group Four: Experimental Sciences


To what extent are chemical food preservatives, Sodium Metabisulfite and Sodium Acetate, more effective against natural preservatives, Acetic Acid and lemon juice, on the bacterial growth of Lactobacillus Casei in yogurt?

To what extent is there a difference in the quality of the cell wall of Beta Vulgaris after microwave cooking when compared with its raw counterparts?


  • To what extent does the time of year at which Camellia Sinensis leaves are picked affect the content of Caffeine present?
  • What is the effect of increasing the brew time of tea on the concentration of anti-oxidizing substance in the brewed liquid investigated using the Briggs-Rauscher reaction?


  • To what extent can modern-day methods of investigation be used to prove resonance is the cause of the behaviour of an Ancient Chinese Spouting Bowl?

Individuals & Societies

Group Three: Individuals and Societies

Business Management

  • How effectively did Richard Branson leverage branding to differentiate Virgin Atlantic airlines from competitors in the airline industry?
  • To what extent do non-monetary motivation methods reduce industrial relations problems to improve labor productivity at Walmart?
  • To what extent does Barrick Gold Corporation demonstrate double standards in their corporate social responsibility of global operations?
  • To what extent has Apple Inc. maximized their market share in the technology sector since their inception, through the diversification of its product line?
  • To what extent is the Starbucks’ growth strategy appropriate for them to meet their objectives?


  • To what extent did Deng Xiaoping’s achievement of normalization between People’s Republic of China and United States of America, alter the Communist culture during the late 1980’s?
  • To what extent did Germany’s use of the Einsatzgruppen lead to their eventual defeat in Operation Barbarossa?
  • Why was the resistance movement against the Nazi occupation in Holland between May 1940 and May 1945 primarily passive in nature?
  • During President Park Chung-hee’s authoritarian rule from 1961 to 1979, to what extent did his reforms and contribution to the Miracle of the Han River outweigh the humanitarian abuses?
  • To what extent did Operation Bluestar lead to the assassination of Indira Gandhi?
  • To What Extent did the Catholic Church Support the Ustase Holocaust?

Language Aquisition

Group Two: Language Acquisition


  • In the novel "Oscar and the Lady in Pink", to what extent does religion and faith help Oscar overcome life's difficulties like it does in others?

Language & Literature

Group One: Language and Literature

  • How does George Orwell use tone to represent an image of the dystopian society in his novel "Nineteen Eighty- Four"?
  • To what extent can Persuasive Language in Advertisements Effectively Cause an Individual to Act?
  • How does the use of the colour red affect a viewer’s potential understanding of a graphic advertisement?
  • In his trilogy ‘His Dark Materials’, how effectively does Philip Pullman use symbolism to demonstrate human personality and relationships?

Theory of Knowledge

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is central to the educational philosophy of the Diploma 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.

From the IB Website

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.

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 model of Y?
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world?

Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions, as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.


Assessment of TOK

The TOK course is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600 word essay.

The presentation assesses the ability of the student to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation, 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.


Significance 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.