At the heart of the Diploma Programme are three requirements that students must fulfill in addition to their coursework in six (6) subjects. The three elements of the core (TOK, CAS and the extended essay) were introduced by the original curriculum designers of the Diploma Programme as a way to educate the whole person. The core consists of three separate elements, but links and relationships are evident between them and with all the subjects offered. Strongly committed to the principle of developing the whole person, the IB believes that this is best achieved by identifying and developing clearer and more explicit aims for and relationships between TOK, CAS and the extended essay. Specifically, the IB believes a coherent view of the core will support the interconnectedness of learning and the concurrency of learning, and maintain the IB continuum of education and the learner profile and last but not least support a broader view of the subject disciplines within a full integration methodology.
Coherence does not mean similarity. Coherence in this context refers to the three elements of the core complementing each other and working together to achieve common aims. All three elements of the core should be grounded in three coherent aims to:
- support, and be supported by, the academic disciplines
- foster international-mindedness
- develop & build self-awareness and a sense of identity
The 3 core elements are the back bone of the IB student’s learner profile for the 21st century: Inquirer, Knowledgeable, Communicative, Critical Thinker, the scholar will not be able to reach the benchmark of principled knowledge with an open minded spirit and approach. The 3 core elements help the student to face the challenges of the future with an open mind and a caring, balanced and reflective approach.
- Theory of knowledge develops a coherent approach to learning that unifies the academic disciplines. In this course on critical thinking, students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.
- Creativity, Action/Activity, Service (CAS) involves students in a range of experiences alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking. Action/activity seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. Service offers a vehicle for a new learning with academic value while meeting a genuine need in the community. The three strands of CAS enhance students’ personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning and enable journeys of self-discovery.
- The Extended Essay asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. The world studies extended essay option allows students to focus on a topic of global significance that they examine through the lens of at least two DP subjects.