Made up of the three required components, the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.
The three core elements are:
Research Center Director Barret Bell explains two components of the DP Core - Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay.
Theory of knowledge (TOK) plays a unique role in the DP Core by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
Along with the Extended Essay and the Creativity, Activity, and Service Project, TOK is one of the DP core components and is composed almost entirely of questions.
The most central of these is "How do we know?" Other questions include:
Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions and develop an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives. TOK aims to make students aware of knowledge’s interpretative nature, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised, or rejected.
It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:
Additionally, TOK prompts students to:
The extended essay is an independent piece of research, culminating with a 4,000-word paper that provides:
Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:
Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge. An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies. Students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary analysis of an issue of contemporary global significance across two IB diploma disciplines.
Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor who is usually a teacher at the school.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the Diploma Programme (DP).
Studied throughout the Diploma Programme, CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. Students reflect on their CAS experiences as part of the DP and provide evidence of achieving the seven learning outcomes for CAS.
Educators at IB World Schools can read about the seven learning outcomes in the CAS guide, available in the IB store and the Program Resource Centre (PRC).
The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:
Students are required to undertake a CAS project To demonstrate these concepts. The project challenges students to:
CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience. It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work. At the same time, CAS is an essential counterbalance to the academic pressures of the DP. There are seven learning outcomes:
A good CAS program should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self‑discovery. Each student has a different starting point, and therefore unique goals and needs, but for many, their CAS activities include profound and life‑changing experiences.
Purcell Marian has launched the Cavalier Scholars Program, which is designed for underclassmen who are
This program is the pathway to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in junior and senior years. The Cavalier Scholars Program’s goal is to build a community of scholars at the Castle — a community that goes beyond the classroom for experiential learning, is empowered to advocate for others, and seizes opportunities to make global connections.
Mr. Bob Herring '68
Director of the International Baccalaureate Program + Global Programs