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IB Core


Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is part of what holds the whole IB Diploma together and its goal is to develop you as a more effective and critical learner. The course helps you learn how to evaluate what we know, or think we know, and how we know it. It is an integral part of all of your subject areas and you will achieve a greater understanding of all areas because of it. 

You will base your studies around the following themes: 

  • Ways of knowing 
  • Knowledge issues 
  • The Knower 

To explore these key concepts, you will undertake modules dealing with all areas of the IB diploma, with emphasis on ways of knowing, such as language, sense perception, reason and emotion, and areas of knowledge such as Mathematics, the Sciences, the Arts and Ethics. You will be encouraged to take your learning beyond the classroom, and apply these concepts to your own interests and pursuits. 

Theory of Knowledge Subject Brief

How will I be assessed? 

The final mark is made up of an essay on a prescribed title, which is marked externally, and an individual or group presentation in class. A pass in Theory of Knowledge is an essential requirement of the IB diploma:

Part 1: External Assessment (2/3 of total marks). Essay on a prescribed title (1200 – 1600 words) and a written planning document. 
Part 2: Internal Assessment (1/3 of total marks). The internally-assessed presentation (approximately 10 minutes per student), comprises a presentation to the class and a written planning document. 

Extended Essay

The Extended Essay offers you the chance to produce a university-style dissertation on a subject of your choice. Highly valued by both universities and employers, the Extended Essay allows you the chance to experience true independent learning, and to explore a topic that interests you, without the constraints of exams or syllabus content. 

With the support of their supervisor, students are able to set their own research question. This can be on any aspect of any subject offered at IB. (This does not have to be a subject you are taking, or even a subject we are offering at Parkside). Some examples of Extended Essay research questions designed by previous IB students around the world are: 

  • What level of data compression in music files is acceptable to the human ear? 
  • Is it possible to determine the presence of a black hole at the centre of the Milky Way? 

Extended Essay Subject Brief

How will I be assessed? 

The final mark is made up of a 4000 word dissertation, written in the style of a paper in an academic journal. You will be marked not just on your final piece, but also on how you approached your investigation, and you will have a ‘viva voce’ style interview with your supervisor when you have finished your essay. The essay will be marked by the IB Organisation, but this will be based on your teacher’s report as well as on the dissertation itself. 

Creativity, Activity, Service

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) requires students to take part in a range of experiences and at least one project. These should involve real, purposeful activities, with outcomes that are significant to the individual. CAS activities represent an opportunity for experiential learning, and students are expected to reflect upon the activities they have carried out. 

There aren’t prescribed projects or activities that students have to get involved with; we encourage students to be involved with activities they have initiated themselves. Here are some examples of activities that our students have participated in:  

  • Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award 
  • Running a first aid club 
  • Raising money for a school defibrillator 
  • Performing with the orchestra or choir 
  • Helping in a refugee camp, learning a new language 
  • Helping at a local primary school 
  • Helping a local Girlguiding or Scouting group 
  • Bell ringing 
  • Playing in a sports team and/or coaching younger players

CAS Subject Brief