The Core Programme

The feature that sets the IB Diploma programme apart from other pre-university programmes is its core programme. These aim to encourage not only a love of learning and a desire to question but also to develop the fundamental life skills that students will need to become ethical leaders of the global society in which we live.

All students who are taking the IB Diploma must undertake the Core.

The Diploma Core consists of:

Extended Essay (EE)

Theory of Knowledge (ToK)

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

Extended Essay

This course aims to provide students with the opportunity to:

  • pursue independent research on a focused topic
  • develop research and communication skills
  • develop the skills of creative and critical thinking
  • engage in a systematic process of research appropriate to the subject
  • experience the excitement of intellectual discovery

Students are expected to write a 4000 word essay with the support of a designated supervisor at school. This is a predominantly independent piece of work that emulates the experience of writing a dissertation at university. This assessment is graded on a scale of A to E. Passing this components enables the students gain additional points.

Theory of Knowledge

This course aims to:

  • develop a fascination with the richness of knowledge as a human endeavour, and an understanding of the empowerment that follows from reflecting upon it
  • develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed, critically examined, evaluated and renewed, by communities and individuals
  • encourage students to reflect on their experiences as learners, in everyday life and in the Diploma Programme, and to make connections between academic disciplines and between thoughts, feelings and actions
  • encourage an interest in the diversity of ways of thinking and ways of living of individuals and communities, and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions, including participants’ own
  • encourage consideration of the responsibilities originating from the relationship between knowledge, the community and the individual as citizen of the world

Students are expected to write a 1500 word essay on a prescribed title and do a 10 minute presentation on a topic of their choice. ToK is graded on a scale of A to E. Students have designated lessons for ToK in their timetable. Passing this components enables the students gain additional points.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

This course aims to develop students who are:

  • reflective thinkers – they understand their own strengths and limitations, identify goals and devise strategies for personal growth
  • willing to accept new challenges and new roles
  • aware of themselves as members of communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment
  • active participants in sustained, collaborative projects
  • balanced – they enjoy and find significance in a range of activities involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional experiences

CAS is a compulsory completion requirement (no grades) based on set outcomes that students are required to achieve through a variety of activities. This is an integral and significant experiential learning component of the IBDP. VISS has a designated CAS Coordinator and CAS Advisors who guide students through the 18 months in the programme to identify activities and complete the requirements.