The Glenlyon Norfolk School website uses cookies to ensure the best possible user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.
Our IB Advantage
Diploma Programme

The Core of the IB Diploma

A unique characteristic of the IB Diploma Programme, and in many ways the most valuable, is the extension of learning beyond the normal range of classroom subjects.
In addition to the six examination subjects, full Diploma students pursue three further requirements:
  • Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS): a journey of self-discovery in which students participate in a range of activities to meet seven learning outcomes.
  • The Extended Essay (EE): a 4000-word independent research essay on a topic that the student is interested in. The student is supported by a faculty supervisor.
  • Theory of Knowledge (ToK): a 100-hour course taught over two years about critical thinking and inquiry into the nature of knowledge. It is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600-word essay.

What is CAS?

The CAS programme is one of the three key elements found at the core of the IB Diploma Programme that allows students to develop breadth and depth within the activities they pursue outside of their academic programme by providing a framework for their co-curricular endeavours.
There are three strands that make up the CAS programme:
  • Creativity can link to involvement in the arts but can include other experiences that involve creative thinking. For example, students could be involved in debate or Model United Nations as part of this strand.
  • Activity is to ensure students look after their physical well-being. They may choose to do this through individual pursuits such as personal workouts or yoga, or by participating in a team-based activity like soccer or basketball.
  • Service sees students get involved with their communities either at a local, national or global level.
Students must have ongoing involvement in each of the three strands throughout their two-year programme, but this ongoing involvement can take many different shapes and forms. It could mean the length of an athletic season or the length of a theatre production including rehearsals. It could also be the length of the term or the entire school year. Students can continue with experiences in which they have already been involved for many many years, or they can choose to try something completely new or a combination of both.
Involvement in the CAS programme is personal and individualized. No two CAS portfolios look alike. And each student works with a CAS supervisor who is there to guide and support them. Students are not required to document a certain number of hours, but they do need to meet seven learning outcomes and complete one project.
An additional benefit of being involved in the CAS programme is that when students apply to universities and for scholarships, they may be asked to provide information about their lives beyond the classroom. The CAS programme and the portfolio that goes along with it allows students to draw on those experiences and for many that is worth its weight in gold.

The 7 Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
  2. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
  3. Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
  4. Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
  5. Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
  6. Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
  7. Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

What is the Extended Essay?

Another of the three key elements found at the core of the IB Diploma Programme, the Extended Essay (EE) is an independent, self-directed, 4000-word academic research paper. It provides an opportunity for students to research a topic of personal interest that is related to one of their six DP subjects. Each student works with an EE supervisor throughout the process to focus their research and hone their writing. The EE provides practical preparation for undergraduate research as it enables students to develop the capacity to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate knowledge.
Some examples of EE topics:
  • To what extent does rapid urbanization impact the standard of living of citizens of Vancouver, British Columbia? (Global Politics)
  • When drawing a chord to a random circle in spherical geometry, what is the probability that the chord is longer than a side length of an inscribed equilateral triangle in the circle? (Mathematics)
  • How does water purification function in a disaster relief setting and is PUR or SODIS more effective in this context? (World Studies: Chemistry and Geography)
  • What aspects of Indonesian traditional theatre did Julie Taymor take inspiration from in creating her Midsummer Night’s Dream with the theatre for a new audience in 2014? (Theatre)
  • In what ways can pancreatic islet cell transplantation improve the quality of life of persons with Type 1 diabetes in comparison to intensive insulin therapy in the United States? (World Studies: Biology and Economics)

What is the Theory of Knowledge?

Theory of Knowledge is the third element found in the core of the IB Diploma. It is a unique course where students explore ideas from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. The emphasis is on exploring real-world knowledge issues, with the goal of helping students learn to question their own assumptions so they become flexible problem solvers.
  • The course is organized around a series of Big Questions related to topics such as values, spin and biases.
  • These Big Questions are explored in the context of different areas of knowledge, including the arts, history, and the natural sciences.
  • Because the course is focused on critical questioning and team learning, rather than upon the mastery of a defined body of knowledge, student-led discussion and journal entries drawn from their personal experience form a major part of the program.
  • The final assessment involves writing a 1600-word essay an IBO-prescribed topic that explores a chosen Big Question.

Glenlyon Norfolk School

Junior School (JK to Grade 5)

Middle (Grade 6 to 8) and Senior (Grade 9 to 12) Schools

We wish to acknowledge and respect the Straits Salish Peoples on whose traditional territory we gather. Specifically, we recognize the Lekwungen Peoples known today as the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land where we live, work, play and learn continue to this day.