THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE

According to Sue Bastian, a long-time Theory of Knowledge (ToK) teacher at the UN School in New York, students spend two years answering the question:                    

"What do I mean when I say ‘I know’, and why should anyone believe me?"

In ToK, students examine this question in the context of their definitions of knowledge itself, through four ways of knowing: emotion, reason, perception and language. They also apply their analysis to the subjects they study within the IB program and in their lives outside school.

It is hard to explain ToK to people. We ask students to challenge where their knowledge comes from and what does it mean to know something. For example, ‘when a physicist says "I know", does she mean the same thing as a poet? A mathematician? You?’ ToK is a stimulating course based around student discussion and experiences.

At AISB the ToK begins in the second semester of the 11th grade and continues into the first semester of 12th grade.

Assessment Requirements

Students write a prescribed essay of 1200-1600 words on a topic chosen from a list provided by the IB. This essay is externally assessed.

Students also prepare and give a presentation on a question of knowledge from the ToK syllabus. The presentation should be based upon a contemporary issue. This work is graded internally by their ToK teachers and moderated by the IBO.  

Allocation of TOK and Extended Essay Grades

The marks awarded for the Extended Essay are combined with the marks for the Theory of Knowledge course to give a maximum of three bonus points.

This band, in conjunction with the band for Theory of Knowledge, determines the diploma points awarded for these two requirements, according to the matrix below:

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