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CAS-Creativity, Action, Service

Creativity, action, service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Program.  It is one of the three essential elements in every student’s Diploma Program experience.  It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Program.  Successful completion of CAS is a requirement for the award of the IB diploma.
What defines the three strands of CAS
  • Creativity:  experiences in the arts, and any other experiences that involve creative thinking such as planning activities or problem solving.
  • Action:  requires physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle to complement the demands of the Diploma academic work, such as sports or dance classes.
  • Service:  an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has learning benefit for the student.  The rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected.  Some examples include helping with activities for the elderly, leading a music ensemble for the visually impaired, coaching a sports team for disadvantaged children, environmental restoration and protection.
The emphasis of CAS is on experiential learning.  At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of the Diploma Program. Student’s should be challenged by the CAS program, but enjoy it as well.  For many students’ their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life-changing.
CAS should involve:
  • Real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
  • Personal challenge – tasks must extend the student and be achievable in scope
  • Thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
  • Reflection on outcomes and personal learning.
All proposed CAS activities need to meet these four criteria.  CAS activities should continue on a regular basis for as long as possible throughout the program and certainly for at least 18 months or through the end of 1stsemester Senior year.  The guideline for the minimum amount of CAS activity is approximately the equivalent of half a day per school week (three to four hours per week), or approximately 150 hours in total, with a reasonable balance between creativity, action and service. “Hour counting”, however, is not encouraged and most students exceed the expectations.
Learning Outcomes
To complete the CAS requirement, you must provide evidence that all eight learning outcomes described below have been met.  Some may be demonstrated many times, in a variety of activities, but completion requires only that there is evidence for every outcome.
As a result of your CAS experience as a whole, including your reflections, there should be evidence you have:
  • Increased your awareness of your own strengths and areas for growth
    You are able to see yourself as an individual with various skills and abilities, some more developed than others, and understand that you can make choices about how
    you wish to move forward.
  • Undertaken new challenges
    A new challenge may be an unfamiliar activity or an extension to an existing one.
  • Planned and initiated activities
    Planning and initiation will often be in collaboration with others.  It can be shown in activities that are part of larger projects, for example, ongoing school activities in the local community, as well as in small student-led activities.
  • Worked collaboratively with others
    Collaboration can be shown in many different activities such as team sports, playing music in a band, or helping in a kindergarten.
  • Shown perseverance and commitment in their activities
    At a minimum, this implies attending regularly and accepting a share of responsibility for dealing with problems that arise in the course of activities.
  • Engaged with issues of global importance
    You may be involved in international projects but there are many global issues that can be acted upon locally or nationally (for example, environmental concerns, caring for the elderly).
  • Considered the ethical implications of their actions
    Ethical decisions arise in almost any CAS activity (for example, on the sports field, in musical composition, in relationships with others involved in service activities).  Evidence of thinking about ethical issues can be shown in various ways, including journal entries and conversations with CAS advisors.
  • Developing new skills
    As with new challenges, new skills may be shown in activities that the student has not previously undertaken, or in increased expertise in an established area.
All eight outcomes must be present for you to complete the CAS requirement.  Some may be demonstrated many times, in a variety of activities, but completion requires only that there is some evidence for every outcome.  This focus on learning outcomes emphasizes that it is the quality of the CAS activity (its contribution to your development) that is of the most importance.  It is the experience and reflection upon the experience that counts; this is not merely a logging of hours exercise.
The beauty of the CAS program is that it is an individual experience designed by you, for you.  Although it’s about reaching out to your local, national and global community, it is also about reflecting upon your activities and actions.  It’s about becoming a member of life and learning who you are.