CAS Basics

What is CAS?

Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. It is one of the three essential elements in every student’s DP experience. It is intended to be a collection of enjoyable and challenging experiences determined by you to extend your abilities.

Through your CAS experiences and projects, you are to achieve the following learning outcomes:

• Identify your own strengths and develop areas for personal growth

• Demonstrate that you have undertaken challenges and developed new skills in the process

• Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience

• Show commitment to and perseverance in your CAS experiences

• Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively

• Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance

• Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

What are the CAS Strands?

CREATIVITY: Exploring and extending ideas, leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.

ACTIVITY: Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in DP.

SERVICE: Collaborative and reciprocal community engagement in response to an authentic need.

By investigating and identifying a community need, then determining a plan of action that respects the rights, dignity and autonomy of all involved (for example, reading to the aged or advocating for a cause), you are performing service.

CAS Experiences, Projects and Stages Explained

CAS experiences may cover more than one strand; for example, planning sports events for disadvantaged children may involve both service and activity. Some CAS experiences may involve all three strands; for example, choreographing a performance that promotes the work of a non-profit organization involves creativity, activity and service. A CAS experience can be a single event or may be an extended series of events.

Students also undertake a CAS project of at least one month’s duration that challenges students to show initiative, demonstrate perseverance, and develop skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making. The CAS project can address any single strand of CAS, or combine two or all three strands.

What is a CAS Project?

A CAS project is a collaborative, well-considered series of sequential CAS experiences, engaging students in one or more of the CAS strands of creativity, activity, and service. CAS students must be involved in at least one CAS project during their CAS programme.

The primary purpose of the CAS project is to ensure participation in sustained collaboration. Through this level of engagement students may discover the benefits of teamwork and of achievements realized through an exchange of ideas and abilities. A CAS project challenges students to show initiative, demonstrate perseverance, and develop skills such as those of cooperation, problem-solving and decision-making.

A CAS project involves collaboration between a group of students or with members of the wider community. Students work as part of a team, with all members being contributors. A CAS project offers students the opportunity to be responsible for, or to initiate, a part of or the entire CAS project. Working collaboratively also provides opportunities for individual students to enhance and integrate their personal interests, skills and talents into the planning and implementation of CAS projects.

All CAS projects should use the CAS stages (investigation, preparation, action, reflection and demonstration) as a framework for implementation to ensure that all requirements are met.

A CAS project can address any single strand of CAS, or combine two or all three strands.

  • All CAS projects are designed with a defined purpose and goals. Individual students identify one or more learning outcomes to further guide their role and responsibilities in the CAS project. Students will likely identify more outcomes, or modify expected outcomes during the CAS project and/or at its completion.A minimum of one month is recommended for a CAS project, from planning to completion. CAS projects of longer duration can provide even greater scope and opportunities for all participants and should be encouraged. Students should aim to undertake their CAS project locally and, if possible, engage in more than one CAS project over the duration of their CAS programme.
  • When a CAS project addresses the Service strand of CAS, it can be called a Service Project.
  • As expected throughout CAS, students reflect on their CAS project experience. Due to the collaborative nature of the CAS project, having occasions to reflect with others can prove most informative and assist students in gaining insights into the process of their endeavour as well as personal growth.
  • In order to initiate a CAS project, students need to complete a CAS Project Proposal Form and get it approved by the CAS Coordinator.

Students use the CAS stages (investigation, preparation, action, reflection and demonstration) as a framework for CAS experiences and the CAS project.

(Adapted from the new IBDP CAS Guide, 2015)

What is experiential learning and why is it valuable?

Experiential learning involves much more than just the activity itself: planning, acting, observing and reflecting are all crucial in making the experience as valuable as possible.

Among the benefits of experiential learning are the following. Students are enabled to:

  1. See the application of academic learning, social and personal skills to real‑life situations
  2. Bring real benefits to self and/or others
  3. Understand their own capacity to make a difference
  4. Make decisions that have real, not hypothetical, results
  5. Develop skills to solve problems
  6. Develop a sense of responsibility and accountability for their actions.

    What are my responsibilities as a CAS student?

    You should “own” your personal CAS programme. The IST After School Activity programme provides you with ample opportunity to have some really meaningful CAS experiences. CAS sessions and advisory kiCAS Conversations will provide ample spark and support as you initiate projects yourself. It is your responsibility to design a CAS programme that will inspire, challenge and extend your learning outside of the classroom. You also need to keep a CAS portfolio. This is a collection of evidence that showcases CAS experiences and ongoing reflections. Choose the best platform for YOU! CAS is a unique opportunity for you to make choices that will develop essential skills for a successful and fruitful life.

    CLASS of 2017 and beyond, CAS Students are required to:

    • approach CAS with a proactive attitude

    • explore personal values, attitudes and attributes with reference to the IB learner profile and mission statement

    • determine personal goals

    • discuss plans for CAS experiences with CAS Coordinator and homeroom teacher

    • understand and apply the CAS stages where appropriate

    • take part in a variety of experiences, some of which are self-initiated, and at least one CAS project

    • become more aware of personal interests, skills and talents and observe how these evolve throughout the CAS programme

    • maintain a CAS portfolio and keep records of CAS experiences including evidence of achievement of the 7 learning outcomes

    • understand the reflection process and identify suitable opportunities to reflect on CAS experiences

    • demonstrate accomplishments within their CAS programme

    • ensure a suitable balance between creativity, activity and service in their CAS programme

    • behave appropriately and ethically in their choices and behaviours

    Philosophy of CAS


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