The Challenges and Rewards of IB Creativity, Activity & Service (CAS)

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What issues of global significance matter to you? What would you say are the ethical implications of your actions on others? These are two questions that I ask my students as they embark upon their CAS journey for the IB Diploma Programme.

I think that for many of us it is all too easy to ‘talk the talk’ but what we are asking of our students for CAS is far from theoretical; it is all about taking affirmative action. The Diploma demands that it’s students, aside from achieving good grades, come out as young adults equipped with the lifelong skills of communication, collaboration, and the confidence to take initiative.

Prefer to work alone? Reluctant to be a leader? Go forth and conquer! CAS is unapologetic in its demand for students to step outside their comfort zones. ‘Challenging’ and ‘Rewarding’ are the two words that came up consistently in the research conducted by the IB about students’ perceptions of CAS. CAS is a journey of personal development, which starts and ends with the students’ own interests and aspirations.

I always meet my  grade 11 students individually to discuss their plans for CAS and one of the first questions I ask them is ‘Who are you and what are you about?’. The answers to these questions are simple, yet they form the basis of the student’s ability to unlock the weightier questions concerning ethics and global issues for themselves.

Individual success in CAS is almost entirely predicated on a student’s ability to find meaning and enjoyment in what they do. It is about experiences students will remember, and these experiences often play a huge role in shaping who they become.

I will leave you now with some great thoughts about CAS from Seara Grundhoefer from our current Grade 12:

“I don’t know if I could truly call myself an accomplished student without doing CAS. I would’ve missed out on opportunities that I now consider to be the best moments of my high school life. And although it wasn’t always easy to keep up with, ultimately I’m grateful to CAS for making me realise that there’s far more to school (and IB!) than what you’re taught in class; sometimes, it’s the things you learn outside of class that stick with you the most”.

By Rachel Cox, CAS Coordinator at GEMS World Academy (Singapore)

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the IB Diploma Programme (DP).

Studied throughout the Diploma Programme, CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. It is not formally assessed. However, students reflect on their CAS experiences as part of the DP, and provide evidence of achieving the seven learning outcomes for CAS.