The International Baccalaureate Program

Creativity, Action, Service


The CAS requirement takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship, providing a refreshing counter-balance to the academic self-absorption some may feel within a demanding school program. The IB goal of educating the whole person and fostering a more compassionate citizenry comes alive in an immediate way when students reach beyond themselves and their books. The CHS IB faculty and administration expect students to acquire an understanding of community and world affairs and an appreciation of different cultures through both academic and extra-curricular activities.

Creativity, Action, and Service Components

CAS is a program which includes Creativity, Action, and Service activities. Each of these activities can be performed separately or combined partially or totally into a single project which spans junior and senior years. Students can begin CAS at any time during the IB program; however, required hours begin accumulation after the sophomore year officially ends.

Creativity should be interpreted as imaginatively as possible to cover a wide range of arts and other activities outside the normal curriculum, which include creative thinking in the design and carrying out of service projects. Students are to be engaged in group activities and new roles whenever possible. Individual commitment in learning an art form is allowed -- that is, where goals are set and the student reflects on progress. The student must also share the knowledge of the art with others; then it becomes a CAS project with the spirit of CAS in place.

Action can include participation in expeditions, individual or team sports, and physical activities outside the normal curriculum. It also includes physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects. Action may involve participation in sports or other activities requiring physical exertion -- such as expeditions and camping trips, or digging trenches to lay water pipes to bring fresh water to a village.

Service means contributing to the local, national, or worldwide community in an effort to make life better for others, especially those who are disadvantaged. This service neither seeks, nor accepts payment. Service projects are often the most transforming element of the Diploma Program for the individual student. Service involves interaction, such as the building of links with individuals or groups in the community. Service activities should not only involve doing for others, but also doing with others, and developing a real commitment to the project.

  • Many of the best and most successful CAS activities are projects which combine creativity, action, and service as a total CAS experience. The project approach is being adopted increasingly by schools worldwide and it is seen to be closer to the spirit of CAS.
  • Emphasis should be placed on the development of new skills, not simply on practicing those already acquired. Students are encouraged to propose and plan their own activities for inclusion on the list.
  • Fulfilling the time requirements alone is not sufficient; a student's records, along with the supervisor and self-evaluations, must clearly demonstrate quality, balanced content, and commitment for a student to meet the CAS requirement.
  • Most importantly for students, universities want to see a wide range of activities on a student's application. Students who are active in CAS gain a considerable advantage since they have solid documentation on a variety of activities that prove a commitment to helping others and include reflection and self evaluation. In the competitive world of college applications, this can be the deciding factor for a university's Dean of Admissions.

What is CAS not?

Generally, CAS is not taking place when the student is in a passive rather than active role. There must be interaction. If the student is passive, nothing of real value, either for the student or for other people, results from what the student is doing, and no real reflection is possible.

Example of inappropriate activities:
  • Any class activity or project which is already part of the student's Diploma Program (i.e. class projects).
  • Simple, tedious, and repetitive work (i.e. returning school library books to the shelves).
  • Work in retirement or children's homes when the student:
      1. Has no idea how the home operates.
      2. Simply makes sandwiches, apart from any interaction.
      3. Has no contact with the elderly or children.
      4. Does no real service for the elderly or children.
  • A passive pursuit, such as a visit to a museum, the theatre, an art exhibition, a concert or a sports event.
  • All forms of duty within the family (i.e. washing dishes or doing the laundry at home).
  • Religious devotion and any activity which can be interpreted as proselytizing (attempting to convert someone to your religion).
  • An activity where there is no leader or responsible adult on site to evaluate and confirm student performance (i.e. stopping to pick up trash on the side of the road when alone).
  • Activities which cause division among different groups in the community (i.e. marching in anti-war rallies).
  • Any activity in the church where the objectives are not clearly secular (i.e. babysitting for a church nursery during worship, since the final objective is to allow for worship).