Why do we need to complete CAS hours and how will CAS benefit me in the future?
The short and simple explanation is that CAS is a required element of the IB Diploma Program. This, however, does not explain why CAS is an integral part of the program. Keep in mind that that goal of the IB Program is to be holistic. That is to say, that its focus is not only to develop the cognitive component (the intellect), but to facilitate the affective component of the candidate also.
What is Creativity?
This could involve doing dance, theatre, music, and art, for example. Students should be engaged in group activities, and especially in new roles, wherever possible. Nevertheless, individual commitment to learning an art form is allowed, where it respects the requirements for all CAS activities: that goals are set and the student reflects on progress.
What is Action?
The aspect of CAS can include participation in expeditions, individual and team sports, and physical activities outside of the normal curriculum; it also includes physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects. Action may involve participation in sport or other activities requiring physical exertion-such an expeditions or camping trips, or digging trenches to lay pipes to bring water to a village. Students should be encouraged towards group and team activities, and undertaking new roles, but an individual commitment is acceptable where the general requirements of CAS are met: goals are set and the student reflects on progress.
What is Service?
Service projects and activities are often the most transforming element of the Diploma Program for the individual student; they have the potential to nurture and mold the global citizen. Service involves interaction, such as the building of links with individuals or groups in the community. The community may be the school, the local district, or it may exist on national and international levels. Service activities should not only involve doing things for others but also doing things with others and developing a real commitment with them. The relationship should therefore show respect for the dignity and self-respect of others.
Is it required that I pre-approve CAS activities and/or projects with the CAS coordinator?
No, it is not. It is, however, a good idea if you have any questions concerning the activity or project. It is suggested that activities or projects that involve more time and effort on the candidate’s part be discussed with the CAS coordinator prior to participation in the activity or project.
Can extracurricular activities count as CAS?
Yes, extracurricular activities may count as CAS provided they meet the stated requirements. Curricular activities done in the classroom during school hours do not count for CAS. Hours associated with the a curricular activity that an extra-curricular component, however, may count provided they take place outside of the normal school day. For example, marching band, drama, or orchestra activities outside of the normal school day may count for CAS.
What is not CAS?
Activities or projects that are unlikely to qualify as CAS, include but are not limited to:
- any activity or project that is a component of the existing Diploma Program,
- any activity for which the student is personally rewarded either financially or with some other benefit,
- simple, tedious, and repetitive work such as shelving or stacking,
- working in a children’s home or retirement home when the candidate has no idea how the facility operates, engages only in simple repetitive tasks, has not contact with the target population, or does not actual service for the target population,
- passive pursuits, such as a visit to a museum, the theater, an art exhibition, a concert, or a sporting event,
- all forms of duty within a family,
- religious devotion or any activity which may be interpreted as proselytizing,
- work experience that benefits only the candidate,
- fund-raising with no clearly defined purpose or end in sight,
- any activity where there is no leader or responsible adult on site to evaluate and confirm the candidates performance,
or activities which cause division amongst different groups in the community.
Is there a limit to the number of CAS hours I can accumulate during the summer?
Yes and no. Rising juniors may accumulate no more than 25 hours in the summer preceding their junior year. Rising seniors are not limited with respect to CAS hours during the summer preceding their senior year, but other restrictions do apply (e.g. no more than 20 hours total in any activity or project).
Is there a predetermined number of CAS hours I should complete during my junior and senior years?
No, however, bi-annual summaries are required to facilitate the measured and gradually accumulation of CAS hours. It is suggested that candidates complete 90 to 100 CAS hours prior to the bi-annual check in the fall of the senior year. It is also suggested that juniors complete 60 to 80 hours by the spring bi-annual check. These numbers are guidelines only and are meant to provide a framework for planning. While planning and taking part in CAS activities early is highly recommended, a measured and incremental approach should be taken to completing the CAS requirement. Seniors should plan to complete the CAS requirement by March of their senior year.