CAS is the quality difference of the IBO—María Piaggio, member of the CAS committee
The creativity, action, service (CAS) requirement takes seriously the importance of life outside the
world of scholarship, providing a counterbalance to the academic self-absorption some students may
feel within a demanding school curriculum. The creative, physical and social development of human
beings can be shaped by their own experiences. Participation in CAS encourages students to share
their energies and special talents while developing awareness, concern and the ability to work
cooperatively with others. The IBO’s goal of educating the whole person and fostering more caring
and socially responsible attitudes comes alive in an immediate way when students reach beyond
themselves and their books. The educational benefits of CAS apply in the school community, and in
the local, national and international communities.
CAS should extend the students. It should challenge them to develop a value system by which they
enhance their personal growth. It should develop a spirit of open-mindedness, lifelong learning,
discovery and self-reliance. It should encourage the development of new skills on many levels: for
example, creative skills, physical skills and social skills. It should inspire a sense of responsibility
towards all members of the community. It should also encourage the development of attitudes and
traits that will be respected by others, such as determination and commitment, initiative and empathy.
Although there are three elements to CAS, it is important not to consider them as mutually exclusive.
CAS is about the education of the whole person, and the three elements are therefore interwoven.
Together, they enable a student to recognize that there are many opportunities in life, away from formal
academic study, to grow in knowledge of life, self and others. Creative and physical activities are
particularly important for adolescents (probably more so than for any other age group) because popular
culture informs and shapes their desires and values. There are also pursuits which offer much opportunity
for fun and enjoyment at a time which is, for many young people, full of stress and uncertainty.
The service element of CAS is, in itself, the most significant, but the two other elements are also very
important, as they provide access, balance, and flexibility to meet individual students’ interests and
preferences. However, even more important in the model is that it is not just a matter of three
individual parts: uniquely in the Diploma Programme it is the interaction of them all that creates the
richness of CAS. The whole of CAS is greater than the sum of its parts.
While it might be maintained that the Diploma Programme hexagon model is currently the best
available to develop academic skills and talents, it is more difficult to determine what the formula
should be to develop a student’s “informed heart”. The development of an “informed heart” should
be an integral part of a student’s international education. But how it can happen is obviously the crux
of the matter; at the very least we need to take into account vast individual differences.
The IBO recognizes that schools authorized to offer its programmes worldwide operate in diverse
geographical, cultural, economic and political environments. While acknowledging global diversity,
each school’s CAS activities must be central to the Diploma Programme and reflect the school’s
understanding of the philosophy and spirit that inform the CAS requirement.
Although the IBO does not officially recognize CAS activities undertaken by candidates for an IB
Certificate, because of the educational benefits it is strongly recommended that all students participate.
IB Diploma Programme Guide: Creativity, Action, Service, August 2001