What is CAS?

What is CAS?

“…if you believe in something, you must not just think or talk or write, but must act.” 

CAS is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. The aim is to learn more about yourself, your strengths, your interests and how you can challenge yourself.

Creativity–exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance

Activity–physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle

Service–collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need

Students develop skills, attitudes and dispositions through a variety of individual and group experiences that provide students with opportunities to explore their interests and express their passions, personalities and perspectives. CAS complements a challenging academic programme in a holistic way, providing opportunities for self-determination, collaboration, accomplishment and enjoyment.

CAS encourages students to seek personal growth and develop collaborative and communication skills. These are the same skills often sought by future employers and many past students have extensively used their CAS experiences in university applications.

Each individual student has a different starting point and different strengths, needs and goals. A CAS programme is therefore utterly personal as it depends on the student’s interests, skills, values and background.

Each CAS Experience has 5 CAS Stages:

1. Investigation: 

Students identify their interests, skills and talents to be used in considering opportunities for CAS experiences, as well as areas for personal growth and development. Students investigate what they want to do and determine the purpose for their CAS experience. In the case of service, students identify a need they want to address.

2. Preparation:

Students clarify roles and responsibilities, develop a plan of actions to be taken, identify specified resources and timelines, and acquire any skills as needed to engage in the CAS experience.

3. Action: 

Students implement their idea or plan. This often requires decision-making and problem solving. Students may work individually, with partners, or in groups.

4. Reflection: 

Students describe what happened, express feelings, generate ideas, and raise questions. Reflection can occur at any time during CAS to further understanding, to assist with revising plans, to learn from the experience, and to make explicit connections between their growth, accomplishments, and the learning outcomes for personal awareness. Reflection may lead to new future experiences.

5. Demonstration: 

Students make explicit what and how they learned and what they have accomplished, for example, by sharing their CAS experience through their CAS portfolio or with others in an informal or formal manner. Through demonstration and communication, students solidify their understanding and evoke response from others.

The CAS stages provide a framework that enables students to:

• develop their ability to communicate and collaborate with others

• experience and recognise personal development

• develop attributes of the IB learner profile

• increase self-awareness and empathy

• explore new and unfamiliar challenges

• find passions and interests for a balanced lifestyle

The Three Strands of CAS


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

Creativity in CAS provides students with the opportunity to explore their own sense of original thinking and expression. Creativity will come from the student’s talents, interests, passions, emotional responses, and imagination; the form of expression is limitless. This may include visual and performing arts, digital design, writing, film, culinary arts, crafts and composition. Students are encouraged to engage in creative endeavours that move them beyond the familiar, broadening their scope from conventional to unconventional thinking.


Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle: 

The aim of the “Activity” strand is to promote lifelong healthy habits related to physical well-being. Pursuits may include individual and team sports, aerobic exercise, dance, outdoor recreation, fitness training, and any other form of physical exertion that purposefully contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Students are encouraged to participate at an appropriate level and on a regular basis to provide a genuine challenge and benefit.


Collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need:

The aim of the “Service” strand is for students to understand their capacity to make a meaningful contribution to their community and society. Through service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative, responsibility, and accountability for their actions. Service is often seen as one of the most transforming elements of CAS by promoting students’ self-awareness, offering diverse occasions for interactions and experiences and opportunities for international-mindedness. 

Service within CAS benefits all involved: students learn as they identify and address authentic community needs, and the community benefits through reciprocal collaboration. Service fosters development of abilities, attitudes and values in accordance with the IB mission statement and the IB learner profile. As such, CAS service experiences are unpaid.

Approaches to Learning (ATL) Links:

At DBS, the CAS programme encourages students to develop their social skills: The ability to participate and collaborate with others whilst showing awareness and respect for other cultures, varying points of view, and individual differences. The CAS Project is an opportunity to do so. 

IB Website on CAS: