What is CAS? International Baccalaureate Diploma
CAS is at the heart of the International Diploma that is the prestigious Baccalaureate. It's one of the many ways the IB successfully nurtures well-rounded life-long students. Any IB Diploma graduate will attest to how enriching they found the experience of their CAS activities.
What does CAS stand for?
C is for Creativity
Creativity is about interrogating ideas and developing something new and original. This could be solving a problem, writing a piece of music or designing a garden. The possibilities cover all forms of art and craft: writing, visual, performing; design including digital, film-making and even culinary art.
A is for Action
Action relates to the physical, culminating in a healthy lifestyle. Sport is the obvious conclusion that most people jump to but action is not limited to sports. Creative and interpretive dance, all forms of outdoor pursuits such as bushwalking, rockclimbing, paragliding and surfing are included. As is fitness and endurance training, basically anything that works towards living a healthy, robust lifestyle.
S is for Service
Service is about collaboration. It means coming together with members of a community to respond to a need. Incorporating service into the mix gives students lived experience of how to use initiative and apply problem solving and decision making techniques to real-world issues. It also fosters a sense of the responsibility and accountability and helps students understand themselves in the continuum of life in the community.
Okay, think I understand each of those concepts as separate entities but how do they work together?
Let’s look at an example CAS project that encompasses the above:
Problem: the local skate park is in need of some love and attention but your local council doesn’t have the funds to assist. The skate park is an important place for young people to socialize and undertake physical activity. So what is your solution?
The search for a solution: you bring together a group of older skaters to canvas ideas about fundraising. The three top ideas are:
- Offer skating lessons for a small donation
- Put together and online site offering skating tips
- Run a crowd funding campaign, linked back to the site
Outcomes: the skating community puts the word out. The people taking the skating lessons and accessing the website become great advocates for the campaign, as do their friends and parents. Local business come on board because now they can see the value of the skate park too. The local council may even be prepared to match the donations as they come to understand the value that the community has placed in regenerating the skate park.
Creativity: rather than asking for a handout you brought together a team of stakeholders’ to canvas ideas about how to solve the problem. And the group came up with a plan of action. There will also be creativity in the actual re-generation work and in generating publicity through posters etc.
Action: you are encouraging and supporting a great physical activity – namely skating, and you are offering it in a safe environment.
Service: the community now has a skatepark in which it owns a stake; it will be easier to maintain it in future without recourse to handouts from the Council. However, now the Council and local business see the value in the skatepark because they view it through the eyes of the community.
You haven’t just solved a problem; you have created a virtuous circle - a perfectly well-rounded IB Student.