Along with TOK (Theory of Knowledge) and the Extended Essay (a 4000-word paper), CAS is meant to bridge applied knowledge and general knowledge through active engagement. CAS experience builds self-confidence, fosters independence, widens horizons - and can be helpful on university and job applications.
The actual benefits to the individual student generally become more tangible and evident toward the end of the IB Programme, when students fill out their final self-reflection form.
CAS consists of experiential learning through CAS activities - creativity (the arts), action (physical effort) and service (offering service that meets some need within the community). The aim of CAS experience is for the student to grow as a unique individual able to engage and collaborate in a wide spectrum of life contexts.
The CAS programme requires 3 to 4 hours of work per week over the course of at least 18 months, during the 11th and 12th school years. During this time, students are expected to initiate, plan and execute CAS activities essentially independently.
Students maintain a portfolio where they document their learning progress and reflections, tracking their performance relative to the IB goals. These goals are:
1. Recognizing one’s own strengths and weaknesses
2. Taking on new challenges / learning new skills
3. Planning and initiating CAS activities
4. Demonstrating commitment and perseverance
5. Recognizing and utilizing the benefits of teamwork
6. Demonstrating engagement with global and local issues
7. Showing awareness of ethical implications
Some recent CAS projects have included: reading to primary school students, coaching History Bowl students, participating in the Model United Nations, offering French tutoring, taking part in a Basel musical stage production, painting a mural at school – the possibilities are virtually unlimited!