CAS - Creativity Activity Service
The International Baccalaureate (IB) goal is to educate the whole person and foster responsible, compassionate citizens. The CAS programme encourages students to share their energy and special talents with others. Students should, through these activities, develop greater awareness of themselves, concern for others, and the ability to work cooperatively with other people.Although the IB organization no longer imposes a minimum number of hours regarding CAS, Lamar requires each IB Diploma Candidate to fulfill 50 hours minimum in each of the three categories of CAS. The categories are: Creativity, Activity, and Service. Please understand that the CAS programme is a two-year commitment and the 50-hour minimum in each category should be taken as such - a candidate may have over a hundred hours in any given category. You are encouraged to continue once you have fulfilled the minimum requirement. Please be aware that CAS activities can not result in compensation or an academic grade.For the CAS Coordinator and Advisors, search for CAS in the Directory for names and email addresses.
What is CAS? What is NOT CAS? Timeline Important Things to Remember CAS Proposals Lamar Procedures FAQs CAS Reflections Learning OutcomesThe keys to the successful completion of this component of the diploma programme is timely proposal submission, perseverance, and required documentation. For each activity, you are required to properly document your participation and to log the dates and hours. You must also provide an evaluation from the activity supervisor/leader with his/her phone number. The IB does not recommend using your relatives, friends, or neighbors as supervisors; therefore, only in special cases, and with prior approval, will there be an exception to this rule. If you have questions regarding documentation, please feel free to make an appointment to see your CAS Advisor.You should record all of your reflections, hour/date logs, and supervisor reports on ManageBac as you complete them. This will help you have everything at hand when you are ready to submit your final CAS documentation your senior year. Seniors will submit all CAS requirements the last week of January.What is CAS? [Return to TOP]
CAS is performing, building, cleaning, helping, learning, growing,
exploring, leading, following, collaborating, reflecting
... being a global citizen while helping the person next door.The emphasis of CAS is on experiential learning, designed to involve students in new roles. Students are expected to be involved in the program during an 18 month period, starting the summer after finishing their sophomore year and continuing through to the spring semester of their senior year. Although students should begin working on their CAS projects the summer after sophomore year, no one is allowed to finish the program early. Failure to demonstrate an 18 month commitment could result in the failure of this component of the IB programme.
Creativity: arts, leadership roles, and other experiences that involve creative thinking
Action: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle
Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student where the rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respectedThe most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop self-worth of both server and served. The emphasis of CAS is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time.CAS should involve:
- real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
- personal challenge-tasks must extend the student and be achievable in scope
- thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
- reflection on learning outcomes and personal learning
- What did I plan to do?
- What did I do?
- What were the outcomes, for me, the team I was working with, and others?
What is not CAS? [Return to TOP]
Note: If you have specific questions about activities please contact your CAS Advisor or the CAS Coordinator.
- Any class, activity, or project for which a student receives credit towards their IB diploma.
- An activity for which a student is personally rewarded (either financially or with some other benefit).
- Any activity for which a student receives a grade in a class.
- An outside activity that could possibly influence a student’s grade (extra credit or penalization for lack of participation)
- Doing simple, tedious, and repetitive work or work that lacks a meaningful outcome (returning library books to shelves, organizing work space).
- Completing a task and not knowing why you are doing this task.
- A passive pursuit such as a visit to a museum, the theater, art exhibition, concert, or sports event.
- All forms of duty within the family.
- Religious devotion and any activity which can be interpreted as proselytizing.
- Work experience which only benefits the student, including babysitting.
- An activity where there is no leader or responsible adult (over 21) on site to evaluate and confirm student performance.
- Activities which cause division amongst different groups in the community.
- Superficial international activity where there is a lack of true cultural learning.
Important Things to Remember [Return to TOP]
You can always seek guidance from your CAS Advisor or the CAS Coordinator regarding the appropriateness of a project; however, use your imagination and think outside the box.
- Your CAS experience should be meaningful to you.
- Fill out and submit your proposal through ManageBac, asking any questions you might have well before you actually begin a new project.
- Make sure you have read "What is not CAS" so that you do not have your proposals denied. If in doubt, ask.
- You are responsible for completing the program over an 18 month period. You must clearly document your participation from the summer following your sophomore year through the fall semester of your senior year.
- You must have a proposal, reflection, support documentation (evidence of participation), hour log, and supervisor's report on file for every project you complete as part of the CAS programme.
- Support documentation should include pictures, and other appropriate evidence of the activity.
- You must participate in at least one activity of significant duration.
- You must participate in at least one activity that covers two or more of the CAS categories.
- Over the course of your CAS experience all eight learning outcomes should be demonstrated. For each activity, learning outcomes should be addressed in the reflections.
- You must participate in at least one activity that clearly demonstrates an international focus. This may be completed from within the USA or abroad.
CAS Proposals [Return to TOP]
Proposals must be centered around the goals or Learning Outcomes of the project or activity. Proposals need to have clear goals. CAS should be both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self-discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals.
Remember CAS is a unique program designed for each student.
All proposed activities need to meet the following four criteria:
- Real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
- Personal Challenge - tasks must extend you and be achievable in scope
- Thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, and reporting
- Reflection on outcomes and personal learning
If the proposal is not approved it does not mean that it cannot eventually be CAS worthy, so it might only be denied until the appropriate adjustments are made and resubmitted. The proposed activity might need another dimension, depth, or just guidance towards making it CAS worthy. We can always have ongoing conversations via ManageBac to perfect proposals. If you make changes to proposals please add a note to your CAS Advisor so that changes can be reviewed.
The following questions will help you determine whether or not an intended activity qualifies as CAS:
- What do you plan to do?
- What, in your mind, qualifies this experience as creative, action, and/or service?
- Is this activity a new role for you?
- Does it have real value to other people?
- What do you hope to learn from getting involved?
- How can this activity benefit other people?
- What can you reflect on during this activity?
Activities should have a definite goal and outcome. It can be a challenge that is both a pleasure and passion for a student, for example dedication to a musical instrument. This does not include merely “more of the same”- more practice, more concerts, with the school band etc. Creativity should include a personal challenge - tasks must extend the students and be achievable in scope.
Physical activity in which setting goals, and planning and reflecting on their achievement is vital. This includes physical exertion as part of a service activity.
Activities must include experiential learning and benefits others.
Lamar Procedures [Return to TOP]
- Students must record/upload all reflections, evidence, and supervisor reports on ManageBac (mblamar.managebac.com).
- You are encouraged to maintain a spreadsheet documenting your activities, learning outcomes, and hours. Your reflections, photo evidence, and supervisors review will confirm your participation in activities.
- You must propose your intended activity on ManageBac 7 days prior to participation. This will provide the time needed for attentive review and discussion between the candidate and CAS Advisor.
- Each activity must cover one or more of the CAS categories and must be tied to at least one of the eight learning outcomes.
- For each activity, you are required to properly and promptly document your participation and time commitment. Your hours and involvement will be verified and confirmed by your supervisor via ManageBac. Your reflection must include photo evidence and be submitted in ManageBac within 7 days of the activity.
- You must take part in a range of activities, including at least one project, some of which you have initiated. You must include a plan, do, and reflect (plan activities, carry them out, and reflect on what you have learned).
- Participation in service organizations must be broken down into individual project proposals. Club sponsors will serve as supervisor verification.
- CAS cannot be completed with one all inclusive singular activity.
- The CAS Coordinator and Advisors will oversee and help guide the development of each student. Primarily communication will occur via ManageBac.
- The CAS Coordinator will have mandatory formal meetings with every IB Diploma Candidate.
CAS Reflections [Return to TOP]
An activity performed without a reflection is just another experience, and is not CAS. Reflecting and developing self awareness are the cornerstones of the CAS experience.
The Learning Outcomes not only need to be addressed in the reflections, they should be the primary focus.
Be honest in your reflections. Remember negative experiences are powerful and can be the richest place of growth for a person.
Reflections must include your personal feelings and experiences regarding the activity in which you participated. Be sure to integrate the answers to most of the following questions in your reflections:
The answers to these questions should be in a persuasive narrative form.
- To which category of CAS does this activity apply: creativity, action, or service?
- Do you feel that your participation made a difference?
- Did anything about the activity surprise you?
- What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What did you learn about the volunteers, or participants, with whom you worked?
- How do you think your fellow volunteers, or participants, perceived you?
- What did you learn about the people who you were serving?
- How do you think those you were helping perceived you?
- How does this CAS activity relate to broader social issues?
- Do not give the obvious times/dates, etc. in your reflections. The reflection should be just that--your personal reflection on the process.
Timeline [Return to TOP]
- An informational Parent Meeting will be held early in the Fall semester.
- The CAS Coordinator will hold a general information meeting for juniors early in the Fall Semester.
- An individual progress conference will be held with your CAS Advisor in April.
- An individual progress conference will be help in September or October.
- A completion conference will be held in January.
Learning Outcomes Indepth [Return to TOP]
Over the course of your CAS experience the following outcomes should be achieved:
- Increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth - They are able to see themselves as individuals with various skills and abilities, some more developed than others, and understand that they can make choices about how they wish to move forward.
- Undertaken new challenges - A new challenge may be an unfamiliar activity, or an extension to an existing one.
- Planned and initiated activities - Planning and initiation will often be in collaboration with others. It can be shown in activities that are part of larger projects, for example, ongoing school activities in the local community, as well as in small student-led activities.
- Worked collaboratively with others - Collaboration can be shown in many different activities.
- Shown perseverance and commitment in their activities - At a minimum, this implies attending regularly and accepting a share of the responsibility for dealing with problems that arise in the course of activities.
- Engaged with issues of global importance - Students may be involved in international projects but there are many global issues that can be acted upon locally or nationally (for example, environmental concerns, caring for the elderly, etc.).
- Considered the ethical implications of their actions - Ethical decisions arise in almost any CAS activity. Evidence of thinking about ethical issues can be shown in various ways, including journal entries and conversations with your CAS Advisor.
- Developed new skills - As with new challenges, new skills may be shown in activities that the student has not previously undertaken, or in increased expertise in an established area.
FAQs [Return to TOP]
Here is a list of the most common questions regarding CAS. Please do not hesitate to contact your CAS Advisor for help throughout the program:
- Where can I find volunteer opportunities and/or suggestions for appropriate activities to fulfill each of the required components? There are many service oriented organizations on campus. (ex. Key Club, Interact, NHS, etc.)
- Is it possible to split hours for any one activity between two or more of the CAS categories? Yes, you may split the hours, as appropriate. However, you may not double count hours.
- May I count all hours for school sports? No. You may not count hours for any activity performed during regular school hours. Routine hours of practice may not be counted either.
- May I count volunteer opportunities provided by my church or temple? The IB does not allow students to receive credit for any activities that involve "proselytizing;" however, you may count any other activities completed as part of your youth group (e.g., community service, summer camp for younger children, etc.). If you have a question, please see your CAS Advisor.
- May I count any hours for services for which I am paid? No. You may not count hours for activities for which you receive financial compensation.
- May I count hours for any activities completed as part of my course work? No. You may not count hours for any activities for which you receive course credit.
- May I count hours from travel or study abroad programs? Possibly, please see your CAS Advisor before final plans are made.
- How in depth do the reflections have to be? Each reflection should address the questions listed on the "Reflection Guidelines" provided in your CAS packet. Reflections should not simply state the completion of an activity and the total hours spent on its completion. Please proofread your reflections for spelling and grammar mistakes before turning them in.
- May I count personal, individualized activities such as weight training, jogging, cycling, voice lessons, piano lessons, etc.? Yes. However, the activity must reflect a purpose and goal. Also, you have to write a reflection, record your hours and include a supervisor's report. Remember parents cannot serve as your supervisor without prior approval.
- Should I wait until my senior year to begin writing my reflections, hour/date logs, and gathering the supervisor reports? No. You should complete each reflection, hour/date log and request the supervisor's report as soon as you complete any given activity. This will save you time and stress your senior year!
- When can I begin to work on the CAS component of the diploma? You may begin to record activities the summer following your sophomore year. Seniors should complete the CAS program by the last week of January.
- What do I do if I have doubts, concerns, or questions? Make an appointment to see your CAS Advisor. Only the CAS Coordinator and Advisors may approve an activity for CAS.
- Is it possible to receive the IB diploma if I fail to complete the CAS component? No. CAS is a required component of the diploma programme.