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The nature of creativity, action, service

...if you believe in something, you must not just think or talk or write, but must act.
Peterson (2003)

“Creativity, action and service (CAS) is at the heart of the IB Diploma Programme. It is one of the three essential elements in every student’s Diploma Programme experience. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

  • Creativity: arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
  • Action: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the Diploma Programme.
  • Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.”


CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of the Diploma Programme. A good CAS programme should be both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self-discovery. Each individual student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life-changing. For student development to occur, CAS should involve:
  • real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes;
  • personal challenge—tasks that extend the student and are achievable in scope;
  • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress and reporting;
  • reflection on outcomes and personal learning.


All proposed CAS activities need to meet these four criteria. It is also essential that they do not replicate other parts of the student’s Diploma Programme work.

Concurrency of learning is important in the Diploma Programme. Therefore, CAS activities should continue on a regular basis for as long as possible throughout the programme, and certainly for at least 18 months. Successful completion of CAS is a requirement for the award of the IB diploma. CAS is not formally assessed but students need to document their activities and provide evidence that they have achieved eight key learning outcomes. The school’s CAS programme is regularly monitored by the relevant IBO regional office.





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