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It is an inside vibration, it is how and not how much-Maria Piaggio

What is CAS?

CAS is a framework for experiential learning, designed to involve students in new roles.  The emphasis is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time.

This process of doing and reflecting on the doing provides an excellent opportunity to extend what is learned in the classroom to a form of service, such as applying science (from, for example, biology or environmental systems) to the environment, or applying technology (from, for example, design technology) to the design of devices to help people who are disabled or to improve living conditions in a home or town or refugee camp.

Service is not simply an emotional impulse, it is a demonstration of attitudes and values
Maria Piaggio

The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop the self-worth of both server and served.  In the design and construction of their CAS schedules, coordinators are strongly encouraged to emphasize these aspects as much as possible.  Appropriate activities might include:

  • Physical assistance to the elderly
  • A structured series of visits to a home for orphans
  • Helping with rehabilitation at the local hospital
  • Teaching basic literacy
  • Establishing and coaching a sports team for disadvantaged youngsters
  • Establishing and leading a musical ensemble for visually impaired people
  • Involvement in a theatrical production to which refugee children are invited
  • Teaching the use of computers
  • Environmental restoration and protection

The activities should be undertaken gradually, be appropriately adapted to the circumstances, and take into account the students' aptitudes and preferences.  The experience should never be a shock for students; this would be counter to the educational aims of CAS; rather it should reward and enrich all involved.  When well carried out, CAS should build self-esteem, self-confidence, autonomy and self-reliance.


This aspect of CAS is interpreted as imaginatively as possible to cover a wide range of arts and other activities outside the normal curriculum which include creative thinking in the design and carrying out of service projects.

This could involve doing dance, theatre, music and art, for example.  Students should be engaged in group activities, and especially in new roles, wherever possible.  Nevertheless, individual commitment to learning an art form is allowed, where it respects the requirements for all CAS activities: that goals are set and the student reflects on progress.


This aspect of CAS can include participation in expeditions, individual and team sports, and physical activities outside the normal curriculum; it also includes physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects.  Action may involve participation in sport or other activities requiring physical exertion-such as expeditions and camping trips, or digging trenches to lay water pipes to bring fresh water to a village.  Students should be encouraged towards group and team activities, and undertaking new roles, but an individual commitment is acceptable where the general requirements of CAS are met: goals are set and the student reflects on progress.

Both creativity and action can be enhanced by incorporating the service element.  Students involved in the arts and in physical activities might consider coaching young children, seniors in residential homes, street children and so on.


Service projects and activities are often the most transforming element of the Diploma Programme for the individual student; they have the potential to nurture and mould the global citizen.  Service involves interaction, such as the building of links with individuals or groups in the community.  The community may be the school, the local district, or it may exist on national and international levels (such as undertaking projects of assistance in a developing country).  Service activities should not only involve doing things for others but also doing things with others and developing a real commitment with them.  The relationship should therefore show respect for the dignity and self-respect of others.

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