The Nature of Creativity, Activity, Service

If you believe in something, you must not 

just think or talk or write, but must act.”

- Peterson (2003)


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


This aspect covers a wide range of arts and other activities outside the normal curriculum which include creative thinking both in designing and carrying out service projects. This could involve doing dance, theatre, music and art. Students should be engaged in group activities and take on new roles wherever possible. Individual commitment to learning an art form is allowed, as long as goals are pre-set and the student reflects on the process.


This aspect can include participation in expeditions, individual and team sports, and physical activities outside the normal curriculum. It also includes physical activity in carrying out creative and service projects. Activity may involve participation in sports or other activities requiring physical exertion, such as camping trips, rock climbing, or beach clean-ups.

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, visiting seniors in residential homes and so on.


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 Program. The service component is an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has learning development for the student.

A good CAS program 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 must extend the student and be achievable in scope
  • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
  • reflection on outcomes and personal learning

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

Concurrency of learning is important in the Diploma Program, therefore, CAS activities should continue on a regular basis for as long as possible throughout the program, 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 the eight key learning outcomes. This documentation will culminate in a Final Project which will be due in the beginning of May.

Learning outcomes for CAS

Learning outcomes are differentiated from assessment objectives because they are not graded. As a result of their CAS experience as a whole, including their reflections, there should be evidence that students have:

  1. increased 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 they can make choices about how they wish to move forward.
  2. undertaken new challenges. A new challenge may be an unfamiliar activity, or an extension to an existing one.
  3. 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.
  4. worked collaboratively with others. Collaboration can be shown in many different activities, such as team sports, playing music in a band, or helping in a kindergarten. At least one project involving collaboration and the integration of at least two of creativity, activity, and service is required.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. considered the ethical implications of their actions. Ethical decisions arise in almost any CAS activity (for example, on the sports field, in musical composition, in relationships with others involved in service activities). Evidence of thinking about ethical issues can be shown in various ways, including journal entries and conversations with CAS advisers.
  8. 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.

All eight outcomes must be present for a student to complete the CAS requirement. Some may be demonstrated many times, in a variety of activities, but completion requires only that there is some evidence for every outcome.

CAS Resources

Online resources to help you plan and execute a service campaign

Volunteer Links

A state office aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering
Campaigns that "impact every cause, from poverty to violence to the environment to literally everything else"

Opportunities to "clean up, fix up, and conserve" the environment

Linking people to local volunteering opportunities

Find local volunteer opportunities sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation

Supporting U.S. service members deployed overseas

GHHS CAS Projects