Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS)

Along with TOK and the extended essay, CAS forms the core of the IB experience and is required of all diploma candidates worldwide. The ultimate goal of CAS is to encourage personal growth outside the classroom through engaging in and reflecting upon meaningful experiences.

CAS is organized around the three strands of creativity, activity and service defined as follows.

  1. Creativity—exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance
  2. Activity—physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle
  3. Service—collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need

CAS enables students to demonstrate attributes of the IB learner profile in real and practical ways, to grow as unique individuals and to recognize their role in relation to others. Students develop skills, attitudes and dispositions through a variety of individual and group experiences that provide students with opportunities to explore their interests and express their passions, personalities and perspectives. CAS complements a challenging academic program in a holistic way, providing opportunities for self-determination, collaboration, accomplishment and enjoyment.

Successful completion of CAS is a requirement for IB diploma candidates. The CAS program formally begins at the start of the Diploma Program and continues regularly, ideally on a weekly basis, for at least 18 months with a reasonable balance between creativity, activity, and service. All CAS students are expected to maintain and complete a CAS portfolio (through the managebac website) as evidence of their completion of CAS experiences, at least one major CAS project, and at least three formal interviews with their CAS coordinator.  This portfolio should show thoughtful completion of CAS experiences, engage will all three strands of CAS (creativity, activity, and service), and meet the seven CAS learning outcomes (listed below). 

CAS learner outcomes:

  1. Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
  2. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
  3. Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
  4. Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
  5. Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
  6. Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
  7. Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

For more details on the CAS program, contact Kinga Zay or Lee-Anne Black, Co-CAS coordinators.
Extended Essay

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a topic that culminates in a major research paper. Students choose their research topic from a wide variety of disciplines and are paired with a faculty mentor for guidance throughout the research and writing processes. A draft of the extended essay is completed during the junior year and then finalized during the senior year as part of the IB diploma requirements.  Essays that score well can add "bonus points" towards the IB diploma.

The extended essay represents a core philosophy of IB education- the balance between high academic standards and student engagement.  While the project is extensive, it is owned by the students since they select their own topics and faculty mentors.  Below is a list of recent extended essay titles:

"How does Jane Austen illustrate her thoughts on the ideal relationship between a man and a woman in her novel, Pride and Prejudice?"

"To what extent did the Cold War have its roots in the Grand Alliance of World War II?"

"In what ways did Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy influence the artists of Die Brucke?"

"How does gender affect the consolidation of memory during sleep in sixteen year-olds?"

For more info on the extended essay, contact Tim Waples, Extended Essay Coordinator.


Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a required course for all diploma candidates and often one of their favorites.  TOK is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge.  The task of TOK is to emphasize connections between areas of knowledge and link them to the knower in such a way that the knower can become aware of his or her own perspectives and those of the various groups whose knowledge he or she shares. TOK, therefore, explores both the personal and shared aspects of knowledge and investigates the relationships between them.

Core TOK questions include:

  • What do I know?
  • How do I know it?
  • What happens when different people know different things? 

In TOK, we use knowledge questions (e.g., how do we judge what is the best model of X?) and the knowledge framework to study shared and personal knowledge, ways of knowing (e.g., emotion or sense perception), and areas of knowledge (e.g., the natural sciences). Other IB classes will often connect to TOK, as the TOK approach to knowledge is key to an IB education.

For more info on TOK, contact Tim Waples, TOK instructor.