Creativity, Activity, Service
Students in 11th and 12th grade are required to participate in and document activities outside of class, either community service, athletics, or creative activities. The recommended amount of hours is 2-3 per week. For most students, their regular extracurricular activities and sports count for these hours and they do not need to add anything extra to their schedule to fulfill this requirement.
The component’s three strands, often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:
•Creativity exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance. This may include visual and performing arts, digital design, writing, film, culinary arts and crafts.
•Activity physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Pursuits may include individual and team sports, dance, outdoor recreation, fitness training, and any other form of physical exertion that purposefully contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
•Service collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need. Through Service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem solving, initiative, responsibility, and accountability for their actions.
Service experiences can be approached using the Service Learning model. Service Learning is the development and application of knowledge and skills towards meeting an identified community need. In this research-based approach, students undertake service initiatives often related to topics studied in the curriculum, utilizing skills, understanding and values developed in these studies. Service Learning builds upon students’ prior knowledge and background, enabling them to make links between their academic disciplines and their Service experiences.
CAS encourages students to be involved in local, national and international activities as individuals and as part of a team, enabling them to enhance their personal, interpersonal, social and civic development. It can be both challenging and a personal journey of self-discovery. CAS activities are usually real and purposeful with significant outcomes, extending the student while involving planning, reviewing progress, reporting and reflection on outcomes and personal learning.
CAS activities are seen in a broader context, bearing in mind the maxim “Think globally, act locally”. Working with people from different social or cultural backgrounds in the vicinity of the school can do as much to increase mutual understanding as large international projects.
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 all eight key learning outcomes.
Learning outcomes are differentiated from assessment objectives because they are not rated on a scale. The completion decision for the school in relation to each student is, simply, “Have these outcomes been achieved?” This focus on learning outcomes emphasizes that it is the activity’s contribution to the student’s development that is most important. The guideline for the minimum amount of CAS activity is 150 hours, with a reasonable balance between creativity, action and service.
As a result of their CAS experience as a whole, including reflections, there should be evidence that students have:
• Increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth - They are able to see themselves as individuals with various skills and abilities, and understand that they can make choices about how 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 is often in collaboration with others. It can be shown in activities that are part of larger projects, as well as in small student-led activities.
• Worked collaboratively with others - Collaboration can be shown in many different activities. At least one project, involving collaboration and the integration of at least two of creativity, action and service, is required.
• 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.
• Considered the ethical implications of their actions - Ethical decisions arise in almost any CAS activity, and evidence of thinking about ethical issues can be shown in various ways.
• 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.
CAS and ethical education
Because it involves real activities with significant outcomes, CAS pro- vides a major opportunity for ethical education, understood as involving principles, attitudes and behavior. The emphasis in CAS is on helping students to develop their own identities, in accordance with the ethical principles embodied in the IB mission statement and the IB learner profile. Various ethical issues will arise naturally, and may be experienced as challenges to a student’s ideas, instinctive responses or ways of behaving.
Theory of Knowledge
The theory of knowledge class teaches students about the nature of knowledge and builds skills in critical thinking. This course is taught over three semesters during the 11th and 12th grade years.
TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised or rejected. It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:
•Reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge
•Consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.
In addition, TOK prompts students to:
•Be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
•Recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.
TOK also provides coherence for the student, by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them. It therefore demonstrates the ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.
The Extended Essay
The Extended Essay is an independent research essay of approximately 4,000 words focused on one academic subject and written on an approved topic. Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor
The extended essay provides:
• Practical preparation for undergraduate research
• An opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, which is also related to one of the
student's six DP subjects.
Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:
• Formulating an appropriate research question
• Engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
• Communicating ideas
• Developing an argument.
Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.