Research Qualifications: Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) for IB - Operation Wallacea

Research Qualifications: Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) for IB

The CAS requirement is a fundamental part of the IB programme and takes seriously the importance of life outside the world of scholarship, providing a refreshing counterbalance to academic studies.  It is also closely linked to the EE (Extended Essays) and TOK (Theory of Knowledge) components of the Diploma Programme award.

Creativity: exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.

Action: Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

Service: Collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.

Students are expected to be involved in CAS activities on a weekly basis for the duration of their DP award.

How does it work?

Each school appoints a CAS supervisor who is responsible for providing a varied choice of experiences for students. Programmes are monitored by IB regional offices.

 A system of self-evaluation encourages students to reflect on the benefits of CAS participation to themselves and to others, and to evaluate the understanding and insights acquired. 

 CAS occupies the duration of their DP Award (18 months) and is a balance between Creativity, Action and Service.  It is not worth any points towards their IB but it MUST be completed.  CAS is moderated by IB but set-up by the school.

 Taking part in an Opwall expedition can be a great opportunity to contribute towards their CAS and there are some suggestions listed below:

 Opwall experiences which might be used with CAS:

 Learning outcomes:

  1. Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth.                                 Living and working in a challenging environment such as a rainforest requires various skills some of which come more naturally to some individuals than others.  Coping with an unfamiliar climate/environment.
  1. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
    Hiking to remote satellite camps, learning to dive (PADI open-water award), canopy access, putting up and sleeping in a hammock, scientific sampling in a challenging environment.
  2. Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
    Planning out their expedition e.g. travel, health and safety, new cultures, language, visiting a local school near their expedition site, working as a team to collect scientific data.
  1. Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences. Attendance at all of the activities during their 2-week expedition. Coping with the challenges of their environment e.g. high humidity, rainfall and extreme terrain hiking, attended ecology and marine lecture series.
  2. Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
    Travel plans, raising funds for their expedition.
  3. Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
    See first-hand possible evidence of climate change and how human activity causes the serious loss of biodiversity and how local communities are coping with these global challenges.
  4. Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
    They will encounter many ethical issues such as poverty, religion, sound scientific practice at all expedition sites e.g. sustainable fishing and hunting, eco-friendly tourism.

 The whole Opwall Expedition experience might also be suitable for the collaborative project as a series of CAS experiences.  This could take the form of a presentation to parents and the school on the return from their expedition or fund raising for the expedition.


  • Creativity
  • Action
  • Service

 Many of these strands are strongly represented in these experiences and in particular producing a report on their expedition for Creativity, physical activities when hiking, camping, diving and canopy access for Activity and the scientific research element in Service.

All seven 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.

Each student should also be involved in at least ONE collaborative experience lasting for 1 month (planning to completion).