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International Baccalaureate Program Redefines CAS Hours

Junior Kirsten Erickson gets CAS hours for her pilgrimage to Poland. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Erickson

Photo by Morgan Plunkett

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program redefined the requirements for Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) hours this year. Previously, there were 150 mandatory hours over an 18 month period to create original ideas, explore physical activity for health and give back to the community. However, the system was altered for 2017 graduates and going forward to not set a number of hours, but instead a weekly agenda for planning and tracking personal goals in each category.

The change occurred after the IB program did a series of studies and interviewed students who felt that completing the extra 150 hours was a burden to their work. Results from surveys and studies led to a “CAS Portfolio of Experiences,” where rather than mandatory “hours,” as omitted from the name, involvement is regulated weekly through online blogs.

“This means I am a lot more involved in their hours,” CAS coordinator Monique Goodeyon said. “Onus is on me because now I have to go in lethally and make sure they are working on it and make a subjective overall check on each student.”

In years past, it was a rule that all hours must be completed outside of school related activities in order to force students to broaden their horizons, try new activities and reach a new set of resources.

Now, instead, IB students are to accomplish one task for CAS every week, or at least be in the planning process. This could include how they will reach a personal goal of running a 5K or how to raise enough money for a certain charity group over the course of a month. School sports are also now included as a physical activity, which was not counted in past years.

Many students see this as a great advantage to be less of a time-suck and more willingly accomplished, especially oncoming IB students, however, some would disagree.

“It’s good that IB recognizes that those students set high goals, but I feel like they should make some overall requirement to work towards because having that suits me better,” sophomore interested in joining IB, Dane Erickson, said.

Kids interested in IB will have the advantage of walking into the pre-established system having had the kinks worked out, but it still leaves a few particular students wondering whether or not it pushes a concrete goal for IB.


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