The CAS stages represent a process and sequence that can assist students in many aspects of their life. They follow a process whereby they investigate an interest that often raises questions and curiosity, prepare by learning more, take some form of action, reflect on what they have done along the way, and demonstrate their understandings and the process. By applying these stages to CAS, students have a reliable yet flexible structure they can then apply to future situations with confidence.
The five CAS stages are as follows.
- Investigation: Students identify their interests, skills and talents to be used in considering opportunities for CAS experiences, as well as areas for personal growth and development. Students investigate what they want to do and determine the purpose for their CAS experience. In the case of service, students identify a need they want to address.
- Preparation: Students clarify roles and responsibilities, develop a plan of actions to be taken, identify specified resources and timelines, and acquire any skills as needed to engage in the CAS experience.
- Action: Students implement their idea or plan. This often requires decision-making and problem solving. Students may work individually, with partners, or in groups.
- Reflection: Students describe what happened, express feelings, generate ideas, and raise questions. Reflection can occur at any time during CAS to further understanding, to assist with revising plans, to learn from the experience, and to make explicit connections between their growth, accomplishments, and the learning outcomes for personal awareness. Reflection may lead to new action.
- Demonstration: Students make explicit what and how they learned and what they have accomplished, for example, by sharing their CAS experience through their CAS portfolio or with others in an informal or formal manner. Through demonstration and communication, students solidify their understanding and evoke response from others.
The CAS stages provide a framework that enables students to:
- increase self-awareness
- learn about learning
- explore new and unfamiliar challenges
- employ different learning styles
- develop their ability to communicate and collaborate with others
- experience and recognize personal development
- develop attributes of the IB learner profile.