CAS Advisors Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions


How to I add a question to this page?

If you are a member of the IB Boosters Board, you already have the right to the edit this page. If not, please send your question (and answer, if you know it) to dbmccrohan@gmail.com.

How do I contact other CAS advisors?

For privacy reasons, we do not post the names and email addresses of the CAS advisors on this site. To obtain the list, please email
Dennis McCrohan (dbmccrohan@gmail.com).

What are the roles involved in CAS?


In CAS there are 4 roles to play:
  1. IB Student.
  2. IB Coordinator - this is Amy or Chris.
  3. Activity Supervisor - this is the person (selected by the student) who actually oversees the student's activity. For example, if a student participates on an athletic team as a CAS activity, the supervisor will usually be the coach.
  4. CAS Adviser - this is your role.

What are the stages involved in a CAS activity?


Generally, a CAS activity will move through the following stages:
  1. The student enters a description of the proposed activity and selects appropriate learning outcomes.
  2. The CAS Adviser reviews the description, and either approves the proposed activity or sends a note back to the student suggesting changes or improvements. If for some reason the CAS Adviser feels that they would never be able to approve the activity (for example, it violates the prohibition on religious activity), they should contact the IB Coordinator.
  3. Once approved, the student engages in the activity.
  4. At the end of the activity, the student asks the Activity Supervisor to submit a brief review of their performance.
  5. Generally students should enter at least one written reflection on the activity (in some cases it may be appropriate to substitute photographs or video). The student may also upload evidence (usually photographs) to Managebac.

CAS Activities


Can CAS activities be entered in the past-tense?

Tehcnically, when a student first enters the description of an activity in Managebac, it should be in form of a proposal which you as adviser can approve/disapprove. In practice, students are sometimes entering activities that they have already begun, and writing in the past-tense. For now we are allowing this.

Can a student list a parent as a CAS supervisor?

Yes, but the practice is discouraged. If the student lists some who is obviously a relative as the supervisor for their activity, add a note to the message board asking them to see if they can locate a supervisor who is not a parent/relative. This may not be possible in all cases, but we should at least ask them to make the attempt. If they do use a relative as a supervisor, ask them to be meticulous in collecting evidence and uploading it to Managebac.

Can a student list another student as a CAS supervisor?

Only with the permission of one of the IB Coordinators. This is normally only done for some recognized student organizations, e.g. ASB.

Is there a minimum amount that the student should write for a proposal?

Yes. When entering the description of a new activity, we expect students to enter at least one well-written paragraph. The paragraph should describe the activity (again, preferably in the form of a proposal), and should be goal-oriented. When students first enter an activity, they will select from a list of "learning outcomes". I usually ask them to address each learning outcome in their proposal, and to explain how they think the activity will lead to the given outcome. This tends to discourage them from checking learning outcomes from the list that don't really have anything to do with their activity.

How many learning outcomes can a student select for one activity?


They need to select at least one, and no more than 4. If they list more than 4, send them a note asking them to select 4.

Can a student be paid for a CAS activity?

Absolutely not. All CAS activities must be voluntary.

Can a student use an in-school activity for CAS?

Yes, but it can not be part of a required IB class. A CAS activity can be something done for a non-IB class - if it is a major project and goes beyond the minimum requirements for the class. Examples of in-school CAS activities that students have used are:
  • solo ensemble (band)
  • marching band (because of the evening practices and Friday night games)
  • participation in the musical (drama)
  • robotics competition (robotics class)
  • school newspaper
  • participation on an school sports team

Can a student use time spent setting up chairs for a PTA meeting as a CAS service activity?

Not unless the student does it as part or an activity where they have larger responsibilities. It is essential that service activities have learning benefits for the student. For example, a student could count as a CAS service activity time spent setting up chairs if this was ancillary to a larger role of planning a meeting and supervising other students in preparing for the meeting.

Can a student use participation on a school sports team as a CAS action activity?

Yes. When students do this I usually ask them to include several personal and team goals, and to track their progress in obtaining those goals for their reflection.

Can a student engage in religious activity as part of CAS?

The IB says "..the general rule is that religious devotion, and any activity that can be interpreted as proselytizing, does not count as CAS... Some relevant guiding principles are that CAS activities should enlarge students’ experience, encourage them towards greater understanding of people from different social or cultural backgrounds and include specific goals. By these criteria, work done by a religious group in the wider community, provided that the objectives are clearly secular, may qualify as CAS. Another key issue is whether students are able to make choices and use their initiative."

When in doubt, contact Amy/Chris at ihsib@nsg.org.

What is the difference between a CAS Project and a CAS Activity?

A CAS project is a type of CAS activity. All students must complete at least one CAS project. The students will mark the CAS activity as a project in Managebac. To be acceptable as a CAS project, the activity must:
  1. Involve two out of the three domains of creativity, action, and service.
  2. Involve collaboration with others.
  3. Touch in some way on an issue of global importance.

How do I "Unapprove" a CAS Activity?


If you have accidentally checked the approved checkbox for an activity, simply click on the checkbox again and the checkmark for approved will be removed. The same is true for the Completed checkbox.

CAS Reflections


How many reflections should a student do?

They students should write at least one reflection on each CAS activity.

Is there a minimum amount that a student needs to write for a reflection?

Yes. As with the proposal, we expect at least one well-written paragraph. This may suffice for activities that are small/short in scope. Larger/longer activities should have longer reflections.The reflection should address how well they did or did not achieve their learning goals. If a student is struggling with what to write for their reflection, ask them the following leading questions:
  • What did you learn from it?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What would you change about how you went about it?

Can a student write too many reflections?


Very few students have this problem, but yes, writing more than 2 or 3 reflections for one activity is probably excessive. Students who do this should be gently reminded that Managebac is not a diary.

CAS Completion


When should a CAS Activity be marked complete?

A CAS activity should be marked completed by the CAS advisor after receiving notification from the student (via email or Managebac note) that they have completed all work for the activity. At that point the advisor should review the studen's reflection(s) and check for either a supervisor review or evidence of completion (e.g photographs) entered into the system. If it all looks acceptable, the advisor should check the completed box for that activity.

Can anyone other than a CAS Advisor mark an activity complete?

Yes. This is unfortunate but Managebac allows any user with a login into the system to mark an activity as complete. In the past we have found that the activity supervisors sometimes do this. If you see evidence of this, please send them a polite email asked them not to do this - under our protocol, only the CAS advisor should be marking an activity as complete.

Is there a way to tell who has update a student's CAS Activity?

Yes. Go to the worksheet page for the activity, and hover your mouse over the words "Activity History". Popup text should appear showing who and when the activity was modified.

Why are certain learning outcomes still shown as planned when a student has completed all CAS activities?

On each student's worksheet page you will see progress bars for all the learning outcomes. The bars are yellow when a student first enters their CAS activities, and change to green as they complete CAS activities. Once a student has completed CAS, they should all be entirely green. If they are not, it is because a student had picked a learning outcome for an activity, but then did not mark their reflection(s) as addressing that learning outcome (on the page where a student enters a reflection their are checkboxes for each of the learning outcomes.