Digital Portfolios in creativity, activity, service (CAS) pilot

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The International Baccalaureate (IB) is piloting Digital Portfolios in CAS as part of the 16+ Review, an initiative to create a future-fit education for students aged 16- to 19 years-old.

This multi-year pilot sees the IB collaborating with 32 schools to explore how Digital Portfolios can provide a more holistic view of the learning outcomes of the creativity, activity, service (CAS) component.

Enhancing the CAS component

The IB strives to provide the best learning experiences that allow students to flourish and make positive contributions as global citizens. In the past, teachers and students have expressed concerns that the current approach to CAS is unwieldy and inauthentic, resulting in feeling as if they are “ticking boxes”. 

The Digital Portfolio pilot, launched within the DP in August 2022 aims to gain insight into how best to innovate and improve CAS, to give students and teachers greater autonomy to face the complex global issues of the future.

In the new pilot, students will create streamlined digital portfolios, including a showcase element designed to be more flexible around the assessment themes.

Some of the schools taking part in the pilot are focusing on competencies such as:

  • Self-awareness
  • Collaboration
  • Understanding different perspectives

Other schools are centring CAS around well-being—asking students to link their experiences to physical or mental health.

Innovation through collaboration

Teacher and student feedback is vital for developing the pilot and CAS, even beyond the Digital Portfolios being created. The IB began gathering teacher and coordinator feedback throughout January 2023. While the pilot is in its early days, we have already seen an improvement in how students engage and reflect on CAS:

“I can honestly say in my 18 years experience as a CAS advisor/ CAS coordinator, I have never seen the students this engaged. These changes have meant the majority of students are actually connecting/relating to the program and reflecting thoughtfully on what they are doing and why, rather than checking boxes,” CAS coordinator, International School of Brussels.

A second round of teacher feedback will take place next year alongside a sampling of students' portfolios and student feedback, which will help the IB understand how to use digital portfolios to establish clear parameters for student assessment, so we can continue to provide the best possible support for learners.

Promising future developments

The pilot is already providing new and exciting insights into how Digital Portfolios can be used to improve students' experiences with CAS. We look forward to sharing new progress as the trial continues over the next year.