Six of the Best (comparative study issues and advice)

It’s September, so some of you will be just starting the bright and shiny adventure that is IBDP visual arts, while others will be returning for your final year. So (unless you have already completed it) part of the visual arts coursework that you will be/are engaged in is the Comparative Study. Examiners have now seen work uploaded for three examination sessions (May 2016 and 2017, and November 2016), and some issues and patterns are beginning to emerge. This blog is not intended ...

INTERNAL ASSESSMENT: THE CURSE OF OPTIMISM

THE CURSE OF OPTIMISM   Of course, I'm not against optimism.  And just to show what a positive blog this is I'm kicking off with a couple of happy songs, courtesy of YouTube ("Happy" and "Happy Talk"). Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwIddYGse9g But to be honest, this blog is not so much the curse of optimism as the curse of optimistic marking.   November IA “November schools” (mostly schools in the Southern Hemisphere) have been uploading their files and marks for the November session. Unless you only have five students, the ...

Visual Arts Exhibition Issues

I’ve seen a good few visual arts exhibition uploads since April 21st and I’m pleased to say I have seen some wonderful work. It’s one of the best parts of the job and the teachers and students who upload such great work should be congratulated. Their work is frequently sensational. In fact during the Grade Award face-to-face meetings in the IB Assessment Centre in Cardiff, visual arts senior examiners can often be found sitting in a room filled with screens and ...

Everything you wanted to know about your PP and your VAJ (but were afraid to ask)

One issue seems to puzzle some students: What is the relationship between the Process Portfolio and the Visual Arts Journal (henceforth referred to respectively as the PP and the VAJ)? Some students feel the VAJ has little importance because they see that the PP gets 40% of the marks and the VAJ does not appear to be assessed at all (in the sense that there is no VAJ assessment component) …Hence the feeling that the PP is essentially the same as the VAJ ...

From Clouds to Desire (“Thematic Relationships” in your visual arts exhibition)

As I’m sure you are well aware, (if you are a 2nd year DP visual arts student) April is UPLOAD month. There are 3 separate deadline dates. The exhibition files upload deadline is April 20. I hope all goes smoothly. My students have already had their final year exhibitions and of course we are hoping that they all do well! We had many discussions about their exhibitions, strengths and weaknesses, and of course the assessment criteria. All of the students explored a number ...

Top Ten Visual Arts Tips (and Reminders) for Students!

OK, students, here are the Visual Arts Top Ten Tips for exam success. Its February and next month – or at the latest the following month - is upload time. I have provided tips for each of your three assessment components. Read, respond and relax! THE COMPARATIVE STUDY (20%) 1 CULTURAL CONTRAST Your selected artworks must come from more than one cultural context. They may be from a similar time frame or cultural tradition, provided that there is depth to the consideration of how each ...

“The IB do not value or even recognize effort!” Commitment, effort, motivation, passion – what’s the point?

Last month I wrote about some teacher reactions to the grades their students achieved. (At the end of every examination session, some teachers express concern about the results). One complaint that I hear from teachers who are disappointed in the mark relates to how committed the student was, how hard he/she worked and how much time he/she put in. “My student was thoroughly engaged but the IB do not value or even recognize their effort! There is no correlation between the work they ...

The NEW visual arts course

  In my last blog I made some mention of the new DP visual arts course and suggested the 'top 4' differences between the current and the new course, but it’s probably about time to start talking about it in a bit more detail. Hopefully quite a few of you will already have participated in a workshop, either online or face-to-face. IB Diploma Programme subjects usually have a seven year lifespan. The current visual arts course (started in 2009) still obviously has ...

“I really wanted my artwork to be original…” (btw…NOTHING is original)

As a visual arts examiner, I regularly see the results of student attempts at originality and I have to tell you, it’s not pretty. And it’s not even original. Quite often it’s the opposite of original, it’s a cliché. If it was being presented as a Post Modern, ironic look at clichés and stereotypes, that might be OK – sort of – but in almost all cases I’m looking at a genuinely predictable, obvious image. I’ve seen it many times before. ...

CONCEPTUAL QUALITIES (and experimentation, cliché, objet trouvé & the senses)

Conceptual art can be stimulating, provocative and even fun, so it’s no surprise that DP visual arts students occasionally upload files for their final assessment  that have an emphasis on idea and concept rather than, say, technical skill. They are often in the form of a found object – a feather, a glove, a light-bulb, a chess piece, rubbish, a clock, a computer circuit board, dead flowers - not forgetting, of course, Barbie (etc.) They all represent something and - given the ...