How many Investigation Workbook pages should students produce?

Some examiners have recently expressed concern that some teachers are allowing their students to create a relatively small small number of investigation pages. In one case an HLA student completed only about 50 pages over the two years and chose half of this number to be assessed in the final examination.

Perhaps predictably, this student did not do very well.

As is so often the case, its a quality vs. quantity issue.

Obviously it serves very little purpose  if students just  produce a lot of mediocre pages; but they still need to  use the book – to investigate and compare art and artists, explore techniques, concepts, ideas etc.

Some teachers set a required number of pages at regular intervals – a typical amount is to aim about 20 x A4 pages in four weeks, or 10 x A3, because many students will benefit from having a set target, and, even if the quality is not great, at least they are producing something.

Once the book gets turned in, teachers  can start to explain what is going well and what is not going well, and it becomes much less hypothetical.

So…students could create 280 x A4 or 140 x A3 pages from the  start of the school year  and when preparing the CRB they select the best 30 or 40 pages (or whatever number is required according to their chosen level and option).

Its true that there are many ‘unselected’ pages – but I don’t think it would be possible for a student to create 30 or 40 really strong pages unless he/she has gone through a process that involved the creation of the 100 or so that do not get chosen.

There is obviously a big conceptual, intellectual and cognitive learning process that goes on in the book, in addition to and integrated with the learning through experimentation, painting, trial and error, experimenting, making mistakes, etc.

And of course some students really take to the workbook, and spend as much time on a single page as others might on a painting: the pages become mini-works of art in themselves.

These students may well be option B.

Cheers!

2 Comments
  • greg
    June 15, 2012

    Hi Andrew

    The use of the A3 book format really works well for my own students and many of those that I have examined. A final sample of 30 A3 pages is likely to be able to convey far more depth and detail than 30 A4 (unless of course the students just write and draw everything a lot larger to fill up the space!)

    cheers

    Greg

  • Eva Campbell
    June 16, 2012

    My first year students were “horrified” when the target of 20 A4 pages in four weeks was set last term! Some of them protested that they could produce the required 30 pages at the end for the exam. But when they got going many were able to keep up at 5 pages a week and out of those pages they created some good ones which may be used in the final submission. Quality over quantity – but quality can only be achieved by practicing a lot in the Investigation work book.

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