It’s March – are you ready for the Visual Arts uploads?

For many of us, this will be the 2nd time we upload files for the ‘new’ visual arts course.

Hopefully you learned from your experiences last March/April!

Here are some reminders



The deadlines occur in April, every 10 days, starting on

April 10 (predicted grades and exhibition marks). Then

April 20 (Exhibition, multiple files)

April 30 (Comparative Study and Process Portfolio)

(see illustration, screenshot from the Handbook of Procedures for 2017 for visual arts on the OCC)

If you are not familiar with the process I strongly encourage you NOT to leave your file uploads to the last minute.

I aim to upload around 10 days BEFORE each due date. My students are having their exhibitions at the end of March.


Last year, I found the process smooth and simple.

In fact I posted a blog in May 2016 “So how was it for you darling?”


My main issues were with how the instructions were presented. There were different guidance documents in different parts of the OCC, so if teachers don’t get information from their DP Coordinator it’s not always easy working out what you should be doing and/or when you should be doing it

I wrote

“Perhaps in addition to sending the information to DP Coordinators, the IB should create a dedicated space on the OCC with a clear and simple set of upload instructions?”



By 10 April/10 October you or your coordinator should have


  • Submitted the predicted grades on the predicted grade screen on IBIS. To grade the candidates’ work you must refer to the grade descriptors (see below).
  • Entered the candidate’s total mark, out of 30, on the internal assessment (IA) marks screen. You or your coordinator need to choose the “Select the sample” option in order for IBIS to generate the sample required for moderation.

Grade Descriptors

As it is possible that extra samples of candidate work are requested for moderation, store the e-portfolios documenting the exhibitions for all students so that if any further material needs to be submitted, this is immediately available.


When submitting the requested sample of work in the e-Coursework section, also enter the following additional information about the portfolio.


  • A short statement that refers to the relevant assessment descriptors and supports your mark
  • The breakdown of marks awarded for each criterion

Remember, you won’t see the area to upload the exhibition sample until predicted grades and internal assessment marks are entered. You or your DP Coordinator submits these and generates the sample list.


Remember – the criteria have changed!


The DP visual arts curriculum manager, Dr. Joel Adams, has announced that the DP visual arts course guide has been updated for first use from May 2017 onwards.  The updated guide includes clarification and guidance for candidate submissions, criteria application and best practices to ensure academic honesty. While there are a number of significant improvements to the guide, the nature of the course and assessment tasks have not altered.  Assessment work that has already been completed will not need to be revised as a result of these changes. Teachers are encouraged to visit the OCC visual arts page as well as the OCC visual arts forum for additional information, further clarification documents, new student samples and the updated guide.

I previously blogged about this, see the OCC for more details.

Assess the digital files: your IA should consider and refer to the same evidence as available to the moderator.

You should therefore always refer to the digital, on-screen version of the submitted work when marking the exhibition.




This can seem a little complex, especially for first-timers, but the fabulous Jayson Paterson (one of the two Visual Arts OCC Facilitators) has uploaded a guide: (click on the link)

Uploading the Exhibition component



The 6/VAPPF can be replaced by the VACAF I previously blogged about this.

Also see the OCC.

For assessment from May 2018 onwards, only the VACAF will be accepted.

From May 2019 the completion of a “CAF” will be mandatory for all DP arts subjects (so a version of the CAF will be used for ALL DP Arts subjects, not just visual arts, and all teachers of DP arts subjects must use the CAF with cohorts from September 2017).


From May 2019, this form must be submitted for every arts candidate, not just those candidates whose work comprises the sample for internal assessment.




Grade descriptors consist of characteristics of performance at each grade.

The descriptors apply to groups of subjects but substantial similarity exists across sets of group grade descriptors.

Senior examiners use these grade descriptors when determining grade boundaries for examination papers and coursework components.

For each grade, qualities of a typical performance are given.

However, the work of few candidates will be consistently characterised by a single grade descriptor, most work will display some of the characteristics of more than one grade.

Senior examiners therefore review the work of many candidates to determine a grade boundary – the lowest mark at which characteristics of a grade are consistently shown in candidate work – allowing for some compensation across the different aspects.

The grade descriptors are intended to help teachers explain the academic requirements of the IB diploma programme to students, undertake formative assessment, report progress and prepare predicted grades.



“The predicted grade is the teacher’s prediction of the grade the candidate is expected to achieve in the subject, based on all the evidence of the candidate’s work and the teacher’s knowledge of IB standards.

Predicted grades are also required for theory of knowledge and the extended essay.

It is important that each prediction is made as accurately as possible, without under-predicting or over-predicting the grade.

The IB takes measures to work with schools that consistently under- or over-predict student grades”.



“IB assessments are comprised of a number of components.

Each of these components is assigned a number value and weight.

After these points are aggregated to total scores they are divided along the IB one to seven point marking scheme. These ranges are known as grade boundaries.

Great care is taken to ensure grading reliability in determining grade boundaries through the application of consistent standards supported by statistical background data.

Grade standards are documented and exemplified, and judgments made about grade boundaries are checked by a number of statistical indicators.

The setting of grade boundaries is an extended matter requiring considerable deliberation and the reconciling of information from different sources: the experienced judgment of senior examiners, statistical comparisons and the expectations of experienced teachers.

The principal means of setting judgmentally determined grade boundaries is by a review of the quality of candidate work against grade descriptors.

Grade descriptors are generic descriptions of the standard of work expected of each candidate for a given grade.

Descriptors are also intended to give some guidance to classroom teachers on how to prepare their students and how to make candidate grade predictions.

The grade boundaries for the points that have the greatest impact on candidates’ progression into higher education (ie four, seven and three) are determined judgmentally in that order.

Thus, the boundaries for a “four” are determined, then a “seven”, then a “three”.

The remaining boundaries are determined arithmetically by interpolation from these judgmentally set boundaries”.



  • S
    March 8, 2017

    Hi Andrew,
    Just a quick question on the VACAF— the students’ names are on the second page of the document, so there is no need to anonymize the comments we include on our meetings, correct?

    • Andrew Vaughan
      March 11, 2017

      Yes, the teacher puts his/her name, the name of the student and the name and code of the school on the VACAF, so anonymity is not really an option (although I still tend to use the term the IB uses – “the candidate outlined ideas” etc)


      • S
        March 11, 2017

        Thanks Andrew!
        I’ve used their names. I wonder if I should change it to “the candidate”?

      • Andrew Vaughan
        March 12, 2017

        I don’t think it matters, but if you want ‘official’ guidance why not ask your DP Coordinator to check with the DP Visual Arts team or ask IB Answers



  • Tom Stanley
    March 13, 2017

    I have 2 IB questions.

    We do the internal assessment for part three, the exhibition. We must fill in the marker bands and get a total number. We must also make a predicted grade.

    Question 1. Is the predicted grade we give holistic and based on part 1, 2 and 3, or just on part 3?

    I have some students very weak in art, but brilliantly did part 1 and 2.

    Question 2: Years a go someone made a colorful chart which made it easy to total up the numbers and find the predicted grade very easily. Do you have something like that?



    • Andrew Vaughan
      March 14, 2017

      Hi Tom
      1. The predicted grade is the teacher’s prediction of the grade the candidate is expected to achieve in the subject – that is the final overall grade encompassing achievement in all components.

      2. I’m afraid I don’t have anything like the colourful chart that you describe, but try out the “DP Visual Arts Marks Calculator”. Its an excel spread sheet file in the OCC Teacher Resource Exchange section (currently page 3 of this section).

      Thanks and best wishes,


      • Tom Stanley
        January 30, 2018

        “DP Visual Arts Marks Calculator”

        I cannot find this anywhere. Please email me a link. Thanks

      • Andrew Vaughan
        January 30, 2018

        Hi Tom,
        Thanks for posting, but it was available in the Teacher Resource Exchange section of the OCC – and alas the OCC no longer exists. It closed for business in December.

        There is currently no equivalent in “MY IB”.


  • Rachel Kirby
    July 20, 2017

    Hi Andrew,
    I was bitterly disappointed with the moderation of my exhibition samples this year – it seemed extremely harsh and a couple of my students marks were reduced by as much as 8 marks, which of course means that all my students marks were reduced. Last year my marking was spot on and unchanged. I’m wondering if it is worth applying for a ‘re-moderation’ of the samples…. is there such a thing? And is it expensive?

    • Andrew Vaughan
      July 21, 2017

      Hi Rachel,
      I’m very sorry to hear about your disappointing IA results.

      Yes, there is such a thing as re-moderation.

      I’m not sure what the cost is, but your DP Coordinator will be able to provide you with details of the ‘enquiry upon results’ (as it’s called) options and costs.

      There are different EUR categories, but for IA my understanding is that the school request an EUR category 3: this the re-moderation of internal assessment sample work, which may include the completion of an IA feedback form. Be aware that the re-marked results may go down as well as up.

      I suggest that you discuss this with your Coordinator?

      Best wishes,


      • Rachel Kirby
        July 27, 2017

        Thanks so much for the info – our Coordinator is swamped with student emails at the moment so it’s much appreciated!

  • Ana Ines Carvalho
    November 12, 2019

    Hi Andrew,

    The first year of DP, do we have to submit any document or students work?


    • Andrew Vaughan
      November 13, 2019

      Hi Ana,
      No, you don’t normally have to submit any documentation or student work during the first year (unless you are trying to complete the course in a year, which is not advised),

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