Process Portfolio (PP) Questions

8 PP questions from new teachers

Here are some Process Portfolio questions I have been asked in recent visual arts workshops. I’m posting them here on the visual arts blog because I suspect that some teachers may also be wondering about some of the issues raised.

  1. I have a doubt and want to know if the single art teacher for Visual Arts must be perfect in all the skills mentioned in the art-making forms table. I am not technology savvy nor do we have many of the activities you mentioned in my school.

I don’t think you need to worry. Most teachers have experience of some of the art-making forms, but nobody has said they must be good in every skill listed in the art-making forms table – that is neither necessary nor expected. There is certainly no assumption that the single art teacher for IBDP Visual Arts must be perfect in all the skills mentioned in the table. And even if you were ‘perfect’ in all the skills, not many schools have resources to offer everything listed.

Ideally the teacher has some knowledge of three (or more) art-making forms (e.g. drawing, painting and ceramics). If teachers are not confident in any techniques, this might be seen as a professional development opportunity for teachers to take on the challenge of becoming more familiar with some techniques from the table. The IB are certainly NOT expecting schools or art teachers to have the resources/skills to cover every skill mentioned in the art-making forms table.

  1. Is the Process Portfolio the same as the Art Journal?

The journal is fundamental to the course and the work submitted for both the Process Portfolio and the Comparative Study will have its starting points in the journal – so no, the visual arts journal will contain more than the files finally taken for the process portfolio (the process portfolio may be extracted from the journal and from other sources showing process). Much if not all of the Process Portfolio will be taken from pages in the journal.

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

  1. I want to ask that process portfolio must have one theme or artworks can be made in different themes, and comparative study is totally separate component from portfolio and exhibition?”

The process portfolio is all about experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of visual arts activities, and should show technical accomplishment and an understanding of the use of materials, ideas and practices. A single theme is not required: this exploration can occur in a number of ways and reflect different themes.

And yes, in assessment terms, these components – the comparative study, the process portfolio and exhibition – are all separate. However, in teaching terms teachers are strongly encouraged to take a holistic approach.

  1. Is it true that HL students have to do some 3D work as part of their Process Portfolio?

No, it’s not true. 3D work is certainly the focus of one of the columns in the art-making table, but its not a required art-making form.

  1. I heard that the PP is primarily visual rather than written. Will the examiner understand how choices are made if it’s shown in photos rather than explained in writing?

It’s true that the examiner needs to see visual evidence of what the student says is happening – so yes, there needs to be a strong visual element – but some choices – about, for example, which forms and media/materials will be used – are critical to achievement/success.

So, I think the student really needs to state and clearly explain the choices using text as well as images. The student needs to justify the selection of forms and media and explain why these were the most appropriate choices in the context of their artistic intentions. Use words to make sure this is clear!

  1. Hi can students include ‘final resolved pieces’ within their pp?

Yes, providing it is clearly stated (e.g. ‘this artwork is in my final exhibition’) so that the examiner is aware.

  1. Students are expected to show expertise in the same processes in the exhibition that they explored in their Process Portfolio – right?

No. There is no process/technique/media requirement for work included in the exhibition.

  1. I understood that HL students have to do demonstrate exploring an art form from each of the three ‘art-making forms’ columns – is this correct?

No. See my answer to question 1. The visual arts guide (page 47) says:

Formal requirements of the task—SL

SL students submit 9–18 screens which evidence their sustained experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of art-making activities. For SL students the submitted work must be in at least two art-making forms, each from separate columns of the art-making forms table.

Formal requirements of the task—HL

HL students submit 13–25 screens which evidence their sustained experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of art-making activities. For HL students the submitted work must have been created in at least three art-making forms, selected from a minimum of two columns of the art-making forms table.


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