“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 ...

WHAT IS THE EXAMINER LOOKING FOR? (Relating to the 2015 visual arts upload for the current/’old’ course)

For many of us, this is more or less the last time that we will be thinking about “studio work” and the “investigation workbook” – certainly in those terms – because in a few weeks the visual arts course that started in 2009 will be just a fading memory. Personally speaking, as a course I felt it was far from perfect, but over the years I think most of us got used to it. One major flaw that frequently exasperated teachers in ...

It’s Barbie – but is it ART?

Seems like every examination session quite a few students feel that putting one or more Barbies in their DP Visual Arts final exhibition would be a good idea, and this examination is no exception. In my experience its usually female students who do this and invariably it’s all about the pressure that society puts on women to conform to a body stereotype. It’s certainly true that in various parts of the world people are more or less constantly bombarded by media ...

REFLECTION TIME FOR SOME, THE END FOR OTHERS

Hi students! FINAL YEAR? If you are in the 2nd year of your IBDP visual arts course, and in a school in the northern hemisphere, for you it’s just about over. The deadline for the final digital upload is April 10th (October 10th for southern hemisphere schools) so by now your teacher should have digital files of all your selected studio work and workbook pages saved somewhere safe – possible already uploaded to IBIS. Maybe you have already had your exhibition – if ...

CONFIDENCE? I get marks for my confidence???

Well, as you may know, CONFIDENCE is included in one of the Studio assessment descriptors. Yes – in addition to everything else, the examiner wants you to be confident. “Since when did my personality affect my grade?” I admit, its sometimes strikes me as a little odd that the people who designed the visual arts assessment descriptors for this course back in 2008  felt not only that your confidence was an assessable item, but that it should contribute towards  your final mark. Actually it’s ...

VISUAL ARTS GRADE AWARD JUNE 2013 part 1

Together with a group of other senior examiners, the chief examiner, the Subject Manager and various other IBDP important assessment people, I have just spent a week in sunny Cardiff, the lively capital city of Wales and home of the IBDP Assessment Centre. It was a busy, interesting, challenging and very productive week. Prior to arrival I wondered how the new digital upload process and the new ‘teacher interview’ process would affect things, but was pleasantly surprised to find everything very much ...

The start of the new school year looms…

For many of us, the start of the new school year looms, and one of the many questions art teachers might ask is how to stimulate and excite those new art students as they launch into their two year Diploma visual arts programme. There are, of course a variety of answers, and to a large extent they might depend on whether the students have ever held a paintbrush or written anything about art before. My school has no entry level pre-requisites, ...

Making Stuff (the joy of work)

Making stuff is what happens in art class (and, of course, in a few other classes - design technology, for example). For many art students, making stuff is the focus and the primary reason for taking art. They may get into other course components  - the investigation, research, planning, reflection etc - because they have to. But they get into making stuff because they want to. Of course, if they are taking IBDP visual arts they are, by default, making art - ...

My trauma generated a 7

It's a theatrical given that harrowing experiences, involving pain and despair, often lead to stirring, intense - and wonderfully powerful - drama. Just look at all those Russians. But is the same true of IBDP Visual Arts? Well, sometimes, yes. I'm not talking about some superficial teenage moodiness, self-involvement with temporary angst and casual nihilism, mood swings and having a bad hair day histrionics; I am talking about creative and often powerful responses to when things go wrong. I've been interviewing final year art ...