I Know about Assessment…But What’s ‘Best Fit’?

Assessment At the time of writing this, I’m moderating some work uploaded for the IA (visual arts exhibition) component for the November examination session, which means spending a lot of time scrutinizing artworks on multiple large screen monitors and also scrutinizing the words of the visual arts assessment descriptors (which I probably know by heart by now). Sometimes I very quickly come to a decision about the most appropriate mark, but quite often I see a range of achievement in different ...

The Visual Arts Exhibition: Is Contemporary Art Penalized?

Conceptual Qualities? I was recently in conversation with the DP Visual Arts Chief Examiner, Subject Manager and Principal Examiner for Exhibition SL. The Subject Manager was interested in particular in our interpretation of the 'Conceptual Qualities' Exhibition criterion. A teacher had suggested that students who focused on styles and formats of contemporary art in their final art exhibition may not do as well as students who worked in more traditional forms (e.g. painting and drawing); in effect the suggestion was that contemporary art ...

PP Reminders: Pictures and Process

Two PP points! 1. Show me pictures (“visual evidence”) There must be visual as well as written/text documentation of process. It should be obvious - but of course just writing comments and explanations is not enough: is there visual evidence of what has been happening? Don’t just write about it; you must also show what has been considered, explored, etc. (Just saying that you did something is easy and lazy and open to question: how does the examiner know that you actually did ...

Life Drawing: Is Nudity a Problem?

Does your school offer life-drawing? By this I mean do you, as a visual arts student, have the opportunity to spend time drawing and/or painting a naked human being who is posing so that you can make these artworks while he/she stands (or sits etc) in front of you? This opportunity seems not to be offered in many schools. Would you like to have this opportunity? In a recent IB workshop that I facilitated, a teacher asked the question “is nudity a problem?” He was ...

The Art of Protest

'Raising awareness' Art can do many things, and recently – certainly since the 1980s – we’ve seen a lot of artists focus on one thing in particular: the art of protest (or ‘raising awareness’). With seemingly more and more things to protest about and the ever-growing reach and power of social media to inform etc, ‘art’ has become the go-to vehicle to express angst, anger, frustration etc. and to ‘raise awareness’. We are more familiar now with a whole range of ecological and ...

Its All about RELATIONSHIPS (Thematic or Stylistic) in Your Visual Arts Exhibition

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... I started teaching DP Visual Arts a little over thirty years ago, in Tanzania, in the 1980s (at ISM). At that time both the IB and ISM were relatively new – the IB started in 1968 and ISM started in 1969. I was entering a new stage in my life:  living in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, going on regular safaris into the Serengeti, learning about a new school, a new country, new ...

Become a Visual Arts Examiner!

Hi all, Like all May session Visual Arts teachers, a few weeks ago I uploaded a variety of files from my final year students - for assessment and moderation - to IBIS. If you teach IBDP Visual Arts, at some point you are going to do this: let go of your students’ work and offer it up to some distant and anonymous examiners and moderators, who will scrutinise the work, assess it (according to the descriptors for each of the three components) ...

‘My work looks like a child did it compared to all the other students in my class with experience’

This month my post is a reply to a heartfelt comment written by a student. As you may know, its possible to leave comments after a blog post, and on 1st April a student made a comment in response to a post titled 'EXHIBITION ISSUES (part 3)' from August 2016. The comment did not refer directly to issues discussed in this particular blog (the ‘theme’, the curatorial rationale, optional supporting photographs etc.) but he was clearly venting! I have included the whole comment at ...

7 Points from the Visual Arts Subject Report

The Visual Arts Subject Report for the last May session is in the shops now! (Not really – see the end of this post for how to get it.) This document is not a hypothetical aspirational document; it’s more of a reaction to and reflection on the things that you (teachers) uploaded for assessment. It’s a report and its based directly on the experiences of examiners, so it is valuable in a real and practical sense. It can be an interesting and revealing ...

Process Portfolio Questions from Students: Part 2

Last month I answered some questions that students had asked me about the Process Portfolio. I have had a few more questions since then, so here are answers to the most recent PP questions. MORE questions — and answers — about the Process Portfolio 1 'I like painting, so most of my intentions are just to create paintings, but my teacher says this intention is "not enough". Why not?' In terms of media, you cannot just focus on one medium/technique in the Process Portfolio. ...