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) and award marks.

If you are on track, in July your grade predictions will prove to be accurate and your IA marks will be more or less the same as the moderators’.

But hold on: WHO ARE these ‘distant and anonymous’ examiners?

Are they mere mortals? Are they teachers? Are they ART teachers?

Are they human, made of flesh and blood, like you and I?

What gives them the right to sit there in judgement?

Here are some questions I have been asked by art teachers at teacher training workshops:

“Can I become an examiner?!”

Well yes they are human and yes – if you successfully go through with examiner training and qualification process – you too can wear with pride the IBDP silver star issued to all IB approved examiners!


If you want to be an examiner go here: Become an IB examiner


When it suits you. You can apply whenever you like, whenever is convenient for you.

The IB accept applications for all programmes, throughout the year.

 “I heard that I needed to have been teaching DP visual arts for five years before I can apply – is that true?”

No, that’s not true. In fact, the IB say that you do not need to have previously worked as an IB teacher, but you should have had experience “teaching a subject at the appropriate level and to the specified age group.”

 “Will I have to clear it with my Head of School?”

Probably. You should in any case (before you apply) check and comply with any policy that your employer might have regarding extra work of this nature. It’s a good idea to discuss your proposed application with your employer. Since it will inevitably deepen and improve your understanding of the visual arts assessment process, I think that most Heads would be pleased with and support this initiative!

“Can I get teacher credits as an examiner?”

Yes. The IB say “Working as an examiner for the IB can also help develop your role as a teacher, as IB examiners are able to apply for US teacher credits”.

 “Do I get to see work from all three components?”

No. Visual Arts examiners mark externally-assessed work (Comparative Study or Process Portfolio) or moderate internally-assessed components (the Exhibition, reviewing teachers’ original marking) but you will have to choose which individual component you would like to “specialize” in.

Candidates’ work is assessed against prescribed and well-defined criteria or mark schemes.

“Is it enjoyable?”

Speaking personally yes, but I think examining and moderating Visual Arts is a different kind of proposition when compared to, say, reading 100 history essays or marking 100 math calculations (etc). It can be quite challenging and sometimes provocative. It’s always interesting.

It’s also great professional development. The IB say “Acting as an IB examiner provides an international educational experience, encompassing unique professional development opportunities and an insight into the assessment process.”

“What will I have to do after I apply?”

You’ll have to demonstrate that you can mark accurately. Since assessment is now entirely online, it makes sense that examiner training and qualification is also all online, so you will be directed to a site where you will find some pre-marked “practice” samples to review as well as sections containing samples that you will have to mark. You should familiarise yourself with important visual arts documents, e.g. the assessment clarification documents and relevant sections (e.g. assessment, the ‘best-fit’ approach etc) of the Visual Arts guide.

Go for it!


Star??  (sorry, you don’t really get a silver examiner star!)