In my last post (August) I discussed seven differences between the current and the new course.

Here are some thoughts about another seven differences

 1. Fewer final pieces in the exhibition

Page 55 of the new guide says

Formal requirements of the task—SL  

  • SL students submit 4–7 artworks.

Formal requirements of the task—HL

  • HL students submit 8–11 artworks.

What does this mean? Well, in some ways the numbers reflect the weighting. The exhibition accounts for 40% of the whole rather than 60% in the old HLA/SLA. Still, if I am working either on up to 11 HL resolved works (rather than up to 18) or up to 7 SL resolved works (rather than up to 12), I think that generally speaking high quality artwork is definitely achievable. These numbers look good to me.


  1. Curatorial rationale

This is not the same as either the 300-word candidate statement or the 1000-word exhibition commentary. For a start, neither of these old course (but still current) documents receive marks, but the curatorial rationale contributes to the ‘curatorial practice‘ mark for the exhibition (potentially 3 marks with slightly different criteria between HL and SL)

The curatorial rationale requires SL and HL students to explain why specific artworks have been chosen and presented in a particular format. It provides students with an opportunity to explain any challenges, triumphs, innovations or issues that have impacted upon the selection and presentation of the artworks” (guide page 54)

SL maximum words 400, HL maximum words 700


  1. Exhibition text (500 characters maximum per artwork)

Some schools already encourage their students to put the title and a little write-up/explanation on display next to individual artworks in the final exhibition, but now it is required: each artwork should have an “exhibition text” with title, medium and size, and a brief outline of intentions, reference to any sources that have influenced the art etc

(see page 53 of the guide)


  1. Coherence” is one of the exhibition assessment criteria (Are we going back to the theme?)

The word coherence appears once in the current course assessment – in a bullet point in the 17 – 20 studio HLA criteria – but is now one of four exhibition assessment criteria (‘coherent body of works’ gets potentially 9 out of 30 marks)

One way to have this coherence is through a consistent theme or style. But sometimes coherence is a reflection of the student’s identity and approach.

The artworks might be disparate and not fit into any specific style but still have coherence. As an examiner, I’m a little concerned that some teachers will suggest to their students that coherence can be achieved through a collection of similar pieces. This may be true, but is a somewhat simplistic interpretation of coherence.


  1. Clear cut differences between HL and SL

In the current course, there is no real or obvious difference between what SL and HL students do and make: the main difference in practice is in assessment terms, with SL markbands being assessed in a generally more lenient way but with criteria very similar to HL criteria.

There is now a clear distinction between SL and at HL, with additional assessment requirements at HL.

  • The assessment tasks require HL students to reflect on how their own work has been influenced by exposure to other artists and for them to experiment in greater depth with additional art-making media, techniques and forms.
  • HL students are encouraged to produce a larger body of resolved works and to demonstrate a deeper consideration of how their resolved works communicate with a potential viewer.


6. There is no longer any defined “recommended time allocation” for the different components – this is a reflection of the holistic approach of the new course.


  1. Internal assessment of the Exhibition

The IA or EA option currently depends on registration – taking option B means that the teacher will assess studio, taking option A means that the teacher will assess investigation.

For the new course, the decision was made that teachers will make the primary assessment of the exhibition, subject, of course, to moderation.