three components negIn my last post, I wrote about the similarities between the old/current visual arts course and the new one starting any day now.

You can find the post here.


However, there are also significant differences, so here I will discuss some of these. I have listed my first seven here.

Some are obvious but others may not be.

I am lining up another set of differences between the current and the new course for a future blog post. Stay tuned!




  1. There will be three components instead of two:
  • Comparative Study
  • Process Portfolio
  • Exhibition


 2. Weightings change: PROCESS & EXHIBITION (= 80%)

Students now get up to 80% of their marks with art-planning, art exploration and art making (40% process portfolio and 40% exhibition). The largest chunk of process portfolio marks goes on “skills, techniques and processes” and almost all the marks for the exhibition (27 out of 30) go on having a coherent body of works, demonstrating technical competence and showing conceptual qualities.

There are other criteria, of course, including critical investigation, review, refinement and reflection etc, but the Process Portfolio certainly has the potential to be a lot more about experimentation and exploration of media and techniques than the investigation workbook ever was.


**The image shows how the three components relate in terms of their weighting


  1. No more ‘integration’.

These three components will be assessed separately. Currently students can earn ‘integration’ marks for the depth of “relationship between investigation and studio”. However, splitting up assessment for the new course was a ‘given’ from the outset: the curriculum review team had to work within set parameters in developing the new guide, and separate assessment for each of the components was one of these parameters. So the ‘exhibition’ examiner will not see the files submitted for either the comparative study or the process portfolio.


  1. No more interview!

Well, of course the interview had its supporters and has a long history as part of the final visual arts assessment process, although it never generated any marks. The alternative 1000 word commentary now represents a viable alternative. Either way, that was then and this is now: no need to worry about recording interviews for the new course.


  1. No more option B!

Personally I was a fan of this option, and most of my investigation workbook minded students took this option – and many achieved 6s and 7s.

But it’s gone. The only decision now is whether to take the course at Higher Level or Standard Level.


  1. New emphasis on PROCESS

For the course with first examinations 2009 there is/was some reference to process in the studio component (“shows development of ideas and strategies for expression, displays sensitivity to materials and their use, the work has been reviewed and modified as it has progressed, resulting in an increasingly informed resolution of ideas and medium” etc).

But in the new 2014 course the Process Portfolio gets the same weight in assessment terms as the finished, resolved pieces presented in the Exhibition – both 40%


  1. Required media/techniques (in one component)

Currently and previously it was possible for a student to go through the entire course and do nothing (more or less) more than sit at a computer screen using digital techniques to generate their studio collection; or everything could be ceramics, or paint etc. They may or may not have achieved a great grade but either way there was nothing in writng to encourage either them or their teacher to be a little more adventurous.

The process portfolio requires that students MUST do more than be more adventurous than this. I think it’s a great improvement, and it does not necessarily dilute the final exhibition because the required diversity does not apply to the exhibition.


Page 20 of the guide shows the art-making forms table.

Students should work with a variety of different art-making and conceptual forms.

SL students should work with at least two art-making forms, each selected from separate columns

HL students should experience working with at least three art-making forms, selected from a minimum of two columns