We are coming towards the end of April, and by now most examiners are well into the process of working their way through their digital upload allocations.

Of course it’s not just the art teachers who miss the old ‘visiting examiner’ experience – many examiners also miss it.

Arriving at a school and experiencing the physical reality of artworks in an exhibition context and talking to the student (invariably eager to explain their experiences of the creative process) was a wonderful experience.

I miss the face-to-face contact, and the reality of artwork that I could touch or walk around, and it was always good to talk art teachers about how they interpreted the programme – but there are compensations.

Obviously the art assessment process experience now is different; but with a new, powerful and high spec computer linked to two high-resolution monitors, plus surround sound audio, with the opportunity to pause and replay parts of the interview, and as long as I want to spend examining details of pages or artworks, I have to admit – there are advantages.

On one screen I have the interview (usually video, occasionally audio) playing alongside the candidate statement, while on the other I can scrutinize whatever studio work the student is talking about, and I can also scroll through the workbook pages if I want (usually a ‘zoomable’ pdf file). There is also space for the assessment descriptors for me to refer to while watching and listening.

And of course for the first time moderation is based on exactly what the examiner has seen. Previously my team leader never saw the exhibition: he/she only saw the Candidate Record Booklet and read my comment – whereas now we all see the upload.

I’m sorry not to be flying off to interview candidates in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Rome (and other places) – but I’m still watching the interview and I’m still enjoying this sense of culmination, the final show and the voice of the student artist reflecting on challenges and achievements.



Yes Greg – go for it!


Artwork by my students