Lucy w HNY stick

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m going to start my 2014 Blog with a quick look back to the most recent Visual arts grade award meeting, which occurred in Cardiff (Wales, UK) just before Christmas.

Senior visual arts examiners together with the Chief and Deputy Chief examiners meet with the visual arts assessment team and the Subject Manager twice a year in Cardiff. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Charles, our December Grade Award teacher meal Cardiff

(If you are interested in attending a Grade Award meeting I’ll be outlining the teacher observer role and application process in my next blog).

The purpose of the Grade Award meeting is to examine and possibly/occasionally moderate marks, and then confirm marks for the two visual arts assessment components (studio and investigation). These marks were initially awarded by assistant examiners (in the case of the externally assessed component) and teachers (in the case of Internal Assessment), so we look at the work and the marks of candidates who have been flagged for checking and then discuss this. The aim is to arrive at a fair, just and accurate mark based, of course, on the assessment criteria.

We also review what the examiners have said about the session in their reports.

The examiner reports are often quite revealing and will inform the visual arts subject report (published twice a year).

Some things we discussed were familiar issues – things that happen every examination session despite repeated reminders on the Subject Reports that they are to be avoided.Night Fair swings Cardiff

  • For example, some examiners reported poor quality audio in the interview so that it was sometimes not possible to hear and/or understand what the candidate is saying. This could be the result of a technological fault, but sometimes it was because of other things happening while the interview was occurring – music or other conversations occurring, or distracting traffic noises or children playing etc.
  • Sometimes during the interview the candidate might talk at length about an artwork that was not part of the e-submission, or talk about an artwork without clearly indicating exactly which one out of the whole collection (this happened in both audio and video interviews)
  • As has been noted in previous reports, some candidates appear to have confused the concept of confident and assured art-making with being confident during the interview. The bullet point descriptor ‘demonstrates confidence and inventiveness’ is referring to the studio work, not the candidate.
  • Some exhibitions reflected a theme; as I have said a number of times, this is not necessarily a good idea. In the case of one candidate the entire exhibition had a very narrow focus and included a number of small sketches which did very little to gain marks in any of the assessment criteria. Some teachers seem to feel that having a theme is more important than addressing the markband descriptors. This is not the case, and some examiners commented on less suitable collections which may have reflected a theme, but did not achieve well in assessment terms.

(Watch out for the November 2013 visual arts subject report).Rain through window

Finally, having attended Grade Award meetings for a number of years now, I have to say that this session there were virtually no real issues or problems that needed solving. Overall, the group of examiners who assessed the work of (primarily) the Southern Hemisphere schools did a very good, thorough and accurate job, which meant that there were not many questions or concerns for the Grade Award team to address. It was a smooth, interesting and productive few days!

(Photos are all taken by me, including the wonderful 鉄板焼き, (Teppenyaki) chef using the iron griddle during our group meal and my Labrador wishing you a Happy New Year).