Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m going to start my 2015 Blog with a quick look back to the most recent Visual arts grade award meeting, which for the first time ever was VIRTUAL. Grade Award meetings occur twice a year (in November and June) and previously have always taken place in Cardiff (Wales, UK).

Senior visual arts examiners together with the Chief and Deputy Chief examiners met (virtually) with the visual arts assessment team and the Subject Manager. Usually we also have a teacher observer but that role may now be defunct since we now tend to work from home (or in some cases from school).

We had two synchronised Skype sessions when examiners in Australia, Miami, Singapore, the UK, Argentina, Hong Kong, and France were able to see and talk to each other and the Subject Manager in Cardiff.

The issues that did crop up for schools involved in the November examination session were for the most part familiar ones and regularly feature in the subject reports that are published after each examination session.

upload instructions


It will probably come as no surprise to hear that there are still schools that upload interview videos that show the candidate (and sometimes in addition even show the teacher!) – the IB have been asking schools for a long time to only show the work. Examiners do not need to see the candidate presenting their art or the teacher asking questions.

Some schools still upload 30-minute interview videos. I’m afraid that in these circumstances the examiner may simply stop watching after 15 minutes.

Some schools upload 18 files for the studio component of an SLA candidate. Again, examiners will only look at the first 12 files. This can (obviously) have a negative impact on the marks awarded for a candidate if the best works are among the last 6, because they will not be seen – but its hardly fair to allow some schools the advantage of having 18 files assessed when all other SLA candidates only have a maximum of 12.

On the positive side the upload process (teachers uploading assessment files to IBIS) seemed to go relatively smoothly which was a big relief, given the trials and tribulations of previous close encounters with the visual arts upload. Many exasperated teachers and DP Coordinators complained about a variety of upload issues in 2013, but this time round there seemed to be comparatively few issues.

Next April’s upload deadline has also been extended by 10 days (from April 10 to April 20) which may help a few people.

The image quote is taken from the “Frequently asked questions – Visual arts upload interview/statement element” document published by the IB and available on the OCC.