Happy New Year!

I’m going start the year by reminding my 2nd year students of the Process Portfolio. These students will be uploading their PP screens/pages in March/April so my first blog posts of 2017 relate to the PP.

I don’t want in inundate you with too much too soon so will be posting in two installments, January and February.


First of all, be careful with some of the current OCC Teacher Support Material for the Process Portfolio. Some examples have a text-only transcribed version of a journal next to the journal page. I think that this was done so that the text could be more easily translated into other IB languages.

It’s NOT what students should do, unless their writing is illegible. I have attached an example (screenshot of OCC TSM PP sample 5)occ-tsm-page-with-bar.

There is no need to re-write the same text already shown on the selected visual arts journal page.

This just “generates an additional workload for students who are already time poor and adds no significant value while simultaneously negating the significance of the visual arts journal. The visual arts journal, if used effectively, will be a crucial part of every students’ art-making practice and is likely to contain the best evidence for use in the process portfolio” (from the 2016 Subject Report).

Legibility and presentation

These are important. I must admit to a penchant for a handwritten explanation or supporting comment, because of the personal element – on the other hand, this only works if the handwriting is legible. We don’t want to make excessive demands on our examiners, we want him/her to easily read whatever is written.

At the other extreme, I have one very keen student who tries to fills almost every square centimeter of every page with (computer generated) text. Two others have already been rebuked for trying to squeeze in too much text with font sizes of 9. They seem to be trying to describe everything they ever did. This is NOT a good idea.

Encourage your students to be selective and to think of the “big picture” – what are the priorities and what is it that the PP examiner really needs to see, know and understand?

Other pages contain a jumble of ideas, notes and sketches with little sense of what exactly is going on. If it’s difficult for me to figure out what the page is about its going to be even harder for the PP examiner.

All these students will be selectively editing some of their pages to simplify and clarify the content and presentation.


Have students organise their PP screens so that the examiner gets a good idea of the development of the students’ ideas and works. By all means put headings on pages to identify the focus and purpose of the page.

The organization could be chronological, in terms of artworks, or in terms of media/techniques explored, (but don’t organise pages in the order of the assessment criteria).

Help the examiner understand where the PP achievements are and how successful the work is.

Format issues: landscape or portrait?horizontal-vs-vertical-submissions

I also reminded my students that nobody from the IB will ever see their book. In a different time, a few years ago, the examiner would visit the school, look in person at the art exhibition, peruse the journals (‘workbooks’ was the terms in those days), and discus it all with the student.(Or was all that just a dream?)

These days examiner sees nothing “real” and views everything on a screen.

So how can we maximize the potential of that encounter?

Monitor screens are normally rectangular and in “landscape” rather than “portrait” format.

“Horizontal” PP pages better fill the screens through which examiner view and assess the work. Refer to the image that shows a view of the assessment screen used by visual arts examiners.

Thanks to Jayson Paterson (OCC facilitator) for the image. Both the samples in the image received identical marks, but one orientation is easier for the examiner than the other.

More about the PP in February – see you then!