In my last blog I made some mention of the new DP visual arts course and suggested the ‘top 4’ differences between the current and the new course, but it’s probably about time to start talking about it in a bit more detail. Hopefully quite a few of you will already have participated in a workshop, either online or face-to-face.

IB Diploma Programme subjects usually have a seven year lifespan. The current visual arts course (started in 2009) still obviously has students following it, but the new one (2014 – 2021) is imminent.the CORE

As usual there is a discussion about the new course on the visual arts forum of the OCC. Predictably there are mixed opinions – although some of the views posted indicate that some teachers have not grasped the basic elements of the new course and there seems to be some confusion about, for example, how much art-making the new course involves.

Below is a brief list of 6 (more)  basic things to be aware of – if you are still unfamiliar with the new course – and some indication of differences between the old/current course and the new one, followed by a quick look at the comparative study.

Six new course ‘basics’/differences to the “old” (but still current) course

  1. Visual Art Journal: Students have free choice in deciding what form the visual arts journal should take. The aim is to support and nurture the acquisition of skills and ideas, to record developments, and to critique challenges and successes. Much of the written work submitted for the assessment tasks at the end of the course will be drawn from the journal but the journal itself is not directly assessed. It is, however, regarded as a fundamental activity of the course.
  2. Three ‘Core’ Areas (see core areas  diagram at the start of the post)
  3. Fewer final/resolved pieces SL students submit 4–7 artworksHL students submit 8–11 artworks.
  4. Curatorial rationale & exhibition text – SL students submit a curatorial rationale 400 words maxHL students submit a curatorial rationale 700 words maxSL and SL students submit exhibition text (stating the title, medium and size of the artwork) for each selected artwork
  5.  No more interview at the end of the course (students are required to write a curatorial rationale for their exhibition, which represents a shift in focus from the current interview).
  6. The intention is for each of the three components (CS, PP and Ex) to be uploaded for final assessment by students – not by teachers or DP coordinators (in the same manner that students submit their TOK work). CS and PP could each be a single PDF.


p39 of guide comp study3Comparative Study (we do it – more or less – already)

My students have already been working on comparative studies – comparing artworks, assessing the importance and impact of artworks –  since 2009, so it’s a well understood and often popular component within the current course.

It’s actually one of the investigation assessment criteria bullet points, so I’m a little surprised that some teachers seem puzzled or confused: after all, it’s what many teachers have been doing with their students as part of the workbook for many years.

It’s now been highlighted, separated and given an assessment value of 20%.

I’m excited by it because it has become more substantial, and students now have an opportunity to present this information visually and verbally.

The ‘formal requirements’ (p39 of the guide) refer to a series of 10 – 15 screens at both SL and HL with HL students submitting an additional 3–5 screens which analyse the extent to which their work and practices have been influenced by the art and artists examined: HL students will explicitly make connections between the work they investigate and their own art-making – but either way the Comparative Study should emerge from investigations etc in the visual arts journal.

It’s a more exciting and more stimulating prospect, but it’s really not very different from what we do now.

And as an examiner I’m looking forward to seeing some imaginative, visually powerful and provocative Comparative Studies (it’s certainly NOT another extended essay! – to suggest that is to show a lack of understanding of the intent, expectations and purpose of the comparative study)

OK, enough for now.

I plan to spend some time looking at the Process Portfolio and the Exhibition components in upcoming blog posts.