Having been a visual arts examiner for the recent visual arts examination session, I have watched more than 100 interviews.

I saw some really great interviews, with eloquent and articulate students speaking very well and enthusiastically about their work, providing me with insights and understanding. However, not all interviews were useful or even understandable…

1.      Audio or Video?

Either is fine but if it’s audio it’s VITAL that the student identifies the piece of work being discussed.

While listening to audio uploads I often spent a lot of time trying to work out what artwork (or page) the student was talking about. And sometimes the student was talking about a piece apparently displayed in the exhibition but hadn’t been selected for upload – so I never got to see it.

If it’s audio PLEASE include two exhibition overview photographs.

If its video the advantage is the examiner can see the size and scale of the work, but occasionally the sound quality of the video interview was very poor, so I could see what was being discussed but could not always hear what was being said. (Use a clip-on microphone or at least a microphone near to the student’s mouth?)

2.      Do you ask questions or do you let the student ‘present’?

Some interview styles were a little intrusive, with the teacher interrupting, asking unnecessary questions or not really letting the student develop the important idea that was being formed.

On the other hand sometimes the student rambled on without really providing useful contextual information. Also it’s a great idea for the student to at least be aware of the assessment criteria so that some of what is said might relate to how the marks are awarded.


3.      Should schools just cancel the visual arts interview? (IT’S OPTIONAL)

The interview used to be done through the visiting examiner – but now the teacher does it and it can mean a lot more work, depending on how many students you have.  In fact it can be a lot of hassle, and if you have a class of 20, you might wonder why you have to do it.

Good news, you don’t!

Whether or not the digital upload process is quick, simple and trouble-free, (and let’s be honest, some teachers were a little frustrated at times with the March/April upload process), just conducting and recording interviews for a large class can take a lot of organization and a lot of time.

“It is important to ensure that all information that the examiner needs in relation to the candidate’s work that might be contained within the interview (the details of which are given above) is fully addressed through the candidate statement, the selected studio works and the supporting investigation workbook pages”.

(From “Visual arts assessment trial: The effect of the interview on marks awarded for candidate submissions,” page 3)


“Recommendations to teacher: unless impossible include an overview photograph of the candidate’s complete exhibition in order that the examiner understands the scale of the body of submitted work”.

(From “Visual arts assessment trial: The effect of the interview on marks awarded for candidate submissions,” page 2)

I’m not sure what ‘unless impossible’ means in this context and also I’m not sure why you wouldn’t provide the examiner with a photograph of the exhibition.

OK, the examiner can carefully read all the measurements of all the artworks and then try to imagine what the exhibition looks like, but come on – a photograph would make the examiner’s life a lot easier!

Photographs are from the OCC interview videos.