More about the proposed end of the visiting examiner.

OK, I know you are worried/furious/angry/exasperated/in despair/concerned/gutted (delete where appropriate) about this. If posts on the OCC visual arts forum are anything to go by, its possibly the worst idea ever.

So I thought I’d leap off the parapet with some context.

The proposal may seem like a bolt out of the blue, but with the relentless success and expansion of the whole IB programme (actually all three programmes PYP, MYP and DP)  the visiting examiner system has started to become more difficult to effectively implement.

  • For one thing, there just are not enough visiting examiners in some countries, and finding examiners willing and able to fly in from another country for a month – or even a week – of examining candidates in schools in remote locations is not easy.
  • For another thing, IB is concerned about the carbon footprint created by all these examiners flying (and despatching thousands of CRBs) all over the world.
  • Some schools complain because they do not have enough money to put the visiting examiner up in a hotel while he/she is there. For example, big (but not necessarily rich) schools with 40+ candidates may be looking at paying for 4 or 5 nights in a hotel.
  • Examiners often have another job, and often this is teaching. It’s not always easy or desirable to get time off to visit other schools to examine their candidates, (especially when their own students are setting up their exhibitions). I have encountered a Head of School who pointed out that the parents expected the art teacher to be in the classroom teaching art, not flying off to look at student exhibitions. (Yes, I know, and I did reply with all the reasons this is a narrow-minded attitude – but the Head remained unconvinced).
  • The examiner assesses the actual work but moderation is based on photographs/photocopies: in effect these are two separate processes. The photographs and copies of pages obviously show the work, but not always well. As an assessment model, its somewhat flawed.
  • The electronic CRB (digital portfolio/video interview etc) would/could facilitate better viewing of new media art

I’ve been a visiting examiner since 1989 and I’ve loved it, and I still love it, I’m aware of all the reasons why there is such an outcry on the OCC, and I have sympathy and empathy with those who so eloquently express their concerns about the proposal. I agree entirely with much of what they say. There are many great things about the visiting examiner process and IB are asking for input: they are open to suggestions and want input from teachers and examiners. (Under the current proposal, the final year of visiting examiners would be next year – 2012.)

They want suggestions! Given the issues outlined above, are there ways that the visiting examiner could be retained?

Tell IB! (Through the relevant discussion forum on the OCC).


YouTube videos

This is Not the End – Clare Maguire

This is the End – The Doors