blog 1A couple of weeks ago I travelled through the Spring sunshine to the hallowed halls of the IB Assessment Centre (Cardiff, Wales). The Subject Manager for visual arts met me there.

The purpose of my visit was to film a video for examiners, so we spent the morning discussing, amending and finalizing the things that would be said.

Although of course examiners have been going through a pre-examination qualification process for years, this is the first examiner qualification video, and all examiners who will be assessing work for the upcoming May examination session will see it before they start on the practice and qualification activities.

Of course this particular video will shortly become redundant, because most of the things I say – about studio or investigation and the assessment criteria etc – are relevant only to the course that is about to end.

blog 2But it was deemed sufficiently important to make, and hopefully will be at least helpful to some.

So there I was, talking to a camera and thus, eventually and virtually, to the many men and women who will undertake the task of assessing the files that you (or possibly your students) will submit over the next few weeks (and definitely before April 20th!)

The IBIS upload site is now open (from February 24).

Why make a video?

  • One reason was to welcome the examining team and perhaps present a face in the hope of appearing to be less of an ‘anonymous organization’.
  •  Also we wanted to emphasize the fact that subjects like visual arts rely heavily on the judgment of individual markers and we need consensus and agreement with standards rather than individual opinion
  •  We wanted to remind examiners that marking is holistic. Examiners are making a critical judgement of the whole submission, whether this is a series of investigation pages or a collection of studio artworks. No single page or artwork is likely to achieve highly in all assessment descriptors.
  •  There is also the so-called ‘best-fit’ model – the collection may demonstrate different levels of success in different criteria and the examiner must choose the achievement level that overall best matches the work being marked.
  •  There is also a useful set of practice portfolios at the beginning of the exercise. Examiners review these before starting the marking activity. The comments that accompany these portfolios should also help examiners appreciate the importance of the marking 4

Ever thought about becoming an examiner?

If you would like to apply to be an examiner for visual arts, go to

Where you will be able to download the Diploma Programme (DP) examiner application form.

IB Examiners are appointed to mark externally assessed work or to moderate internally assessed components (reviewing the original marking of teachers). Acting as an IB examiner provides an international educational experience, encompassing unique professional development opportunities and an insight into the assessment process. Applications for all subjects are accepted throughout the year. Provided an applicant has experience teaching a subject at the appropriate level, and to the specified age group, then they do not have previously worked as an IB teacher”. 3

The photographs shown here were taken on the journey home.