I have just returned from five days in sunny Cardiff (Wales), with each day solidly focussed on reviewing, analysing, assessing and discussing the many studio artworks and investigation workbook pages submitted by candidates through their Candidate Record Booklets.

In all cases our primary purpose was to come to an accurate assessment of the work, whether it was component A or B, and Higher or Standard level.

Candidate Record Booklets were selected for us to look at for a variety of reasons, but often  it was because there was a difference between the examiner’s mark and the teacher’s predicted grade.

In attendance were the Assessment Subject Area Manager for visual arts (CSAM) and the Assessment & Curriculum Coordinator, plus four principal examiners and six team leaders, and of course the Chief Examiner.

A number of these were multi-lingual, able to work in at least two of the three languages supported in the Diploma Programme (English, Spanish and French) and able, therefore to read the written work in workbook pages submitted by candidates from, for example, Latin American countries.

There was also, as usual, a teacher observer, who watched the proceedings, occasionally asked about the process and seemed to enjoy his brief trip to Wales.

As ever, in studio work, one or two exhibition overview photographs in the back of the CRB invariably proved to be very helpful, particularly when candidates forgot to provide any indications of the size/measurements of the pieces they chose to photograph.

Also, although there was some great work on view this session, sometimes it was difficult to read the workbook pages because they had been carelessly photocopied with sections of text cut off (or writing out of focus), and sometimes the photographs were too small  (the size of a postage stamp?), or had come loose in the CRB, and were difficult to identify.

The e-CRB may be in the planning stage but the current booklet will be used by most candidates in the 2011-2012 school year – so please take it seriously as it may be the critical piece of information that will enable your student to get the grade he/she deserves!

Photographs show views of Cardiff