What’s VACAF?

It’s an acronym that stands for Visual Arts Coursework Authentication Form.campsite

(Those of you who either regularly visit the OCC or have an on-the-ball DP Coordinator will know about it).

***Not to be confused with VACAF camping holidays in France (CAF: ”Caisse d’Allocation Familiale“)

PPF – That was Then

There used to be a requirement for schools to submit a planning and progress form (PPF or to be precise 6/VAPPF) for each visual arts candidate whose work was selected for the IA sample. It’s not supposed to be seen by the examiner (although strangely a few did appear in the uploads I saw in the last session).


Just over a year ago (August 2015) I posted “The Visual Arts Planning & Progress Form (6/VAPPF)


vacaf-1bVACAF – This is Now

The old planning and progress form has just been reviewed and changed, and the PPF has been replaced by the VACAF.

(Although for 2017 there is some flexibility and the IB are saying teacher should use one or the other)

The form is primarily intended to help confirm the authenticity of each phase of student work.

In the old PPF the students had to comment three times, and the teacher once, for each component – so writing in total 12 text boxes per submission.

The VACAF is a lot more streamlined – only three text boxes for two components – so only six instead of twelve comments – and only requiring input from you the teacher.

**BUT for assessment in November 2016, the current planning and progress form must continue to be used for visual arts.


VACAF details

  • You (the teacher) complete the authentication form, not the student.
  • You are expected to scrutinize student work and check the authenticity of all work, but you only need ‘authenticate’ the Comparative Study and the Exhibition (as the process portfolio  documents the candidate’s engagement in an ongoing art making practice, their level of involvement should be evident in the PP, so it is not necessary to have you – the teacher – authenticate this work.)
  • Record three interactions at various stages during the creation of their coursework: meet with each student at three decisive points during the creation of each piece of coursework, one meeting for each stage of inquiry, action and reflection
  • The interactions might be formal meetings or informal discussions in the studio/artroom etc


“Interactions” – possible strategies

Inquiry stage

Students outline the nature of their work, proposing the methods to be followed or the choices to be made in the early stages of developing the work. Through discussion teachers may support students in revising or reshaping their plans to best fit their desired intentions. Teachers summarize this discussion and any guidance given on the CAF.


Action stage

This is a mid-point meeting to check in on the development of the work being undertaken, to review the direction of travel, scrutinize any materials produced so far and to support students in making decisions about their “next steps”. This might also be an opportunity for students to consider the scope and nature of any “end product”. Teachers summarize this discussion and any guidance given on the CAF.


Reflection stage

Teachers review the work completed to date and provide their formal comments on the “one draft” of the work, before each student finalizes their work for submission. Teachers summarize this discussion and any guidance given on the CAF.


Finally, upload the VACAF using the IBDP eCoursework system when submitting the materials for assessment.


In the future

  • For assessment from May 2018 onwards, only the VACAF will be accepted.
  • From May 2019 the completion of a “CAF” will be mandatory for all DP arts subjects (so a version of the CAF will be used for ALL DP Arts subjects, not just visual arts, and all teachers of DP arts subjects must use the CAF with cohorts from September 2017).
  • From May 2019 this form must be submitted for every arts candidate, not just those candidates whose work comprises the sample for internal assessment.


Where is it?

** The VACAF is on the OCC on the visual arts homepage, under the assessment header in the May 2016 – Forms and cover sheets document. Or ask your DP Coordinator!

Campsite image