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The International Baccalareate Visual Arts

Discussion in 'Art and design' started by herbart, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. The IBVA is preparing to discontinue the practice of 'visiting examiners' to assess the art-work done by our students over a two year course. This has been the cornerstone of this assessment process, and the heart of it's success.
    Below my response to the IBVA:

    "My first reaction to the email “VA Upload“, dated Monday, April 18, 2011 11:28 AM, was anger-because the IB had finally let us down completely, frustration - because we had seen it coming but couldn’t believe it had actually happened, dismay- because the IB program for Visual Arts, which we had held in such high esteem, was being dismantled. For a whole day I was in shock, because it had become clear that the assessment of Art had fallen into the hands of those who had absolutely no understanding of art as a real experience; no understanding of our students , as young and eager individuals who are highly motivated by the idea of showing and presenting their work to someone who cares about the creative process; and no understanding, or support, for those teachers attempting to inspire their students to work for the full two year program on creating mature quality art.

    There is no substitute for a visiting examiner! Of this, I am convinced. An overwhelmingly majority of IB Visual Arts teachers, and examiners agree.

    The visiting examiner was, and must remain, the cornerstone of all our endeavors. For over forty years students and teachers have worked towards that examination day, when both their efforts will be assessed by a visiting examiner, live and on site. The investigation work evolved from an examination, to guided coursework, and then finally on to the Research Workbook (now the Investigation Workbook). These two elements, the IW and visiting examiner, having evolved quite naturally and found wide acceptance amongst teachers and examiners, must be retained.

    Over the years, the responsibility of the visiting examiner vis-à-vis the Research Workbooks was diminished, to the point that they were no longer required to even look at them, let alone comment on them. This was already a weakening of the examiners role as a fair broker, and guarantor, of real and ongoing documentation and research being done throughout the program. 30 sample pages, are only that. Only the visiting examiner can verify that the student has really done the consistent work, in the books, that we should expect of them. Reducing this to 30 pages is an affront to all we have built up over the years, and at the very least undermines the quality of this program.

    Added to this, only 18 pieces of work are to be assessed, photographically, by an examiner who has no direct contact with the work, and worse, no direct contact with the students. Our students are worth more than that, and our efforts with them, certainly. The very fact that the IB ‘limits’ the amount of work to be assessed is totally counterproductive, and defies what we have pushed our students to produce. It has always been my credo in teaching art, that there is no upper limit, only a minimum. You are now proposing , and have in fact already instructed the examiners, to assess only the 18 pieces that have been photographed. What are we to do to motivate students to push themselves and go beyond the ‘comfort zone’ . You are supporting mediocrity, and demeaning consistent creative engagement. Is this where IBVA is taking us? If it is, it no longer has my support.

    Removing the practice, both for the student and the examiner, of experiencing all of the Art first hand, is to sound the death knoll of the program I once held dear. When the IB was a smaller organization, it still managed to have visiting examiners, and not just in the arts. Why? Because it believed in the ideals it had set forth. Does it today? It appears that the bottom line has replaced the educational ethic. It is up to you to let your constituents know, that what they are paying for is no longer the program they envisaged in IB.
    The decision to put the CRB online is good. Photocopying endless material so that we may send of ‘moderation’ samples and ‘moderation’ copies, was time consuming, expensive, and certainly not environmentally sound. The ability to moderate the art-work, all of it (not just 18 pieces) would indeed be enhanced by digital videos, etc.. But, this is for moderation purposes only. Only the examiner, on site, can determine the full scope and intent of the work through the students presentation, and the art itself. Electronic means will never be a substitute for this. The examiner experiences the art and the artist, and the student finds closure. This is real.

    Let me close here by stating what is blatantly obvious to all who deal with real art. There is no substitute for experiencing art first hand! The experience of seeing Michaelangelo’s ‘David’ for the first time in Florence, at the Academy, cannot even remotely be replaced by a print in a catalogue, or even a video documentary. There is sheer magic in the interaction with real art, and the touch of the divine in making it. Do not demean either, by replacing the real human element with a virtual one.

    All of our students want a visiting examiner. Their parents feel they have paid for the privilege. Bottom line."

    Herb Holzinger

    Head of Visual Arts

    Vienna International School

    IB Visual Arts Teacher ’79 – present

    IB Visual Arts Examiner ’90 – present

    IB Visual Arts Committee ’87 – ‘94

  2. tomyum

    tomyum New commenter

    Hear hear. I completely agree. If other qualifications (A-Level, IGCSE) are still examined overseas by visiting examiners, the IBO has really shot itself in the foot by cutting out what is globally seen to be a key element of the art assessment process.
    I have yet to speak to anyone with a positive word to say about this proposal. Oh, except perhaps the IBO administrators sat in their offices, with a penny-pinching attitude and absolutely no understanding of the visual arts at all.
    Very disappointing.
    I'd be interested to see the figures involved; just how much do students and schools pay for the privilege of an IB education / curriculum, as opposed to,for instance A-Level? Also, the increasing number of schools worldwide now offering the IBDP in the last few years should mean that there is money available to maintain visiting examiners. Where is all that money going?

  3. What are you talking about? IBO? IGSC? IBDP? Speak english.
  4. did this happen in the end? or have they kept it to the way it was?
    if not, did it come into force this year?

    i ask as i am not currently teaching at the moment, only just finished my PCET x

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