National Moderator's Reports

March 2019

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Download PDF: Art History National Moderator's Report (PDF, 128KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Art History standards in 2018.

It does not clarify specific standards but provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Volume of Evidence Produced

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Some students produce an excessive volume of evidence. Students are not required to submit evidence beyond the criteria of the standard. It is appropriate for teachers to guide students to produce succinct evidence in response to the achievement criteria of the standard.

In Art History, this has particularly been noticed at Level 2 and 3. Restricting the scope of research may help to reduce the amount of evidence produced by students. For example, for 91184 and 91486, instead of broad topics such as Van Gogh or Renaissance portraiture, students could answer a question with more specific focus such as Gauguin’s influence on Van Gogh or Papal portraiture.

Moderation has shown that the higher the number of art works examined, the more likely it is that students provide repeated evidence of the same skills or knowledge. In standards where the examination of art works is required, an examination of two or three art works should provide students with sufficient opportunity to demonstrate the skill/s needed for all levels of achievement.

In terms of the quantity of evidence that students produce, it is highly likely that a guideline of 1200-1500 words for their responses would provide students with sufficient opportunity to demonstrate the skill/s needed for Excellence in any Art History Achievement Standard.

Excellence at Level 3

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There is some inconsistency in awarding Excellence. When making assessor decisions regarding Excellence, consideration needs to be given to the overall quality of the evidence. This is critical when making a judgement at the Merit/Excellence boundary.

A significant number of moderation grade changes occurred at Merit/Excellence in Art History standards at Level 3. In most cases, this was because the sample did not yet show a sufficient level of insight or evaluation to fulfil the requirements of the criterion for Excellence.

An Excellence-level response goes beyond summarising reasons why something is significant, to weighing up different relevant factors. For example, by weighing up the role of Theosophy in Kandinsky’s move to abstraction against factors such as technological advancements and or artistic influences.

The quality and relevance of supporting evidence, including contextual evidence, is critical to the Merit/Excellence boundary. Rather than generalised information about the life of the artist or the period, contextual evidence should be relevant to the focus of the standard; for example, technological developments in art making media or events critical to a theory.

The perception required for Excellence was most commonly seen in well-edited responses that confidently and succinctly present the most relevant information.

Group Work

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Group work is an acceptable form of assessment, if appropriate to the standard. When submitting group work for moderation, the teacher needs to ensure there is evidence that each student has met the standard.

The contribution of each student can be tracked and presented in a variety of ways, such as written record of teacher observation, the division of workload into clearly defined tasks, a student worklog or video diary, recordings of teacher/student conferences, etc.

In Art History, group work has not been evident in the work sent in for moderation in 2018. Group work in Art History could involve creating a collaborative book or presentation where each student contributes a different aspect of a topic.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

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This refers to assessing multiple standards via one submission of student evidence. The assessment of standards may be integrated either within a subject or across subjects.

For external moderation, if the assessment is across subjects and the student evidence is physical, it can be sent on to the next subject moderator/s if required. If it is an online submission, the student evidence can be uploaded for each standard being moderated.

Increasingly, schools are adopting an integrated approach to the delivery of internal Art History standards by assessing student work against two standards. This has been particularly successful when combining two standards with complementary skills and content. For example, integrating 91486 and 91487 to develop an argument about the different values placed on art works. Or integrating 91185 and 91186 as result of a field trip.

Successfully integrated assessments of two standards should provide sufficient emphasis on each of the standards. The assessment requires that teachers clearly differentiate between the evidence provided for each standard. Moderation in 2018 has seen a continuation of the trend to integrate the assessment of Art History standards with those from Visual Arts. These have been most successful when an Art History standard is selected to support a specific aspect of students’ learning about art, for example by using 91018 to support their own production of art works.

Generalised research on art works or artists used to support Visual Arts standards frequently resulted in partial evidence towards a variety of Art History standards but insufficient evidence to achieve any specific standard.

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