Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Art History 2020

Standard 93301

Part A: Commentary

Very few candidates failed to complete all sections of the paper.

Some candidates addressed only two works in each answer, which immediately restricted their discussions. The limitations this placed on their responses was problematic for many. A demonstration of breadth as well as depth of knowledge is key to success at this level. Most generally it has been accepted that at least three works are needed to provide the breadth and depth of discussion required.

There was also a trend toward quoting and naming philosophers. This should be led by art history – not the history of ideas. Accuracy and relevance are also important.

In order to ensure focus on the detail of the question that a candidate is answering, a brief overview that links the works together in terms of the question would be helpful. A justification for the choice of works and their relevance would strengthen an argument. In the ensuing detail, depth of visual analysis is always required. This is an area that could be strengthened in many answers.

In Section C, candidates needed to keep referring back to the text. A number of candidates did not acknowledge that Acton was presenting the ideas of others. Accuracy is important in relation to acknowledging the source of ideas and in analysing the text. 

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • engaged with the question and responded to all aspects of it
  • supported their argument with highly developed visual analysis of the art works referenced
  • clearly established their point of view or argument
  • selected a range of appropriate and varied examples
  • selected art works that were well suited to the key point of a question
  • demonstrated independent reflection on the art works / evidence offered
  • remained focused in their argument
  • in Section C, recognized the range of ideas and the sources
  • demonstrated clarity, maturity and confidence in their writing and sustained this over all sections.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • chose questions that suited their knowledge bank
  • analysed and understood the requirements of the question
  • focused strongly on the question
  • established a clear point of view or argument and remained focused in their argument
  • selected a range of appropriate works, which they were able to discuss in detail
  • analysed art works closely to provide the supporting evidence for their argument
  • demonstrated skills of visual analysis in response to specific art works
  • demonstrated extensive knowledge of context and content relevant to the question
  • understood that Section C required discussion of the key ideas along with discussion of art works that supported or challenged those ideas.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • wrote on context but not on works of art
  • did not address the question or needed to take more care with reading the question
  • wrote generalised essays – often survey-type responses
  • demonstrated little evidence of visual analysis
  • incorporated irrelevant material
  • offered little appropriate evidence to support statements
  • relied on prepared answers and could not fit these to questions asked
  • wrote on a small number of works (sometimes only one work per answer).



Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 193KB)

2017 (PDF, 43KB)

2018 (PDF, 98KB)

2019 (PDF, 197KB)

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