Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Art History 2018

Standard 93301

Part A: Commentary

Clearly teachers have adapted well to preparing their students for a three-section examination paper which was the new format introduced last year. Candidates seemed well accustomed to the new format.

Candidates answered across a fairly even spread of questions. Similarly, there was no specific question that was answered better (or more poorly) than the others. Most candidates managed three evenly-treated responses which demonstrated good time management in the examination situation.

Overall there was a wide variety of artists and works referenced this year, although some candidates were restricted by the limited pool of artists or works they had to offer. Students need to be familiar with a range of works beyond simply one or two from each chronological period, historical, modern and contemporary. Examples need to come from a range of artists, for example, not just the same two artists for each question with a third example added. The increased use of examples of New Zealand art was pleasing. Breadth of knowledge is important, as is depth of analysis of specific works.

Reading each question very carefully and addressing any qualifying words/phrases, is essential. Question Four was an example: the question was ‘There are many reasons that some art works are valued above others.’ Some candidates did not address the full question. Similarly, in response to Question Two some candidates discussed innovations in art practice but did not mention how these related to traditional art, i.e. what ‘rules’ were being broken.

With regard to theory, candidates’ engagement with, and understanding of, the art works is more important than a prolonged discussion of artistic theory. The same applies to context. Context needs to be relevant and accurate. In some answers there was a disturbing tendency to focus on works which objectified women without an understanding of the contextual issues involved. Understanding how and why art works reflect their contexts is important. So too is accuracy and specific detail in the information offered. Accuracy matters – factual errors weakened a number of responses.

Section C required candidates to address the text i.e. to explain the main ideas in the text and the writer’s support of these. In response to Section C candidates needed to take care to direct their responses to the text, that is, to keep referring back to the text when they were writing about art works.


Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • wrote answers which demonstrated breadth as well as depth
  • referred to a wide range of examples
  • showed originality in their choice of art works
  • selected works that have real depth
  • discussed ideas and examples in depth to support their argument
  • wrote an original response
  • demonstrated independence in their answers
  • were fluent and mature writers
  • in Section C, disputed elements of the text.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • focused strongly on the question
  • selected a range of appropriate works which they were able to discuss in detail
  • supported their answer with detailed visual analysis
  • referred to a range of art works
  • answered the question that was asked
  • demonstrated breadth and depth in their response
  • understood that Section C required discussion of the key ideas along with discussion of art works that supported or challenged those ideas
  • in Section C kept referencing back to the text that was provided.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • wrote generalised essays
  • outlined general stylistic features (of an artist or movement) and did not relate these to specific works
  • included little or no visual analysis of specific art works. This is a critical aspect of the criteria
  • described rather than analysed works
  • wrote survey context essays with little reference to art works
  • reiterated learnt responses
  • relied on prepared answers and could not fit these to questions asked
  • included irrelevant or inaccurate material
  • did not address the question or needed to take more care with reading the question
  • referred to a narrow or repeated range of examples
  • wrote on a small number of works (sometimes only one work per answer) or did not select their examples particularly well so there was a limited amount that could be said about them.



Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 193KB)

2017 (PDF, 43KB)

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