Assessment Report

Level 1 Visual Arts 2019

Part A: Commentary

It was a pleasure to see the diversity of approaches and subject matter presented for verification. It is clear that the vast majority of teachers are providing their students with engaging and dynamic programmes of learning for NCEA Level 1 Visual Arts. From tracking the number of grade changes required by verification, it is evident that most teachers are very competent in their assessment decision-making and guidance of students.

Programmes that led to successful portfolios commonly provided a structure that gave clear guidance to learners, while leaving room for independent decision-making. They allowed for skill and technique development within two or three key media, reflected student voices and interests, and took into account relevant cultural protocols and beliefs. Expected production time should be about 120 hours of teaching, learning, and making.

Part B: Report on standards

90916: Produce a body of work informed by established practice, which develops ideas, using a range of media

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • produced a sufficient amount of New Zealand Curriculum Level 6 work to warrant 12 credits at NCEA Level 1; i.e. at least four completed works per panel, covering approximately 95% of the folio
  • had a clear theme or pictorial concern; imagery was connected and related
  • used a range (two or more) of media, but did not always select and use media that best suited their intended purpose.
  • relied on thin surfaces in paint work, without building layers
  • showed a limited understanding of tonal modelling, evident in the rendering of basic forms using only a single light source
  • showed a basic understanding of form and proportion and, at times, struggled to consistently show correct proportions when representing objects
  • showed some control of media, but did not sustain this sufficiently across both panels of the submission
  • did not build on areas of technical strength or successful media from early in the submission
  • used a thematic approach to the development of ideas
  • produced a body of work that developed ideas but seemed to lack a system, or identify relationships between works that would move the body of work forward
  • relied heavily on guidance provided by the class programme to move the body of work forward and create relationships between works
  • referenced established practice, in the form of recognisable models and/or conventions appropriate to the domain or field in which they were producing work, at times without showing understanding of the model, instead just replicating aesthetic elements
  • at the lower end of the grade range, worked from a narrow proposition that limited the development of ideas
  • combined elements from earlier work in a simple way in order develop new work
  • at the lower end of the grade range, produced repetitive singular works or had a heavy reliance on tracing, which was limiting in terms of showing candidates’ skills and creativity
  • made new iterations of compositions or repeated imagery, rather than developing or adding new ideas, or reused motifs rather than building upon them
  • had a strong emphasis on pattern-making and flat space
  • produced final works that often appeared rushed
  • appeared to have been challenged by the move from smaller developmental works to larger-scale final compositions
  • when producing design-based submissions showed a limited understanding of basic design conventions, such as layout and typography
  • showed limited understanding of text in design-based work (i.e. readability, appropriate font selection and hierarchy)
  • showed limited understanding the conventions of the product they were designing
  • generated some of their own source imagery
  • showed limited understanding of colour balance, and struggled with density of shadows and highlights (photography)
  • showed conceptual development, but were let down by limited technical proficiency (photography)
  • when producing photographic submissions, used a limited range of viewpoints of subject matter, often repeating centralised compositions.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not complete or fill two folio boards, or presented works with excessive amounts of white space around them
  • presented submissions where a significant number of works were below NZC Level 6 in their ability to use media or develop ideas
  • struggled with the fundamental skills required to record information or represent shapes and forms
  • were unable to render a tonal range when using wet or dry media
  • used inappropriate media for the convention or artist model chosen
  • worked from subject matter that did not give good opportunity for the candidate to show an appropriate level of skill
  • presented unrelated or repetitive work that failed to develop ideas
  • used media that was not suited to the purpose (e.g. a majority of simple pencil or pen drawings)
  • did not show understanding of art-making tikanga (e.g. stretched photos)
  • did not reference established practice or art-making conventions appropriate to the field in which they were working
  • produced very repetitive works (e.g. repeating the same subject matter from only one or two viewpoints)
  • relied on collage without any engagement with established collage practice
  • traced images or worked over the top of photocopies or photographs, restricting the candidate’s ability to demonstrate competence at the appropriate curriculum level
  • submitted a collection of ‘one-off’ or unrelated images, which did not develop ideas
  • relied on large-scale works to cover the folio
  • relied on multiple copies of prints or photographs to fill space (photography and design)
  • filled gaps in the folio with patches of unrelated colour or pattern
  • included poorly exposed images, or showed a lack understanding of photographic techniques and conventions (e.g. putting photos on angles on the board for no apparent reason).

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • understood their idea or proposition, and made some of their own decisions within a scaffolded programme
  • showed a personal engagement with the subject matter and proposition
  • generated a range of useful possibilities at concept stages
  • presented a clearly identified system, using approaches such as a particular colour palette and selection of subject matter
  • progressed their ideas in a systematic manner, at times somewhat repetitively
  • identified successful elements in earlier works and further explored these
  • clearly understood line, shape, tonal variation, and form in drawings
  • controlled one media more successfully than others
  • presented a logical pictorial development of ideas, showing they had been thinking about their next steps
  • showed purposeful selection and arrangement of works with reference to pictorial elements, compositional devices, and ideas
  • successfully combined conventions from previous series to create new work
  • used a range of different compositions in each series of work
  • coped successfully with media changes, and scale shifts from smaller works to larger, more refined ones
  • used compositional devices, motifs, symbolism, and colour palette to provide coherency across the submission
  • selected media appropriate to the conventions or field in which they were working, and used it with control
  • made decisions regarding colour that supported relationships between the works and moved the body of work forward
  • showed an understanding of colour theory, colour mixing, and surface
  • made implicit references to artist models and established practice, rather than direct representations of particular examples of models’ work
  • referenced multiple artist models and reflected on the models being used
  • worked with their own source imagery (design)
  • investigated an idea in series or sequence, but often revisited and repeated earlier techniques (e.g. addition of line, animation, colour adjustments) rather than moving forward with new approaches (digital moving image)
  • did not repeat photographs
  • showed fluency with media, but not consistently across both panels.

 Candidates who were awarded Achieved with Excellence commonly:

  • began from a clear proposition that was sufficiently focused to allow depth of investigation, without being so narrow as to inhibit diverse ideas
  • took ownership of the ideas and subject matter with which they were working, and engaged with ideas in a way that showed strong student voice
  • use a purposeful system to explore multiple outcomes that further developed the proposition
  • took an experimental approach when making generative studies to explore multiple options before clarification
  • showed student reflection on the ideas that were being explored
  • showed student voice in the clarification of ideas, presenting a strong understanding of reflective evaluation
  • selected and used with confidence media appropriate to the ideas they were investigating
  • showed consistent fluency with the range of media used
  • worked in media and conventions that highlighted the individual candidate’s strengths
  • used colour in a sophisticated manner
  • showed an understanding of the properties and limitations of the media with which they were working
  • explored their subject matter from a range of viewpoints and perspectives, often moving work forward in unexpected directions
  • investigated each idea thoroughly
  • investigated ideas and media adventurously
  • used stylistic and pictorial conventions that were appropriate to their proposition
  • used a range of compositional devices that were appropriate to their intended purpose
  • showed understanding of pictorial space
  • explored multiple outcomes for an idea and extended and refined the more successful ones
  • demonstrated critical thinking in decisions about composition and developing ideas, building clear relationships between the works that were often innovative and interesting
  • ordered their works to show a clarification of ideas, although this did not always take place at the end of the folio
  • presented more than one clarification; several threads of investigation took place and were woven together
  • presented a final sequence that was open-ended enough that it left the viewer wanting more
  • referenced a range of established practice
  • made clear links to established practice, but developed their own interpretations rather than emulating the models' work
  • successfully integrated conventions from both design and photography fields
  • showed understanding of relevant art-making tikanga or conventions of the field in which they were working, and used these to advance and clarify their ideas (e.g. use of depth of field in photographic works; font selection for double-page spreads in design works)
  • when producing design-based submissions, showed an understanding of designing for purpose, and successfully combined image and type to meet the brief
  • used appropriate transitions to aid the reading of the work (digital moving image)
  • showed clear evidence of reviewing and editing sound to aid reading of each series or sequence (digital moving image)
  • showed good understanding of lighting (photographic or video work).

Standard-specific comments

Schools are reminded to consult and comply with the end-of-year assessment instructions available on the NZQA Visual Arts subject resources page. This is particularly relevant in terms of the size and placement of candidate numbers on the folio. Additional points to note are that candidate names should not be visible on the art work side of the portfolio, and that Blu-Tak is not an appropriate adhesive for attaching artworks to the portfolio.

It was evident that most successful NCEA Level 1 programmes of teaching and learning were underpinned by a strong programme of junior art, enabling students to develop their conceptual and technical art-making skills. Schools that do not provide this multi-year visual arts grounding before NCEA Level 1 put their students at a significant disadvantage.

Digital Moving Image (DMI) folio submissions remained only a small part of the Level 1 sample sent for verification. Teachers and students wishing to know more about this mode of submission should consult the Level 2 Visual Arts External Assessment Report. The folios submitted for 90916 were by and large of a good quality and accurately assessed.

Visual Arts subject page

Previous years' reports
2018 (PDF, 130KB) 2017 (PDF, 54KB) 2016 (PDF, 222KB)

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us