A-level Art and Design

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1 A-level Art and Design ARTC3 & ARTC4 Graphic Communication Report on the Examination 2200 June 2013 Version: 1.0

2 Further copies of this Report are available from aqa.org.uk Copyright 2013 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. AQA retains the copyright on all its publications. However, registered schools/colleges for AQA are permitted to copy material from this booklet for their own internal use, with the following important exception: AQA cannot give permission to schools/colleges to photocopy any material that is acknowledged to a third party even for internal use within the centre.

3 General The work produced in schools and colleges included a wide range of traditional and contemporary practice and students engaged with a diverse range of ideas and materials. Fieldwork near to home provided many students with source materials. Others travelled further afield to particular locations, either independently or on fieldtrips organised by their teacher. Projects often started with analytical drawings produced directly from objects or specimens. Some students were selective and creative when they responded to found images. In portfolio extended projects and in the personal investigation, many students were provided with a number of starting points to choose from. However, some teachers provided students with a single, open-ended theme. In other schools and colleges, students devised their own starting points. There were many examples in which students demonstrated their awareness of, and concern for, a range of issues that affect people today. Some students responded to particular events such as conflicts, natural disasters, famine or civil unrest. Others explored more personal issues and events that involved friends, family and personal anxieties. Some of these responses were poignant and sensitively handled. Many schools and colleges provided introductory courses or projects at the start of the AS course. These introduced students to ways of investigating and developing ideas and to materials, processes and techniques. The development of skills and understanding of formal elements was important at AS. In the most successful work, high levels of drawing and observational skill were seen. Students are required to produce an extended personal project in the portfolio. Most students produced one or two projects that were personal in nature and which enabled them to provide evidence of all four Assessment Objectives. Some portfolios included examples of additional work produced in life-drawing classes, in skills-based workshops and from visits to museums, galleries and specific locations. Most students saw the Personal Investigation as an opportunity to work in depth and with increased independence. Sustained and focused investigations had a clear sense of purpose and successful work was coherent and fluent. The highest levels of engagement and enjoyment of art and design were evident in the most successful work that was often interesting, intriguing and exciting. Contextual materials informed the investigation and the development of ideas in different ways. It was not unusual to find examples that were influenced by several artists, each for different reasons and sometimes at different stages of the work. Students demonstrated their understanding of a wide variety of styles and conventions. Work in sketchbooks and on mounted sheets varied in quality. The most successful work provided a clear record of students investigations and the development of their ideas. Many examples were lively, thoughtful collections of work that were very personal and provided insights into a student s thinking. Some students presented their work on mounted sheets in addition to sketchbooks, or entirely on mounted sheets. The more successful students made carefully considered connections between images. Less successful students demonstrated a lack of selection and a cut-and-paste approach. When combined with basic recording skills this approach provided little evidence of a clear sense of direction. Some electronic sketchbooks and PowerPoint presentations were very skilfully organised and were very effective in providing evidence of the Assessment Objectives. Many students chose to include annotations. The most successful students recorded insights and observations that were very helpful. They also made clear the connections between different elements of the work. Some students provided annotations that simply described what they had 3 of 8

4 done, when it was clearly evident in their work. Others produced extensive annotations at the expense of their practical work. Copied and downloaded notes were rarely of value. Most students made use of ICT at some stage in their work, either in resourcing it or in the process of producing it. Digital cameras were used effectively to record good quality source material. Computers and the Internet were often used to access contextual material. For many students, the use of computer software was embedded within their studio practice and was used to manipulate images, to develop ideas and to produce finished work. Scanners, printers, photocopiers and projectors were also used in imaginative and resourceful ways. Administration, marking and moderation In most schools and colleges, mark sheets were completed correctly and were received by the deadline date. Problems occurred when Candidate Record Forms (CRFs) and Centre Declaration Sheets (CDSs) were not completed before the moderation visit. Some CRFs were not signed by the teacher(s) concerned, some did not match up with the work displayed and there were some transcriptional errors between the CRFs and Centre Mark Forms. Teachers comments on the CRFs were often very helpful. Preparation for moderation visits was generally very good. Samples were displayed as an exhibition or presented in folders. Labelling was usually clear, but there were exceptions. Displays were most helpful when different sets of work were clearly separated. Many teachers organised the samples in rank order which is helpful to moderators. Where work from different units of a particular candidate was displayed together it was not always a straightforward task to identify which work belonged to which unit. Most moderators were provided with a quiet, private space to work in. Teachers are reminded that moderation is a confidential process and the moderator must not be asked to mark work in public spaces. Many moderators commented on the positive approach of teachers to the moderation process and to the warm reception they received. However, there were occasions when they felt under pressure to reveal marks, which they cannot do. Familiarity with, and understanding of the assessment objectives resulted in accurate marking in the majority of schools and colleges. Problems generally occurred when teachers awarded their top performing student maximum marks when a lower mark was more appropriate. Many teachers commented on the value of standardisation meetings where examples of work at different levels can be seen. Erratic marking was often linked to non-attendance at these meetings. Assessment Objectives AO1 Successful students demonstrated the ability to develop ideas in a sustained and focused manner. Making reference to the work of other artists, designers, photographers and craftspeople informed the investigation and the development of ideas. This helped students to consider different approaches and to develop their own personal visual language. Analytical and critical understanding was evident in the choices and decisions made by students and in the connections they made between images. Written material often provided insights into students understanding and explained decisions made when developing their work. Less successful work was fragmented and intentions were not always clear. 4 of 8

5 AO2 An introductory project at the start of AS gave many students opportunities to develop a good basic understanding of a range of materials, processes and techniques. The development of skills in handling materials enabled students to articulate their ideas successfully and to refine them as the work progressed. The least successful work lacked basic skills which made it difficult for students to explore ideas. Some experimentation was gratuitous or repetitive and consequently lacked relevance and direction. AO3 Ideas, observations and insights were recorded in different ways. Digital cameras were often used as a tool to record source material. Many drawings and colour studies were fluent, articulate and a very high standard. Some studies were considered and closely observed whilst others were vigorous, expressive and much larger in scale. Ideas for compositions or layouts were often recorded in small sketches and working drawings. Contact prints, printouts of computer generated materials and textile samplers also provided evidence of recording observations and ideas. Students reflected on their work and progress, both visually and in written materials. Some of the least successful students provided large amounts of collected images and annotations which added little to their understanding. AO4 At AS, many students developed their skills and established a foundation of good working practice that enabled them to develop ideas successfully. At A2, the development of a personal visual language was much clearer and more confident. Choices, decisions and connections made in the work, demonstrated critical understanding. The majority of students realised their intentions in work that was clearly the culmination of a period of sustained, in-depth study. A rich variety of ideas and outcomes were seen and many responses were exciting and inventive. Personal Investigation (ARTC3) The Personal Investigation was an opportunity for students to continue to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding. There were many examples in which ideas were investigated in depth and developed with confidence and insight. Successful work demonstrated a clear understanding of visual language and design elements. In the majority of schools and colleges, well-designed courses and the expertise of art teachers provided students with opportunities to respond to the specification in a personal and creative manner. There were numerous examples of good practice and a diverse range of approaches was used. The most successful work was lively and enquiring and a product of rigorous investigation and development. Popular areas of study were the design of promotional material and corporate graphics. Examples included designs for posters, flyers, brochures, catalogues and banners for real or imagined events or locations. Packaging design produced many examples of imaginative work in which artwork and typography, shape, form and structure were well considered. Some fine examples of illustration were seen in both traditional and electronic media. High standards of drawing were seen in designs for book covers and illustrated double-page spreads. Many teachers provided students with a variety of open-ended starting points or design briefs to choose from. Starting points from previous question papers were used or adapted in some 5 of 8

6 schools. Where appropriate, fieldwork was used to collect source material and to explore examples of graphic design. This often added meaning to the investigation and to the development of ideas and helped students to develop their understanding of design context. Successful investigations were sustained, focused and well informed. There was clear evidence in initial research and in the development of ideas that thoughtful and considered decisions were made as the work progressed. Students selected materials, processes and techniques that were appropriate to their intentions and purposeful experimentation enabled them to refine their ideas. Less successful work was fragmented and there was little evidence of developing and refining ideas. Many students explored different ways of organising and manipulating their ideas through drawings, sketches, diagrams or printed images. Consideration was given to elements such as scale, space, layout and composition, tone and colour. Image quality and appropriate choices of typography were key elements in successful work. When developing their ideas, students made reference to a broad range of contemporary and historical practice and frequently identified interesting and rewarding examples of contextual material that genuinely informed the development of their work. It was clear that in most schools and colleges, investigating and responding to relevant examples of graphic design is firmly embedded within studio practice. Most students produced the written element of the Personal Investigation as an illustrated essay. Successful examples demonstrated analytical skill and provided valuable insights into the practical work. Externally Set Assignment (ARTC4) The starting points provided opportunities for students to work in their preferred area of study. Sustained and focused investigations enabled students to develop and refine their ideas. Successful work demonstrated students understanding and confidence in the manipulation of graphic design elements. Funfairs Imaginative and well-researched responses were seen in which students took the opportunity for relevant fieldwork. Digital photography was used to record light trails, funfair graphics and other visual material which captured atmosphere and movement. Found images were used selectively and some students included research into circus performers and Victorian side shows. Contextual material which included references to the fairground typography of Edwin Hall and Fred Howie, clearly informed the development of ideas. Satire Political figures were the most usual subjects but personalities from the world of television and entertainment were included in responses to this starting point. Some accomplished drawing and painting skills were evident alongside the use of electronic media. 6 of 8

7 Wm Cobb s Village Bakery This starting point elicited responses in which there was evidence of in-depth research and a variety of well-designed outcomes that included examples of logo and livery designs, promotional materials and packaging design. Some students made good use of photography in developing their ideas and sensitively produced illustrations formed the basis of a number of designs. Coast Students responded to a range of possibilities presented by this starting point. Graphics associated with the tourist industry were popular. Some students chose to explore seaside architecture or industries such as ship building and fishing. In many examples, designs for posters, brochures and webpages included high quality images where careful consideration had been given to the appropriateness of typography. Optakom Students developed their ideas with a wide range of approaches. Investigations into the ways of expressing and communicating different elements of the broadband provider were often fascinating and genuinely inventive. Typography was particularly well understood and many students were able to exploit their highly developed skills in manipulating electronic media. Regeneration A wide range of carefully considered work was seen based on local areas and existing or fictional regeneration projects. Fieldwork was used successfully to gather visual material using drawing and photography. Source material was used in a selective and discriminating manner. Approaches included designs for posters and promotional materials, corporate graphics and signage systems. Jago s Overlanders There were many examples of imaginative responses which successfully communicated the atmosphere of adventure travel. Where found images were used, students were creative in cropping, manipulating and juxtaposing images which were then integrated into cohesive designs. Crisis Today Students made strong connections with a diverse range of national and international issues that affect contemporary culture and society. Responses were often very personal. Successful work communicated ideas very clearly and demonstrated thoughtful and considered approaches to ideas and images. Mark Ranges and Award of Grades Grade boundaries and cumulative percentage grades are available on the Results Statistics page of the AQA Website. (please turn over for UMS converter) 7 of 8

8 Converting Marks into UMS marks Convert raw marks into Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) marks by using the link below. UMS conversion calculator 8 of 8

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