Online since 2004.  This page last updated Jan 2017

Upper School Visual Arts Department

Here you can get a glimpse of the Visual Arts Curriculum, from grades 6 to 12 at FIS. Scroll down to get a glimpse of what students study in the art studios at FIS.

Visual Arts Curriculum at FIS, grades 6 to 12

 

Philosophy

 

The Visual Arts program is designed to help students develop creative and practical skills in order to understand more about the visual world in which they live and to appreciate the arts and crafts of diverse cultures in the world.   Students learn about art through creative process learning strategies which often seek to make direct and tangible links with what they are studying in other subjects.   All major areas of visual expression are experienced including drawing, painting, ceramics, wood, stone and plaster sculpture, printmaking, photography, digital film and video editing.

 

General Description

 

All students in grades 6 and 7 can opt to take one semester of visual arts per year. This general art course meets three times per eight-day cycle for 50 minutes.  Additionally, Grade 6 and 7 students who opt out of taking a third language can take a semester of 3-D Sculpture and Ceramics, a course with Ms Hirao which meets 6 times per eight-day cycle for 50 minutes.

 

All students in grade 8 can must take one semester of visual arts during the year. This general art course meets three times per eight-day cycle for 50 minutes.  Additionally, Grade 8 students who opt out of taking a third language can take a semester of Printmaking in the Studio, a course with Mr Trebel which meets 6 times per eight-day cycle for 50 minutes.

 

Grade 9 Visual Arts is an elective course, meeting for 50 minutes, three times per eight-day cycle for the entire year.

 

Grade 10 Foundations Art is an elective course that meets for 50 minutes, 5 times per eight-day cycle for the entire year and is generally regarded as the mandatory preparatory course for the Diploma Level Visual Arts course in grades 11 and 12.

 

Due to an increasing involvement and awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary work in the school-wide program, the nature of many of the projects completed by students in Grades 6-10 Visual Arts classes rely heavily upon materials and issues covered in other subjects.

 

For an overview of the material and projects of the Visual Arts courses at FIS please click on the link below (this will start download of the document).

 

Grade 6-12 Visual Arts Curriculum Overview

 

To download the entire First Steps to Grade 10 Visual Arts Scope & Sequence document, including all the expected learner outcomes for each grade level, please click on the link below:

 

FIS Visual Arts Complete Scope & Sequence

 

Assessment in the Visual Arts

 

Students at FIS are assessed in their art courses according to the Upper School Visual Arts Department Assessment Policy (Latest revision Nov 2016).  From grades 6 to 8, student performance is evaluated by four fundamental criteria:   Creative Process, Elements and Principles of Art and Design, Reflection and Appreciation and Visual Arts in Society.

 

In Grade 9, these criteria take on additional refinement by emphasizing how the student develops coherence (Coherence of Work) in his or her work and how well the student begins to handle materials (Skills and Techniques).

 

In Grade 10 (Foundations Art) in addition to the refinements mentioned above, all four of the initial criteria are further focused towards looking at how a student critically investigates his or her work (Critical Investigation), begins to use his/her sketchbook as a means of communicating their intentions in their studio work (Communication/Intent) and shows evidence of awareness of the developing conceptual qualities of their work and the work of others (Conceptual Qualities).

 

By grade 11 (IB Diploma Level Visual Arts) the student is prepared for the 14 very particular Visual Arts criteria prescribed by the Diploma Level Guidelines.  These are to be used in examining students in the three components of the Diploma program in Visual Arts:

 

 

Formal Analysis

Interpretation (Function/Purpose)

Evaluation (Cultural Significance)

Comparison/Connections                                        20% Comparative

Presentation/Vocabulary                                                  Study

Links to Own Artwork (HL only)

 

Skills, techniques and process

Critical Investigation

Communication/Intent                                                 40%  Exhibition

Reflection/Refinement

 

Coherence of Portfolio

Technical Competence

Conceptual Qualities                                                     40%  Process

Curatorial Practice                                                                  Portfolio

 

 

Achievement Descriptors

 

The assessment criteria and the various assessment tasks help both the student and the teacher arrive at an understanding of the student's performance. Descriptors for each criteria are applied to a point scale to help the teacher determine a student's grade in that area of consideration. Finally, a holistic grade of 1-7 is derived from the marks in the various criteria, corresponding to the International Baccalaureate's overall descriptors of the 1-7 scale:

 

GRADE

DESCRIPTOR

 

7

Excellent performance: Demonstrates in a highly consistent manner: excellent growth and a strong relationship between research and artistic production; thorough command of topics/concepts; highly developed understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in more than one cultural context; excellent critical analysis; excellent exploration of ideas, and meaningful and creative studio works, excellent technical ability and effective setting and solving of artistic problems.

 

6

Very good performance: Demonstrates in a very consistent manner: very good growth and a sound relationship between research and artistic production; thorough understanding of most topics/concepts; understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in more than one cultural context; very good critical analysis; very good exploration of ideas, and meaningful and creative studio works, very good technical ability and setting and solving of artistic problems.

 

5

Good performance: Demonstrates in a consistent manner: good growth and a good relationship between research and artistic production; generally sound understanding of most topics/concepts; understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in more than one cultural context; good critical analysis; good exploration of ideas, and mostly meaningful and creative studio works, good technical ability and setting and solving of artistic problems.

 

4

Satisfactory performance: Demonstrates in a fairly consistent manner: satisfactory growth and an adequate relationship between research and artistic production; satisfactory understanding of most topics/concepts; adequate understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in more than one cultural context; satisfactory critical analysis; satisfactory exploration of ideas, and some meaningful studio works, satisfactory technical ability and solving of basic and routine formal and technical problems.

 

3

Medíocre performance: Demonstrates: mediocre growth and a partial relationship between research and artistic production; mediocre understanding of some topics/concepts; partial understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in more than one cultural context; limited critical analysis; some mediocre exploration of ideas, and the limited development of a few meaningful studio works, mediocre technical ability and solving of some basic and routine formal and technical problems.

 

2

Poor performance: Demonstrates: poor growth and a limited relationship between research and artistic production; weak understanding of topics/concepts; poor understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in one or sometimes more cultural contexts; little capacity for critical analysis; poor exploration of ideas and the limited development of studio works, poor technical ability and solving of a few basic or routine formal and technical problems.

 

1

Very poor performance: Demonstrates: very poor growth and a very limited relationship, if any, between research and artistic production; very weak understanding of topics/concepts; very poor understanding of sociocultural and historical perspectives in one or sometimes more cultural contexts; very little capacity for critical analysis, if any; very poor exploration of ideas in studio works, very poor technical ability and very occasional solving of basic or routine formal and technical problems.

 

Fifteen Years of IB Diploma Results in Visual Arts at FIS in review and analysis: Using Data to Improve Student Results

 

We Ask the Questions: How do our results stand up against the World Average scores in IB Visual Arts? What variables might affect our students' achievement in their marks on the exam from year to year?

 

These are, to be sure, important questions. Ones that might lead to a better art experience and better education in Visual Arts for any student. To answer them, we took fifteen years worth (2001- 2011) of our IB results data and sifted through them. We looked at FIS average scores versus world average scores. We examined the numbers of students in our classes and compared these numbers with the teachers who taught them and the scores they averaged. No individual student records were identified in our analyses, and no student numbers or names were accessed. What emerged were some important observations:

 

  • After rising steadily throughout the period in question (2001-2016), our average this last year, 5.62, was nearly a full point higher than it was fifteen years ago and had been consistently so for the past five years.
  • The FIS averages, with very few exceptions, continually rose against the world average over the course of our fifteen-year sample period. That was, indeed, reassuring. Chiefly because it is difficult to move an average with mid-size-to-larger classes over a longer span of time. However, it also tells us that, despite the facts that our demographics and our mission have changed slightly over that time, our results have continued to improve.
  • Class sizes seemed to have little to do with the resulting averages. Despite our suspicions, class sizes, from 5 to 20, had little to do with how well our students did overall. A mark of stability? Consistency? Or a measure of a well established and finely-focused curriculum?
  • Over time, Standard level students tend to fare better (percentage-wise) than Higher level students. Is this an issue? For several practical reasons, this seems to be a foregone conclusion: Higher level students have to meet higher expectations and face more challenging grade boundaries. But should this necessarily translate into lower scores? This is a question that remains tantalizingly unanswered and one which we continue to pursue. More info to follow!
  • Our results remain steadily high against the IB world average, despite the fact that we do not have any admissions testing or prerequisite entrance courses and offer the IB DIploma available to all students. Our data indicates that we are fulfilling the very essence of our Mission Statement in that respect.
  • For a full PDF graphic breakdown of the IB Visual Arts data from the 2000-01 school year to the 2015-2016 school year (no individual candidate names or numbers are cited) please click here on IB Visual Arts Results 2001-16.

 

Our continued efforts to gather, group, analyze and benefit from the data that result from our students undergoing the IB Visual Arts Diploma level exam, and our willingness to make that data public, reflects our determination to constantly strive to improve our performance as a department and to support our school in its continuing role as a leader in international education.

 

 

A world of opportunities

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