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Visual Arts

The IB Diploma Programme visual is taught at Standard and Higher Level, and will suit students who are highly motivated and who can work independently.

The course encourages students to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. It is a thought-provoking course in which students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking, while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as art-makers. In addition to exploring and comparing visual arts from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media. The course is designed for students who want to go on to study visual arts in higher education as well as for those who are seeking lifelong enrichment through visual arts.

Within the Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL),  the principal difference lies in the recommended class hours required for completing each course.The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL. Students are assessed both externally and internally within 3 Units of Coursework. The outline of these Units are listed below;

External Assessment tasks

Task 1: Comparative study ~ Standard Level - 20% / Higher Level - 20%              

Students analyse and compare different artworks by different artists. This independent critical and contextual investigation explores artworks, objects and artifacts from differing cultural contexts.

At SL: Compare at least 3 different artworks, by at least 2 different artists, with commentary over 10–15 pages.                                                                                        

At HL: As SL plus a reflection on the extent to which their work and practices have been influenced by any of the art/artists examined (3–5 pages).


Task 2: Process portfolio ~ Standard Level - 40% / Higher Level - 40%

Students submit carefully selected materials which evidence their experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of visual arts activities during the two-year course.

At SL: 9–18 pages. The submitted work should be in at least two different art-making forms.       

At HL: 13–25 pages. The submitted work should be in at least three different art-making forms.


Internal assessment task        

Task 3: Exhibition ~ Standard Level - 40% / Higher Level - 40%

Students submit for assessment a selection of resolved artworks from their exhibition. The selected pieces should show evidence of their technical accomplishment during the visual arts course and an understanding of the use of materials, ideas and practices appropriate to visual communication.

At SL: 4–7 pieces with exhibition text for each. A curatorial rationale (400 words maximum).

At HL: 8–11 pieces with exhibition text for each. A curatorial rationale (700 words maximum)


All work is developed using sketchbooks, Google Slide and Microsoft Powerpoint. Students are expected to develop their Process Portfolio and Comparative Study within this format as all work is electronically uploaded for examination at the end of the year.