Drawing skills not required

10th August 2001 at 01:00
HAVING been involved in the assessment and moderation of the first AS-level in art I find myself deeply depressed by the changes being forced on us.

1.This one-year course does not allow or give credit for the development of maturity and skill. A young person who has a difficult start to the sixth-form, will carry that grade forward no matter what their development. I have talked to so many students who are demoralised by this. Many students will take much persuading to carry on to A2. I hear all too often "what is the point?" 2. The trend of students having to link their own work to that of other artists often leads to laboured, tenuous and superficial connections - and increasingly pastiche, not only is the student encouraged to do this, but they are penalised if they do not, whether it is appropriate or not.

3. This ASA2 system is badly thought out, and appallingly administered. The examining board I have used, so far, Edexel has instituted change after change during this first year.

4. The marking matrix is so unwieldy that our moderator, who marked 17 A-level students in two hours - took five and a half hours to mark 12 AS students.

The matrix makes no mention of words such as line, tone, form, shape - never mind drawing.

I am head of department with more than 30 years' experience. I have no belief in the educational value in the present AS course. The old A-level art gave credit for historical knowledge and developing art and craft skills. Why change it for a system that appears to reward little but superficiality?

Anne McPake Head of Art Penistone Grammar School Penistone, Sheffield

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