Letters extra: GCSE art

5th October 2001 at 01:00

Julie Henry's article "Anger at art GCSE marking" (September 28), like the correspondence that preceded it throughout the summer, must make depressing reading to those who value creativity.

My own department has had at least several students gaining A* in GCSE art (Edexcel) regularly every year since the introduction of the higher grade. Suddenly and unaccountably this number has dropped to one or two, despite the fact that there have been no changes in staffing or resources within the department.

Most worrying are the six assessment objectives used to measure students' ability. Of particular concern is objective six. In order for students to achieve the top mark they must be fluent in specialist art vocabulary. This clearly counts against those who may be able artists but not very good with English.

Art is, by its nature, difficult to examine objectively. However, by introducing an unnecessarily complex series of assessment objectives examiners have left students and staff confused. Why can't art teachers be trusted to apply their own judgments to students' work? After all, they have been trained to do precisely that.

Mike Anderson
Bishop's Stortford,

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