Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers

The AS specification is designed to be taken over one or two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course. The A-level specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course.

Assessments and certification for the AS specification are eligible for submission for the first time in May/June 2016 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

Assessments and certification for the A-level specification are eligible for submission for the first time in May/June 2017 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

These are linear qualifications. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments in May/June in a single year. All assessments must be taken in the same series.

All materials are available in English only.

Synoptic assessment in Art and Design involves students in:

  • drawing together the knowledge, understanding and skills learned in different parts of the course
  • selecting and presenting work which demonstrates their strengths across the areas of knowledge and the range of skills described and shows their ability to sustain their own lines of enquiry
  • bringing together and making connections between the areas of knowledge, the work of artist(s), designer(s), photographers or craftspeople and the range of skills described and learned throughout the course and applying this by responding to one or more of:
    • a stimulus or issue
    • a design brief or problem
    • a task which specifies an image, object or other outcome to be achieved.

AS

There is synoptic assessment in both components of the AS that provide stretch and challenge opportunities for students as follows:

In Component 1, students produce an extended collection of work that exemplifies aspects of their developing knowledge, skills and understanding. It should provide evidence of research, the development of ideas, making skills and critical/contextual understanding. It should demonstrate the student’s ability to sustain work from an initial starting point to a realisation.

In Component 2, students respond to a stimulus, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to research and develop ideas and to make clear the link between their own and others’ work within specified time constraints.

A-level

There is synoptic assessment in both components of the A-level that provide stretch and challenge opportunities for students as follows:

In Component 1, students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical elements should make connections with some aspect of contemporary or past practice of artist(s), designer(s), photographers or craftspeople and include written work of no less than 1000 and no more than 3000 words which supports the practical work.

In Component 2, students respond to a stimulus, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints, developing a personal and meaningful response which addresses all the assessment objectives and leads to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes.

Aims

Courses based on these specifications should encourage students to develop:

  • intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive capabilities
  • investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement
  • independence of mind in developing, refining and communicating their own ideas, their own intentions and their own personal outcomes
  • an interest in, enthusiasm for and enjoyment of art, craft and design
  • the experience of working with a broad range of media
  • an understanding of the interrelationships between art, craft and design processes and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate
  • knowledge and experience of real-world contexts and, where appropriate, links to the creative industries
  • knowledge and understanding of art, craft, design and media and technologies in contemporary and past societies and cultures
  • an awareness of different roles, functions, audiences and consumers of art, craft and design.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all AS and A-level Art and Design specifications and all exam boards.

The assessments will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

  • AO1: Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.
  • AO2: Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
  • AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.
  • AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Weighting of assessment objectives for AS Art and Design

The assessment objectives are equally weighted within each component. The table shows the approximate weighting of each of the assessment objectives across all components.

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting of AOs (approx %)
Component 1 Component 2
AO1 15 10 25
AO2 15 10 25
AO3 15 10 25
AO4 15 10 25
Overall weighting of components 60 40 100

Weighting of assessment objectives for A-level Art and Design

The assessment objectives are equally weighted within each component. The table shows the approximate weighting of each of the assessment objectives across all components.

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting of AOs (approx %)
Component 1 Component 2
AO1 15 10 25
AO2 15 10 25
AO3 15 10 25
AO4 15 10 25
Overall weighting of components 60 40 100

Quality of making

The ability to handle materials, techniques and processes effectively, skilfully and safely underpins all the assessment objectives. It is important in enabling students to develop a personal language, to express ideas and to link their intentions to outcomes in a confident and assured manner.

Assessment criteria

AS

The assessment criteria must be applied to the assessment of students’ work for all components. The assessment objectives are equally weighted in each of the components. The Assessment criteria grid indicates the levels of response which would be expected for the award of marks in the ranges shown. It should be noted that the ranges have been drawn up to assist teachers in identifying individual levels of response and do not, in themselves, constitute grade descriptions.

Each component is marked out of a total of 96 marks. As the assessment objectives are equally weighted in each of the components, there is a maximum of 24 marks for each of the assessment objectives. The marks, out of 24, for each assessment objective must be added together to produce the total mark out of 96.

You are required to provide a mark for each of the assessment objectives separately in accordance with the assessment criteria and a total mark out of 96 must be provided for each component. The assessment grid must be used to identify the student’s level of performance in relation to each of the assessment objectives.

Six mark band descriptors are provided, with a range of marks for each of the four assessment objectives.

A Candidate record form must be completed for each student for each component. When completing the Candidate record form the teacher should decide which mark band descriptor best describes the student’s performance for each assessment objective, then circle the appropriate mark. These marks should be transferred to the ‘mark awarded’ row and added together. This total should be entered in the ‘total mark’ box to the right of the grid.

Four marks are available for each mark band in each assessment objective. The lower mark indicates that the student has just met the requirements described in that particular band, the next mark indicates that evidence is adequate, the next that evidence is clear and the higher mark indicates that evidence is convincing but that the student has just failed to meet the requirements set out in the next band.

Assessing to the correct standard

Work submitted for assessment for AS components is assessed at a standard that can be reasonably expected of a student after 180 guided learning hours (GLH).

If your school or college offers the Art, craft and design title alongside endorsed titles, evidence of an area of study for the Art, craft and design title must be assessed to the same standard as it would for the relevant endorsed title.

To ensure you mark to the correct standard:
  • all teachers delivering the course must access the on-line exemplification materials (provided on e-AQA) at the start of the course
  • a senior representative from your school or college, with responsibility for conducting internal standardisation, must also attend a teacher standardisation meeting in the autumn/spring term.

For more information on attendance at Teacher standardisation meetings and Internal standardisation refer to sections Teacher standardisation and Internal standardisation

Assessment criteria grid

The grid further expands on the assessment objectives. It should be used to mark students’ work and to complete Candidate record forms.

Assessment Objective 1 Assessment Objective 2 Assessment Objective 3 Assessment Objective 4
Marks

Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding

Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops

Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress

Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements

24 Convincingly
  • An exceptional ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates exceptional analytical and critical understanding.
  • An exceptional ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, material, techniques and processes.
  • Reviews and refines ideas in a confident and purposeful manner as work develops.
  • An exceptional ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates an exceptional ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • An exceptional ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates an exceptional ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.
23 Clearly
22 Adequately
21 Just
20 Convincingly
  • A confident and highly developed ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates confident and highly developed analytical and critical understanding.
  • A confident and highly developed ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • Reviews and refines ideas in a confident manner as work develops.
  • A confident and highly developed ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates a confident and highly developed ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • A confident and highly developed ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates a highly developed ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.
19 Clearly
18 Adequately
17 Just
16 Convincingly
  • A consistent ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates consistent analytical and critical understanding.
  • A consistent ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • Reviews and refines ideas with increasing confidence as work develops.
  • A consistent ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates a consistent ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • A consistent ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates a consistent ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.
15 Clearly
14 Adequately
13 Just
12 Convincingly
  • A reasonably consistent ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates reasonably consistent analytical and critical understanding.
  • A reasonably consistent ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and process.
  • Reviews and refines ideas with a degree of success as work develops.
  • A reasonably consistent ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates a reasonably consistent ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • A reasonably consistent ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates a reasonably consistent ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.
11 Clearly
10 Adequately
9 Just
8 Convincingly
  • Some ability to develop ideas and sustain investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates some analytical and critical understanding.
  • Some ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and process.
  • Reviews and refines ideas with limited success as work develops.
  • Some ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates some ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • Some ability to present a personal and meaningful response which is uneven.
  • Demonstrates some ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.
7 Clearly
6 Adequately
5 Just
4 Convincingly
  • Minimal ability to develop ideas and sustain investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates minimal analytical and critical understanding.
  • Minimal ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and process.
  • Minimal evidence of reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
  • Minimal ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates minimal ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • Minimal ability to present a personal and meaningful response, limited by a lack of skill and understanding.
  • Demonstrates minimal ability to realise intentions and, where appropriate, make connections between visual and other elements.
3 Clearly
2 Adequately
1 Just
0

No work

A-level

The assessment criteria must be applied to the assessment of students’ work for all components. The assessment objectives are equally weighted in each of the components. The Assessment criteria grid indicates the levels of response which would be expected for the award of marks in the ranges shown. It should be noted that the ranges have been drawn up to assist teachers in identifying individual levels of response and do not, in themselves, constitute grade descriptions.

Each component is marked out of a total of 96 marks. As the assessment objectives are equally weighted in each of the components, there is a maximum of 24 marks for each of the assessment objectives. The marks, out of 24, for each assessment objective must be added together to produce the total mark out of 96.

You are required to provide a mark for each of the assessment objectives separately in accordance with the assessment criteria and a total mark out of 96 must be provided for each component. The assessment grid must be used to identify the student’s level of performance in relation to each of the assessment objectives.

Six mark band descriptors are provided, with a range of marks for each of the four assessment objectives.

A Candidate record form must be completed for each student for each component. When completing the Candidate record form the teacher should decide which mark band descriptor best describes the student’s performance for each assessment objective, then circle the appropriate mark. These marks should be transferred to the ‘mark awarded’ row and added together. This total should be entered in the ‘total mark’ box to the right of the grid.

Four marks are available for each mark band in each assessment objective. The lower mark indicates that the student has just met the requirements described in that particular band, the next mark indicates that evidence is adequate, the next that evidence is clear and the higher mark indicates that evidence is convincing but that the student has just failed to meet the requirements set out in the next band.

Assessing the Personal investigation

This is a practical component supported by written material. The practical work and written material must be assessed as an integrated whole. The practical work and the written material must be assessed together using the assessment grid to select which of the six mark band descriptors for each assessment objective best describes the student’s overall performance.

The written material and practical work must each show evidence of meeting all four assessment objectives.

Once the mark band has been selected the mark qualifiers ‘just’, ‘adequately’, ‘clearly’ or ‘convincingly’ should be applied to determine the specific mark within the band.

For further guidance on assessing the Personal investigation refer to the online exemplification materials at the start of the course. Please also see section Teacher standardisation for more information about Teacher standardisation meetings.

Assessing to the correct standard

Work submitted for assessment for A-level components is assessed at a standard that can be reasonably expected of a student after a full A-level course of study, 360 guided learning hours (GLH).

If your school or college offers the Art, craft and design title alongside endorsed titles, evidence of an area of study for the Art, craft and design title must be assessed to the same standard as it would for the relevant endorsed title.

To ensure you mark to the correct standard:
  • all teachers delivering the course must access the on-line exemplification materials (provided on e-AQA) at the start of the course
  • a senior representative from your school or college, with responsibility for conducting internal standardisation, must also attend a teacher standardisation meeting in the autumn/spring term.

For more information on attendance at Teacher standardisation meetings and Internal standardisation refer to sections Teacher standardisation and Internal standardisation

Assessment criteria grid

The grid further expands on the assessment objectives. It should be used to mark students’ work and to complete Candidate record forms.

Assessment Objective 1 Assessment Objective 2 Assessment Objective 3 Assessment Objective 4

Marks

Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding

Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops

Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress

Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements

24 Convincingly
  • An exceptional ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates exceptional analytical and critical understanding.
  • Demonstrates fluent use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.
  • An exceptional ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, material, techniques and processes.
  • Reviews and refines ideas in a confident and purposeful manner as work develops.
  • An exceptional ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates an exceptional ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • An exceptional ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates an exceptional ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual, written and other elements.
  • Exceptionally clear, coherent and accurate use of language.
23 Clearly
22 Adequately
21 Just
20 Convincingly
  • A confident and highly developed ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates confident and highly developed analytical and critical understanding.
  • Demonstrates assured use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.
  • A confident and highly developed ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • Reviews and refines ideas in a confident manner as work develops.
  • A confident and highly developed ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates a confident and highly developed ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • A confident and highly developed ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates a highly developed ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual, written and other elements.
  • Clear, coherent and accurate use of language.
19 Clearly
18 Adequately
17 Just
16 Convincingly
  • A consistent ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates consistent analytical and critical understanding.
  • Demonstrates consistent use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.
  • A consistent ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • Reviews and refines ideas with increasing confidence as work develops.
  • A consistent ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates a consistent ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • A consistent ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates a consistent ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual, written and other elements.
  • Generally clear, coherent and accurate use of language.
15 Clearly
14 Adequately
13 Just
12 Convincingly
  • A reasonably consistent ability to develop ideas through sustained investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates reasonably consistent analytical and critical understanding.
  • Demonstrates reasonably consistent use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.
  • A reasonably consistent ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and process.
  • Reviews and refines ideas with a degree of success as work develops.
  • A reasonably consistent ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates a reasonably consistent ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • A reasonably consistent ability to present a personal and meaningful response.
  • Demonstrates a reasonably consistent ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual, written and other elements.
  • Basic clarity, coherence and accuracy in using language.
11 Clearly
10 Adequately
9 Just
8 Convincingly
  • Some ability to develop ideas and sustain investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates some analytical and critical understanding.
  • Demonstrates limited use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.
  • Some ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and process.
  • Reviews and refines ideas with limited success as work develops.
  • Some ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates some ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • Some ability to present a personal and meaningful response which is uneven.
  • Demonstrates some ability to successfully realise intentions and, where appropriate, makes connection between visual, written and other elements.
  • Limited clarity, coherence and accuracy in using language.
7 Clearly
6 Adequately
5 Just
4 Convincingly
  • Minimal ability to develop ideas and sustain investigations, informed by contextual and other sources.
  • Demonstrates minimal analytical and critical understanding.
  • Demonstrates little or no use of appropriate specialist vocabulary.
  • Minimal ability to explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and process.
  • Minimal evidence of reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
  • Minimal ability to record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions.
  • Demonstrates minimal ability to reflect critically on work and progress.
  • Minimal ability to present a personal and meaningful response, limited by a lack of skill and understanding.
  • Demonstrates minimal ability to realise intentions and, where appropriate, make connections between visual, written and other elements.
  • Unclear and often inaccurate language is used.
3 Clearly
2 Adequately
1 Just
0

No work

Assessment weightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students' final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

AS

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
AS Component 1 Portfolio 96 x3 288
AS Component 2 Externally set assignment 96 x2 192
    Total scaled mark: 480

A-level

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
A-level Component 1 Personal investigation 96 x3 288
A-level Component 2 Externally set assignment 96 x2 192
    Total scaled mark: 480