The NEW Leaving Cert Art course will be carried out in 2018 for the first time by our current 5th years.

1.       Art History. 150 marks
The art history component will remain unchanged. It is about one third of the course and it consists of 3 essays. The exam takes place in June.

2.       Life drawing. 50 marks
This exam consists of 2 drawings of a model and these drawings are now graded in house alongside the other practical components. This is beneficial to the student as previously the components were graded separately and the examiners did not get an overall view of the students abilities.

3.        Imaginative composition/Still life and the craft exam. 200 marks
These 2 exams are the area where drawing skills, creativity and craft skills combine to showcase all the candidates abilities. In the past these 2 exams were carried out under exam conditions and gave the student no opportunity to show the creative process that leads to the finished piece.

The big advantage of the new course is the move away from exam based approach and recognition that best practice in the Art World is the creative process.

The students now submit a coursework notebook (portfolio) of all their drawings and development work and then the 2 finished pieces.

There is also a move towards higher order thinking  and mindmapping when exploring the  chosen themes as opposed to one word themes from the past.

The students are encouraged to explore the themes and form their own personal direction for their own project. This is also a move towards individualism and self direction and responsibility of your own work and again is in keeping with best practice.

There is also a move away from copying which is rife because of the nature of the exam. It is clearly stated that the work will be from primary source objects and or photography and or imagination and that the process is an exploration of the gathered sources with considerable development of ideas leading to the finished piece.

Assessment and results

The art history will be assessed with all other written papers.

All the practical work will be assessed in house.

The time frame for the practical work is 10 weeks from Jan onwards in 6th year.

It clearly states on the circulars from the Department that all the work should be done in school and parents and students should not be concerned that the project will eat into the other subjects.

In terms of results in the past it has been really difficult to get an A at higher level and there has always been a lot of anger about this as what is required to get an A is always unclear.

It is hoped that this approach will lead to more clarity and fairness and ultimately all  students getting the grade they deserve.

It is also a much better system for students who work slowly of have great difficulty performing under pressure as now the work is progressive rather than exam based.

It also leads to a much greater sense of pride if all your work is being seen by an examiner as opposed to a piece done in one day.

For students who are preparing a portfolio for ArtCollege they will find that the 2 processes work hand in hand and one will help the other.

Increasingly in the last few years past pupils who are studying architecture or related courses tell me that the combination of Art and DCG is the best combination.

Overall the new system is more creative, more in keeping with best practice and more connected to the real art world.

Newbridge College Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland Tel: +353 45 487200 Fax: +353 45 487234 Email: info@newbridge-college.ie