BA Phot

Assessment Criteria

Expressing your vision

Technical Skills - Quality - Creativity - Context

These are referred to occasionally in the course material. I have not actually got around to reading them yet [as at 6Oct18] , but the liklihood of that happening will increase if I have them readily available online.

[12Nov19] The instructions for C&N appear to be very similar.

In the introduction, called Before you start, it states,

Assignments form an important part of assessment for those students deciding on the degree pathway. However, please don’t feel too pressured because final assessment; marks at Levels 1 and 2 don’t affect the final outcome of a degree. Assessment at these levels is intended to give you an insight into how your work will be assessed within the context of the qualification, and to provide advice on going forward. The key to understanding this context is the assessment criteria taxonomy which is introduced at the end of Part One and discussed in greater detail in Parts Two to Five. EyV p. 6

and on page 10,

The assessment criteria are central to the assessment process for this course, so if you’re going to have your work assessed to gain formal credits, you’ll need to take note of these criteria and consider how each of the assignments you complete demonstrates evidence of each criterion. (There’s help with this at the end of Part One.) On completion of each assignment, and before you send your assignment to your tutor, test yourself against the criteria – in other words, do a self-assessment, and see how you think you would do. Note down your findings for each assignment you’ve completed in your learning log, noting all your perceived strengths and weaknesses, taking into account the criteria every step of the way. This will be helpful for your tutor to see, as well as helping you prepare for assessment.
Assessment criteria points
• Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills. (40%)
• Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas. (20%)
• Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention. (20%)
• Context – Reflection, research, critical thinking. (20%) EyV p. 10

On page 34, discussing feedback on Part 1 of the course, it states,

Tutor feedback may include references to the assessment criteria below. This is to give you a marker as to how you’re progressing should you choose to submit your work for assessment at the end of the course. EyV p.34

and the following table is shown:

EyV Page 34

Technical skills

On page 40, before exercise 2.1, the detailed description begins.

Assessment criteria: Technical skills
One of the aims of higher level study in the visual arts is technical excellence, and this is reflected in the weighting of the assessment criteria at Level 1 for ‘Technical and visual skills’ (40%). Unless you’re already confident with the practical aspects of the camera lens, take some time with the exercises below. Becoming fluent with lens techniques is just a matter of practice. You’re aiming to achieve a certain level of mastery over the lens in order to be able to successfully realise your ideas later on. By ‘mastery’, we mean a practical understanding gained through exploration and practice, rather than just a theoretical understanding gained from reading this course guide. EyV p. 40

At the end of the brief for assignment 2 (and asg 3, and 4), it states,

Check your work against the assessment criteria for this course before you send it to your tutor. Make some notes in your learning log about how well you believe your work meets each criterion. EyV p. 53


On page 61, after the brief for exercise 3.1, the Quality aspect is discussed,

Assessment criteria: Quality
Look again at the assessment criteria and you’ll see that the descriptors for ‘Quality of outcome’ seem to cover a lot of ground. As mentioned previously, Expressing your Vision aims to explore the ideas behind the techniques, and ‘communication of ideas’ is one of the descriptors for this criterion.
What is a ‘good idea’? Probably a good idea shouldn’t be too obvious or derivative. Maybe, in the final analysis, you only need one good idea to sustain a whole career in photography (Project 3 is about one such idea). Whichever way you see it, the communication of ideas will become more and more central to your work as you progress through Levels 2 and 3 of the degree programme.
One of the ways to communicate discernment and the development of your ideas is through the contact sheet. A digital contact sheet is just thumbnails of a sequence of shots, of course, but the important thing is that it’s an unedited sequence. Including an unedited sequence will allow your tutor to see and comment upon your selection process, which is an important part of the creative process as Boris Groys explains:
At least since Duchamp, it has been the case that selecting an artwork is the same as creating an artwork. That, of course, does not mean that all art since then has become readymade art. It does mean, however, that the creative act has become the act of selection. (Groys, 2013, p.93)
The editing process is probably at least 50% of the work of being a photographer, and what you find interesting in an image will evolve over your working life, so make a practice of keeping rather than deleting your outtakes.
You should annotate your contact sheets. As a minimum, indicate your ‘selects’, together with relevant shooting data and brief observations. This will add significant value to a contact sheet.
‘Quality’ also covers the presentation of your digital and print submissions. For a guide to the submission of digital files please read ‘Preparing Digital Image Files’ on the student website: link The assignment for Part Three is a print assignment. This will give your tutor the opportunity to feedback to you on print quality in plenty of time before assessment. EyV p.61

At the time of writing [6Oct18] the link is broken.


Creativity is discussed after exercise 4.4 on page 91,

Assessment criteria: Creativity
Many new students give the wish to be more ‘creative’ as one of their main reasons for enrolling on the programme, but at the same time ‘Creativity’ is the assessment criterion that seems to create a sense of bafflement, if not downright confusion, in many Level 1 students. As you can see from the taxonomy, the descriptors include imagination, invention, experimentation and development of a personal voice. At Level 1 you’re not expected to have found your ‘personal voice’ (expressing your personal voice will be one of the main aims of your Level 3 portfolio), but we are looking for a personal response and a willingness to experiment and venture out of your comfort zone.
If you make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’ it’s interesting to see how the pictures on the first few pages look quite similar. Many of them don’t seem to be about actual places and that’s because in a way they’re not: they’re more about an idea of landscape. Similarly, if you make an image search for ‘portrait’, you’ll find several pages of technically accomplished but similar images that conform to an idea of ‘portraiture’. In both cases the photographs are similar because they share the conventions of the genre. Most of the conventions used in photography for landscape, portraiture and still life come from the history of painting. EyV p. 91

The text goes on to discuss the subject at some length.


And finally Context on page 106, before exercise 5.2,

Assessment criteria
Context Reflection, research, critical thinking… Why is ‘Context’ such an important part of the assessment criteria? The word ‘mutable’ is sometimes used by writers when discussing photography:
Mutable: capable of change or of being changed (Merriam Webster online dictionary)
Some take this mutability (ability to mutate) so far as to say that photographs are essentially empty. Allan Sekula, for instance, says that photographs are a fragment of the world with just ‘the possibility of meaning’ (1982, in Bull, 2010, p.41). The meaning depends on the context – where the photograph is published or displayed, the caption or other text with it, the sequence of images around it. As you continue to take photographs on the OCA photography programme, you’ll also be developing a context for them, shifting the emphasis from formal and aesthetic concerns to include what you feel about it and want it to mean. This is the focus of the next course in the programme, Photography 1: Context and Narrative. EyV p.106


quote EyV p.


quote EyV p.


quote EyV p.


quote EyV p.