How Art History students are assessed at Warwick
As you can imagine, it can be difficult to assess Art Historians as the discipline is mostly image based and good knowledge of theory and history as well as strong visual analysis and technical understanding is required. Here at Warwick, assessment can be made across a few different methods to try to ensure that a balanced evaluation is made of a student’s overall ability.
Over the course of each year, I have been required to write an essay on each module that they take. For short modules, this usually consists of a 2000-word essay while long view modules usually require 3000-word essays. For each topic, I have been provided with 5 different essay questions or statements which relate to the content of the module and I then choose the question that I would most like to write about. Generally, essays are worth about 40% of your overall marks for each module but this can vary.
2) Slide Tests
Slide Tests are usually only used for long view modules and consist of a less formal examination in which I have been placed in exam conditions and 2 to 3 pairs of images appear on a PowerPoint presentation up on large screens which I then have to compare, contrast, analyse and provide as much tombstone information for each image as possible (Tombstone information includes the artist’s name, the title of the artwork, the date of the artwork, medium, dimensions and current location in order of importance.) The images are usually artworks which have been studied in depth during lectures, seminars and sometimes on site visits to galleries. Slide Tests tend to be used to understand how good a student’s short term-memory is of the module content and are usually worth a smaller percentage of the overall module grade.
3) Formal Examinations
Formal exams take place in the summer and are the main form of assessment. Similar to the Slide Tests, I have received 2 to 3 pairs of images, which either appear on a PowerPoint presentation up on large screens or are provided in an envelope for some short modules. Again, I then have to compare, contrast, analyse and provide as much tombstone information for each image as possible. However, I tend to get much more time to do revision of the module content and images and it is often possible to anticipate or have a general idea of what the content may be due to revision sessions set up by tutors. Formal exams tend to be worth 40 – 50% of the overall marks for each module.
4) Presentations and engagement
During seminars, site visits and presentations on a particular artwork, artist or topic, I have been assessed on my ability to contribute through spoken engagement, my ability to provide information and knowledge and my aptitude in asking any questions that may further discussion or debate. Spoken engagement usually counts towards 10% of the overall grade for each module.
So there you have it, these methods may be very different to assessment methods found in other studies and degrees but I think they provide the most well-rounded estimation of the individual skills needed in order to be a successful Art Historian.
Thanks for reading!