Art and Design GCSE - yes or no?(11 Posts)
I know there has been a lot of discussion on here about art GCSE from some time back but I'm not sure if course work has changed much and I'm not sure if the same issues with Art apply to Art and Design. I don't know even if they are two different GCSEs!
Yr 9 DD has unexpectedly decided she wants to do art. The course is actually Edexell A&D when I checked the options booklet and in fact the school is going to be changing to AQA.
Firstly, is this a different course to be art GCSE that I have read so many horror stories about regarding workload?
Also, DD enjoys art but even she would admit it's not her strongest subject. As she would almost certainly get an a or a* if she chose a more academic subject, such as history, I'm just trying to get a feel for whether on balance taking art and design is going to have a great impact on her workload overall and her final grades.
It's now crunch time as she has to hand in her final options choices. DD herself is desperate to find out truthful information as to the level of coursework and how much it is likely to impact her terminal exams at the end of year 11 given that these days our kids are sitting many many exams in one go in the final summer.
My DS1 (now 19) did Art Graphics for GCSE, and it definitely had the highest workload. He didn't really enjoy it tbh. He loved producing the final piece of work for each topic that they did, but hated having to produce loads of background research and ideas in his sketchbook. He ended up with a B, but would have got a higher grade if he had put more effort into his sketchbook (which was submitted to be marked if I remember correctly).
Whether it's a good idea for your DD will probably depend on how much she enjoys all the background research etc.
My DD is doing A&D Edexcel. While she enjoys art generally and is (luckily) happy to spend lots of some weekends/half term doing art, it is very time consuming and extremely difficult to get the higher grades. She is still in two minds as to whether she made the right choice as happy to be doing subject but fully aware another option would have been easier.
In theory there should be no more than 1-2 hours of homework a week, however, a number of classmates (inc. DD !) have re-done pieces to improve them which while giving the opportunity to get a higher mark means doing everything twice (or more)....that's where the time goes. If you DD is a perfectionist be cautious. Having said that she is enjoying it and it makes a change from all essay subjects I'm told.
I would suggest asking to see sylabus as it seems to vary, compare it to the sylabus of the other options.
I have 2 DDs doing Art GCSE at the moment 1 in yr 11 and 1 in year 10. They both love Art and are always drawing even when not for coursework. Yr 11 DD has just finished her art exam which was 10 hours to produce her final pieces - so needs a lot of concentration and loads of work but on the positive side nearly all her work is done and she can now concentrate on the other subjects. (She's predicted an A* in Art).
I would say that if she thinks Art will be an easy option then to persuade her not to do it because it isn't. My Yr 10 DD is finding it harder but she isn't so quick and her predicted grade is an A a few weeks ago she was wishing she'd chosen Food Tech instead!!
My DS took AQA Art (not sure if it was just Art or Art & Design) last year and got an A* - he loved Art, but that, and Textiles, were by far the most intensive subjects - in my opinion, to do well, you have to put in a lot of effort for your sketchbook and portfolio. These two subjects took up a disproportionate amount of time, possibly at the expense of his other subjects, although he did much better overall than we were expecting. He wanted to do well as he was intending to do Art and Textiles at A level (though has subsequently dropped Art as at AS he found the workload from two Art based subjects was just overwhelming).
This year my DD is taking AQA Art - in fact she took the second part of the exam yesterday. Again she is on target for an A/A* but it has taken up a huge proportion of her time - luckily she has now got the exam out of the way, prior to the rest of the GCSEs in May/June, and she has kept on top of work for her sketchbook/portfolio, so it should not be too disruptive. She was originally going to choose Art at A level, but has now decided it would be better not to, as she thinks it will impact on her other subjects.
However, she has also taken Resistant Materials, and that seemed to be far less intensive - she completed her final project some time ago and is just working for the exam now, but says the written paper is very straightforward, and that she has really enjoyed the course as it has been a break from her more academic subjects.
If your daughter is likely to get better grades in a written subject and is not that bothered about Art she might be better taking something else - certainly she should not think that Art would be relaxing or an easy option. Of course, I am not sure whether Art & Design differs from Art in the context of AQA (my DCs have always just called it Art, and I can't find the documentation which confirms what the exam they are taking/took is titled). However, one bonus is that you get the exam element out of the way early - or certainly that is how my DCs school do it, it is two whole days in March (not sure if all schools do it like this?) and provided candidates have kept working on their sketchbooks/portfolios throughout the year, they should not have that much to do between now and when they have to submit the coursework, so it does free up time to revise for other subjects.
I am slightly concerned that she is considering Art instead of History. I would do the history but that is hard work too! You need to look at Art alongside other choices and make sure she has chosen the best spread of subjects.
Thank you for all your replies. We have had a night of soul searching before the option choices have to go in.
I agree about dropping history but she has lost all interest in it so we have compromised on RS instead of art! She is doing all the ebacc subjects including Latin French geog and three sciences so I do hope that will be a solid enough academic spread.
DD says - There is a lot of coursework and you have to work consistently throughout the 2 years. It's good for the discipline of "working in a different way", but if you get behind with coursework, you are stuffed.
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