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Assessing Visual Arts Bodies of Work

Critical dialogue and marking

Critical dialogue involves discussing a body of work to draw out key features, strengths and consider all qualities of the submission in connection with your knowledge of the benchmarks and marking guidelines. It is a highly valuable step in assessing bodies of work. HSC markers are trained to ensure critical dialogue is always undertaken to unpack the standards within the BoW and before they determine their independent marks for a body of work.

This year, in the lead up to independently assessing works, each teacher is encouraged to engage in critical dialogue with a colleague who has completed the registered NESA Marking Support Pack professional learning. Visual arts teachers in the NSW Department of Education can use the Microsoft teams site – BoW Support Network to be allocated to a team of four in their local Principal network. The link for the team is at the bottom of the page.

In this series of seven videos two experienced Visual Arts teachers demonstrate a critical dialogue and consider each work in relation to the NESA Marking Support Pack benchmarks and marking criteria. These conversations were largely unscripted and reflect authentic conversations between two experienced art teachers.


Having accessed the NESA Marking Support Pack benchmarks and marking guidelines and completed the NESA professional learning teachers should use these examples to extend their knowledge and understanding.  The videos cover several different expressive forms and showcase artworks that are awarded a range of marks. Teachers are encouraged to work through the videos with a colleague and might take notes using the ‘Assessing bodies of work’ template. If you would like to award a mark to the body of work, pause the video at the end of the dialogue.


To access the 2020 NESA Marking Support pack:
Contact the COVID-19 support team
Call: 1300 138 323

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1. We Are Awakening

Expressive form – Photomedia

2. Unnatural Being Natural

Expressive form – Painting

3. Reevolution

Expressive form – Painting

4. Priesthood of Pop

Expressive form – Painting

5. Journey

Expressive form – Drawing

6. Elemental Mandala

Expressive form – Digital Media

7. Corner Store

Expressive form – Ceramics

Cathryn Horvat
Creative Arts Advisor 7-12

Carolyn Hammer
Digital Engagement Advisor

© State of New South Wales, Department of Education, 2021

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