Going into the IB Middle Years Program is very stressful for BSGE students, especially knowing how hard it is to get a 7 in many classes. Classes only get harder as the years go on and it frightens many students that no one has ever gotten a 7 in Higher Level (HL) IB Art. Only the hardest-working students receive 6s in the class. IB Art is a college course that BSGE offers in high school and not many people are naturally capable of completing a college-level art class. Even those who are talented in the field of art can find it challenging, since a lot of writing and research is involved in the class. “It’s all about figuring out what you want to make art about, which is a very difficult question to ask yourself,” Ms. Schwarz explained. One of the many reasons why attaining a 7 is so difficult is because the change in the class structure can be overwhelming. The art classes that taken before IB Art are preparations for the class. In IB Art, you have limitations and guidelines but no directives. Although this freedom may seem like a good thing, it comes with challenges. “There is nothing scarier than not knowing what you have to do,” Ms. Schwarz added.
Lack of exposure to the arts can also affect the grades that students receive in art. Art is not nearly as appreciated in American culture as science and mathematics are, so coming into this course is a fairly new experience. There are also other IB courses that BSGE students are taking, which require an equal amount of time and effort put into them. Finding the balance between these classes is important and means that your full attention cannot be turned to getting a 7 in art, but instead on passing every class. Just because no one has ever gotten a 7 in IB Art before does not mean it will never happen. Both Ms. Schwarz and Mr. Sheridan are positive it will happen soon. It is a learning experience for them too, as they enter their 4th year of teaching at BSGE. They have picked up new and more efficient teaching techniques that can help students obtain a 7. The grading format for IB Art has also changed; instead of the layout being entirely composed of 60% studio artwork and 40% research, planning and documentation, a third component is being added: “comparative art analysis.” Previously, if you did very well in one part of the course but did not do well in the other, your grade would dramatically decrease. With the third component there is a better spread of grades and it is easier to keep your grade up.
Some advice from Mr. Sheridan and Ms. Schwarz is to take risks. Do the unexpected and see what you’re capable of. Don’t be a perfectionist and don’t hold yourself up to professional standards because as time goes on you will get better. If you are too self-critical you will only make yourself do worse. If you think you did something wrong or want to improve, ask for help because you can’t learn if you never ask.