Arts Award Blog

Tips for Assessment: Explore

Author: Alan Lynch

Date: 27 Jun 2016

Many advisers reading this will be winding their projects to a close, and that involves assessing young people’s work. We’ve recently talked about moderation – and have previously offered some advice on Explore Part D – but now we want to share some tips on assessing Explore overall! The team deal with a lot of queries from advisers around this time of year, not to mention hearing feedback from moderators, and this advice is based on some of the common points raised.

This isn’t intended as a substitute for your toolkit, nor will it cover every potential question you might have. But hopefully we can guide you through some of the issues that other advisers have asked us about.

Part A: inspire

In Part A, young people take part in more than one arts activity before reflecting on what has inspired them about taking part, and if there is no evidence of either of these then the part cannot be marked as a pass.

What occasionally happens here is that the activities for Part A aren’t clearly distinguished from another part – Part A should be a distinct activity. It can certainly influence work elsewhere (for instance an introduction to painting for Part A could result in a young person creating a new painted piece in Part C) but they cannot be part of the same activity.AARamsey-158-2

And always remember to capture young people’s reflection! It doesn’t have to be a detailed written report and can be presented in any format, but we want young people to recognise what about taking part has inspired them.

Part B: explore

This is where young people get to find out about the work of artists and arts organisations. It’s really important that they cover both! Sometimes a young person will share have an interesting look at an artist but not mention an arts organisation (and vice-versa), which means that Part B has only been attempted.

We need to know about the work that artists and arts organisations do. Arts logs might include clear evidence that young people visited a museum, for instance, but focus on what the building looks like. Unfortunately this wouldn’t be enough to pass – young people should be encouraged to explore the work being done within the arts!

Part C: create

As in Part A, make sure that this is a distinct piece of work. Young people can create something inspired by the skills developed for Part A, but we want them to create something brand new!

Document the creation of the new work too. We want to see how young people created their art work as well as the final piece itself. Include as much as you can: sketches, rough drafts, photographs, notes etc.

Part D: present

To repeat what we’ve said before – Part D should be based on the whole Explore journey. This is an opportunity for young people to consider what they’ve achieved or enjoyed throughout Parts A, B and C and share that with other people. They might’ve loved singing in Part A, or getting to know more about an actor in Part B, and this is where they get to tell someone about it.

Peterborough Museum_Gallery.JPGSometimes in Part D we’ll see young people present what they created in Part C without clearly identifying that this is what they enjoyed most from their Explore award. Unfortunately this isn’t enough to pass Part D, so always make sure that young people have identified what they achieved or enjoyed through completing all of their Explore award.

Assessment Report Form

It’s crucial that your assessment report form is as clear as possible as this is the moderator’s guide to young people’s work. If you’ve identified evidence then make sure that your assessment states exactly where to find it! Use page numbers, dividers or coloured tabs. If there’s a video or audio recording then note the relevant time. Put captions on photographs. Always remember that moderators are looking at arts logs for the first time – they might not have the context needed to match evidence to a specific part, so make it easy for them!

You can always contact the Arts Award team with any questions on 020 7820 6178 or by emailing


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