Learning Logs: what assessors are looking for

Assessment time again, I’m just back from Barnsley and thought I’d have another crack at learning logs from a different angle.

Here are 5 invented statements from fictitious learning logs. Have a read of them and see what you think:

1. Lovely day so made up a flask and put my paints in my rucksack. Had a great time painting in my local churchyard.

2. Painted in local churchyard. Used sponges instead of brushes – great fun.

3. Churchyard painting using different tools. Interesting to experiment and try new things. Sponges make nice evocative marks.

4. Churchyard. Part of ongoing investigation of tools / markmaking. Sponges expand range of marks – more scope for wider vocabulary. Research Expressionism / Ab Ex (ask tutor name of surrealist / frottage man). NB Piper = churches.

5. CY – Is gesture more ‘authentic’ AbEx / PModern?  C Greenberg R Rauschenberg. Remember depth. Contradiction btwn surface and illusory space – how resolve? (ask tutor). Don’t overstate architectural detail – focus on main planes and light.

Now have a look again at the assessment requirements for each grade. Become an assessor and see which grade you are able to give for each student from the evidence here. You might like to think about what grade you would give the student at level 1 and then what they might get at level 2 or 3.

F. Inadequate research or evidence of critical thinking.

E.  Limited self reflection or research, and no analysis or synthesis of information

D. Variable levels of self reflection and research, and poor analysis and synthesis of information.

C. Evidence of self reflection and research, and satisfactory ability to analyse and synthesise information.

B. Articulate and self aware, good range of research, demonstrating a developing intellectual understanding.

A. Very articulate and self aware, very well researched, demonstrating a developed intellectual understanding.

Of course you only have a snippet here, so it is very hard to judge. Why not open up your own log now and read an extract? How does your own log fair in terms of evidencing your research and critical thinking at higher education level? Don’t be alarmed if you are at level 1 and have never written anything like this before. Ask your tutor for advice and take notice of any specific feedback you are given. Check out online logs of more able students for a feel of what you should be doing. More than anything, enjoy your log; enjoy your journey through the great ideas of art history and your developing relationship with your own practice. The illustrations in this blog are pages from the sketchbooks of Berthe Morisot.

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17 comments for “Learning Logs: what assessors are looking for

  1. 23 July 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Your explanation illustrates the point very clearly… going to try and be more focused on this from here in, thanks.

  2. Linda Khatir
    24 July 2012 at 7:52 am

    Students please take note! Your aim, particularly if you are working towards a degree, is to build your knowledge by continually questioning and reflecting on your own practice as well as that of other artists, and this means looking beyond the confines of the course book. The learning log is evidence of this and should be more than a ‘scrap book’ of cut and pasted material. In the LL we need to see that you have a genuine interest in the ‘field’ and this means research into contemporary as well as historic art practices and theories, questioning and discussing your findings using your own words and citing your sources as appropriate. If you are at level 1, this type of engagement will prepare you for later studies’ if you are at level 2 or 3 you need to attend to this now. If in doubt discuss it with your tutor after looking at the online guides to learning logs and essay writing.

  3. 24 July 2012 at 10:36 am

    Oh dear, I would be writing about the weather, flask and fun!

    • 24 July 2012 at 10:44 am

      Don’t worry too much Vicki,but as an assessor it can be hard to wade through lots of diary detail to try to find something we can award points for. It’s good to see signs of a student enjoying their course and engaging with their subject, but ultimately it is a journal of ideas for an HE course. Good luck with your studies.

      • 24 July 2012 at 1:02 pm

        @ Emma

        I’m looking at a way of marking up the stuff that is just personal withering and woes, so that assessors can skip that bit. 🙂

  4. Milena Blaziak
    26 July 2012 at 4:27 pm

    If it was that easy! I hardly ever verbalise my thoughts, the process itself goes on too fast for it. Things are happening in the back of my conciousness. When I try to look back and analyse why I did this or that I can not always find the answer… when I look at my log, I am not very impressed. However I keep trying.

    • 26 July 2012 at 4:32 pm

      As you are ‘one of mine’ Milena, I can say that your learning log is very good. You are always highly reflective and sensitive to the issues that are raised in your work.

  5. Sue
    27 July 2012 at 5:00 am

    This is a really useful explanation, thank you Emma.

  6. Penny
    27 July 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you Emma. It’s a very clear message.

  7. 27 July 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I always find it so hard to explain my thought process and work. I have printed this out to stick on the front of my learning log – hopefully it’ll give me the boost i need.

  8. Sally Young
    27 July 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I am on my final assignment for Level 1 Painting, and I found this really helpful, in fact I had just been struggling with painting water reflections, and as a result of reading this I have added some insights re further research into my log. I find it is a difficult balance to find between being too wordy and not saying enough. Thank you for the reminder.

  9. Josie Thomas
    13 August 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this insight into Learning Logs. I’m at the very beginning, about to send my first Assignments in Drawing 1 to my tutor, (Linda Khatir, so it’s particularly helpful to take note of her comments.) I think initiatlly I was far too anxious about “Doing it properly” and sticking to the letter of the instructions in the Course book. With this helpful advice on LL and the former article on sketchbooks, I’m beginning to relax and enjoy it more. I will let the work I’m doing range more widely and follow, as it were “my own interests!” I have to leave this box-ticking mentality behind, and let it all take more time. Thank you, Josie.

    • Emma Drye
      16 August 2012 at 9:53 am

      Best of luck with it Josie. You will feel your way into striking a balance between being open to the ideas on the course and taking risks, whilst being engaged and taking yourself seriously. At the end of the day, all the really good bits will come from you!

  10. Sally Sewell-Alger
    16 August 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for clarifying the expected standards of the logbook with those 5 examples.
    I have just been assessed and realise for the first time what parts of my thinking processes you are interested in. I would have enjoyed looking back on frustrating or eureka moments had I documented them. I too thought I had to stick to the letter of the instructions. This is my first ever post.

  11. 4 September 2012 at 7:55 am

    Your explanation is clear and very helpful. I read many books, articles and on-line blogs for my own education whilst I’m studying through OCA and many have an influence on my thinking, direction I’m travelling and the work I produce. I realise now that I need to record this better in my log.

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