ASHS Coursebook: 1VAR (Level 1 Visual Art)

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Information icon.svg 1VAR
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

In Visual Arts you will have the opportunity to use a wide range of art media like printmaking media, painting, sculpture, digital media and all kinds of drawing media. You can choose a theme from a range of broad options. These options may examine our humanity, identity, culture and nature. You will be encouraged to reflect your own identity and interests in the standards offered. Your teachers will work individually with you to develop your ideas. A range of standards are offered; the main standard being a two board folio submission in which you will be required to generate, develop and clarify a specific and cohesive theme of visual ideas. We are responsive to your strengths and will cater this course to best meet your creativity and ideas through an authentic learning experience.

What will I learn?

You will be encouraged to develop your creativity through innovation, risk taking and thinking with the aim to expand your art knowledge and experience. We will look at a wide range of contemporary artists both international and from New Zealand and look at how they can inform our own practice. You will be equipped with a skills based programme at the beginning of the year which will give you the foundation to develop your own interests and style within the umbrella of visual arts. You will learn to open your mind and be influenced by a range of art practices and develop an understanding of how to use range of paint media and other media.   You will realise that drawing goes beyond a pencil and is simply an extension of ideas through the use of documentation via a camera, sketches, thumbnails, planning and media explorations. All these skills will be utilised to produce painted works.

What sorts of things will I do?

This course will help you discover that visual arts is a collaboration of things in which you investigate ideas and respond to artist's works. You will explore visual ideas to generate initial ideas and a range of art media to explore many different kinds of outcomes. You will be encouraged to think creatively and communicate your ideas showing your individuality and an appreciation for the arts. We will be working towards two internal assessments and one external assessment. Both internal assessments are set up to act as a forerunners to the external folio submission in which you will generate, develop and clarify ideas based on your chosen theme.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4



Key Dates / Milestones
  • 1.2 due week 9-10
Key Dates / Milestones
  • 1.3 milestone due end of term 2

Key dates

  • 1.3 final hand in week 2

What standards can I enter?

Summary of standards:
NCEA Level: Standard Number: Name of standard: Version Number: Credits: Assessment:
1.2   90914
Use drawing methods and skills for recording information using wet and dry media.
1.3   90915
Use drawing conventions to develop work in more than one field of practice       2
1.4   90916
Produce a body of work informed by established practice, which develops ideas, using a range of media

No further assessment opportunities attach to these standards
Total available credits: 22

Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.  Follow this link to see the profile for this course.

A merit or excellence course endorsement for Visual Art may be obtained by completing 14 credits in the above standards at merit or above for merit course endorsement, or 14 credits at excellence for excellence course endorsement. The 14 credits must include at least 3 external credits, and must be completed in the same school year. More information about NCEA course endorsements is available here:

Frequently asked questions:

Q. "What is the art fee for level 11 Art?" A. $145 = 2018

Q: Where might Visual Arts lead?

A: Fine artist, Illustrator, interior designer, graphic artist, industrial designer, web design, sign maker, clothing design, artist, teacher, architect, photographer, landscape architecture to name a few.

Q: Do I need to have taken Year 10 Art?

A: It is extremely beneficial to have some experience in Art previously however we welcome you into Visual Arts and will teach you a range of methods and processes and introduce you to contemporary and established art practice.

Q: Do I have to take Year 11 Visual Art if I am planning to do either Photography, Painting or Design in Year 12?

A: We prefer that you have taken Visual Arts in Year 11 as it is an important foundation for Year 12 and 13 and it gives you a solid basis to help you learn to think both creatively and conceptually.  It takes time to develop skills and an awareness and understanding of the arts, in particular developing understanding of contemporary art ideas. Your teachers will help scaffold your course towards your own thematic interests.