Art of Photography

Rob Townsend


Assessment Result!

I got my assessment result email. You may be able to guess from the use of an exclamation mark in my title that I PASSED!

So that was a relief. I mean, I was pretty sure I would pass from the tutor feedback throughout and from my own self-critique / learning journey over the course, but it’s still a huge relief to see it confirmed.

I was a little disheartened when I saw the actual mark (62%) and the breakdown over the four assessment criteria. I realised with my reaction to the mark that I hadn’t really targeted or predicted a %, but evidently in my head I hoped for more than 62%!

Breakdown and comments

  • Demonstration of Technical & Visual Skills:
    • “Very competent technical and visual skills”
    • 27/40
  • Quality of Outcome:
    • “Competent realisation of ideas, presented well, showing consistency in judgement. Effective grasp of ideas and communication of visual ideas”
    • 12/20
  • Demonstration of Creativity:
    • “Some evidence of creativity, little evidence of risk-taking with a few imaginative outcomes, some evidence of a developing personal voice”
    • 11/20
  • Context:
    • “Evidence of self-reflection and research, and satisfactory ability to analyse and synthesise information”
    • 12/20

The overall comments at the end:

“Your commitment to the course is underlined by the ability to maintain an overall clean and geometric aesthetic throughout the assignments. The responses and re-edits suggested by your tutor have been well responded to and have improved each piece of work.

To be able to continue your development and working practice a better balance is needed between your technical competence and context / creativity of your thematic work. This will come through more research and the ability to analyse and self reflect on your work.”

My reactions

“Competent”, “effective” and “satisfactory” are the words that jumped out. I’d like to get better adjectives next time :-)

I must confess I was initially a little dismayed at being called out on a lack of creativity. However, I do need to take this on board and start to be braver, more experimental – more personal? – in my future efforts.

I’m pleased that I got a reasonably good mark on Technical & Visual Skills as I can now be confident that I’m getting to grips with that and can turn my attention and my learning to the more creative elements of photography.

One observation I had was that I thought the assessors were a little more critical / less forgiving that my tutor was; I subsequently found out from online forums that this is a common complaint and not limited to me or my tutor! I’ll take that on board and for future courses work on the assumption that my tutors may err on the side of encouragement rather than prepare you for the more critical eye of the assessor…!

In the end I realised that if this result scaled up to the final degree mark, I’d get a 2.1, which isn’t bad. I got a 2.1 on my first degree over 20 years ago, and that didn’t bother me too much!

SO – onwards and upwards! (I’m over halfway through People & Place already)



I finally got around to looking at the overall AOP results for the July assessment round. I know that photography isn’t a competitive sport :-) but my interest was piqued by Carol’s comment below that the marks were relatively low this year. So I thought I’d take a look at least for some context – although I still find the idea of comparing myself to others a little odd on a creative course!

Anyway – seeing the context did actually make me feel better! I was closer to the top of the list than I expected. Yes, the average marks were quite low, with two-thirds of students getting a 2.2 equivalent mark (50-59%) this time around. So I’m happier with my 62% now than I was when I looked at it in isolation…