Advanced Placement Visual Arts: Drawing and 2-D Design

“The AP Studio Art portfolios are designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art. AP Studio Art is not based on a written exam; instead, students submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year. The AP Studio Art Program consists of three portfolios — 2-D Design, 3-D Design and Drawing — corresponding to the most common college foundation courses.” (College Board)

This course has been developed to accommodate students who have expressed an interest in completing either the AP Drawing Portfolio Exam or the AP 2-D Design Portfolio. Therefore all content meets the requirements as stated in the student exam poster. Through direct teacher instruction, emphasis will be placed on the production of a volume of quality pieces of artwork. Students will address all three sections of the portfolio: Breadth, Concentration and Quality.

Students will be challenged to develop their own personal work.  Students will develop mastery of concept, composition, and execution of their personal ideas and themes. Students will also understand that art making is an ongoing process that uses informed and critical decision making to determine outcomes to problems. Students will be expected to develop a comprehensive portfolio that addresses each of these issues in a personal way. Formulaic solutions to problems are discouraged.

The AP student will:

•          Choose which exam portfolio program is appropriate.

•          Show an understanding of the focus of the portfolio selected.

•          Demonstrate a breadth of high-quality work, 12 pieces.

•          Develop a personal Concentration of 12 pieces.

•          Select five top-quality pieces for presentation.

•          Discuss and record the development of the Concentration.

•          Explore postsecondary options.

Content of the Class- Development of the student’s submitted portfolio, which has three parts:

1. Quality (original, physical works): Five matted works are required for Drawing and 2-D Design. These should be the student’s best work, selected for excellence, and cannot be larger than 18″ x 24″. They can come from the Concentration and/or Breadth sections.

2. Concentration: This should include 12 slides exploring a single visual concern in depth.  It is something like a visual term paper and is an important part of the class. When a subject is settled on, the student should spend considerable time developing it. It should show investigation, growth, and discovery involved with a compelling visual concept. The Concentration is usually completed in the second term. (Up to three slides could be close-ups to show details.)

3. Breadth: This is a set of works showing mastery of varied media, techniques, and subject matter. This should include 12 slides of 12 different works.

**The students are encouraged from the beginning of the class to formulate ideas for their Concentrations and, where allowable, to start working on those ideas in their studio classes. The concept of working in a series or on a concentration is emphasized. The Concentration must contain a body of work that is developed from a sustained plan of action or investigation of a visual idea in drawing.

AP Exam (May, 2013):

Because a portfolio submission of 24 slides is needed, each student will need to complete 12 slides each term, or roughly one to two works per week. Students should work steadily and have the sufficient number of slides by the end of their two terms, as their grade in the course will be based on that work. They can then continue to improve their portfolio until the May submission date. Submission of a portfolio in May is mandatory to receive AP credit.


Critiques are an integral part of all classes. All students are brought together for critiques at regular intervals—generally when they have major assignments due. Each student must show his her work and briefly discuss his or her intent. The class is then expected to provide positive feed back and offer suggestions for improvement. All students participate. The vocabulary of art is introduced through the foundation classes and is reinforced through the verbal and written critiques. We have class critiques on the days work is due.

I will only interject when I feel that there is something that has not been addressed or have an idea about a possible solution or suggestion for a next piece.

For grading purposes, I use a simplified rubric based on the actual AP Scoring Guidelines for Studio Art. I think it is important for AP students to be familiar with the rubric that will be used to score the work in their portfolios. Additionally, there is ongoing dialogue with students on an individual basis during class time. As well, the students dialogue with each other about their work.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Portfolio Development (60%)

•          Based on finished work as per term quota.

•          Graded using the evaluation rubrics as established by the College Board

•          Both volume and quality will be taken into consideration for final grades

Classroom Participation (40%)

•          Attendance is mandatory.

•          Use of in-class time and out of class time (homework, weekend assignments, etc).

•          Attention to lectures, directions, and demonstrations.

•          Participation in critical discussion.

•          Proper safe use of materials and equipment.

•          Cleanup duties and storage of work.

National and Georgia Standards:

As a member of the Georgia Department of Education, the content, standards, and assessment for this class follow and satisfy the Georgia Performance Standards and the National Visual Arts Standards, Grades 9-12 Visual Arts. Please feel free to learn more about the GPS at www.georgiastandards.org and the NVAS at www.arteducators.org.

Originality and Copyright Issues:

Students are expected to develop their personal imagery. When published photographs or the works of other artists are used they should be in the service of a personal vision. Any published image should be altered in such a substantial way that it moves beyond duplication. Also, any image or reference used should be documented clearly to reduce chance of plagiarism. This is not allowed in any other class at Carrollton High School, nor is it accepted in colleges and/or universities. This is a matter of artistic integrity.


  • sketchbook (bound, not spiral; white paper, no lines) 8.5×11 or 9×12
  • set of: pencils, drawing pens, paintbrushes, paints, etc.
  • portfolio (place to safely store your work)

Examples of AP-level Student Art from around the U.S.


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