Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture



First Advisor

Kelly Scheffer

Second Advisor

Stefanie Snider

Third Advisor

Matthew Bailey


Before beginning the International Baccalaureate Art program, most high school students will have already spent a significant amount of time studying a variety of art genres and will have a solid understanding of art terminology and methods. This is because the program is designed to build upon prior knowledge and experience. This is true for the majority of schools that participate in the IB program. It is common practice for educational institutions that provide tough programs to insist that students complete prerequisite coursework before they are allowed to enroll in the challenging programs that the institution provides. This is done with the intention of better-preparing students for the challenges that they would confront in the rigorous curriculum that is being followed.

This curriculum is designed for schools and students who don't fit that mold and who are given the opportunity to participate in a rigorous college preparatory program at a low-income, inner-city high school, with the goal that it will help more students become the first in their families to complete high school and go on to college. For this type of course, there are no prerequisites for IB art and because of this, most of the students who enroll in it have very little to no prior experience and only a very basic understanding of even the most fundamental aspects of art.

The purpose of this semester-long course is to prepare these students to pass the comparative study section of the IB Art exam. Students will be asked to do things like conduct research, rate artworks, and make intellectual connections as each criterion of the study is presented in stages, with a focus on information literacy and research skills. In addition, students will be given both formative and summative assignments to gauge their progress and understanding throughout the course. The research report they produce is an informative and visually pleasing digital essay. Over the course of the semester, students of all skill levels can benefit from the comparative study by honing their investigative and analytical skills and developing a deeper appreciation for the arts.

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