Teaching students to write about art: Results of a four-year patchwork text project

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This article presents the findings from a four-year project designed to gather under-graduate Fine Art students’ perceptions of replacing an essay with a Patchwork Text Assessment (PTA), a form of assessment in which a series of self-contained, themati-cally related patches are written at regular intervals over a series of weeks or months and are then stitched together with a final meta-patch exploring the unity and interrelatedness of the individual patches. On completion of the PTA, students were asked a series of questions about their experiences, and analysis of their responses showed that they had found completing the PTA more difficult, more enjoyable and more rewarding than writing an essay. Importantly, there were no suggestions that the PTA had dumbed down assessment practices, nor was there an increase in the workload of the academic staff supporting and assessing the PTA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalArt, Design & Communication in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Academic writing
  • Assessment
  • Fine Art
  • Higher education
  • Patchwork text
  • Studio practice


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