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Level 7 visual arts achievement objectives

The four arts strands work in combination. Together they provide the basis for a well-rounded programme. They weave through all aspects of learning in the visual arts, as they are interactive and mutually supportive. For example, investigating art works and their contexts will give students access to an informed process in their own development of visual ideas through using selected conventions, materials, and processes. Rarely will the strands be negotiated in complete isolation even if the learning and assessment programme may give emphasis to one particular strand over another for a particular outcome or purpose.

The strands are separated here as a way of helping teachers to unpack the language of the strands and the objectives at this level.

Indicators are examples of the behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level. Teachers may wish to add further examples of their own.

For any terminology used in the achievement objectives, or the indicators, check (and download) the Arts Online – Visual arts glossary.

Understanding the visual arts in context (UC)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • research and analyse the influences of contexts on the characteristics and production of art works
  • research and analyse the influence of relevant contexts on their own work.


  • Examines how personal, social, historical, political, artistic, and technological factors influence or inform elements of the art works, such as how they are conceived and made and then perceived and appreciated by audiences and critics.
  • Examines the way in which meaning is made from an art work and how the situation in which it is presented/viewed impacts on these readings.
  • Identifies and evaluates the influencing factors on their own artmaking and how these shape decisions and actions about the conception, production, and presentation of the work.

Developing practical knowledge in the visual arts (PK)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • apply understanding from research into a range of established practice to extend skills for particular art-making purposes, using appropriate processes and procedures in selected fields
  • extend skills, in a range of materials, techniques, and technologies.


  • Uses knowledge gained from applied study of established practice to make decisions about selecting processes and materials to build particular ideas in a series of work. For example uses the grid structure to explore and develop compositional ideas and themes based on order and control.
  • Selects a particular area of concern, such as spatial manipulation or representational rendering, and explores different strategies through the study of relevant model/s.
  • Uses different processes and materials in a range of contexts to build on previous ideas and advance pictorial concerns and or technical skill. For example, the selection and use of painting techniques and processes becomes more purposeful and aligned to the intent of the work, such as multiple translucent layers to create shifting and unstable spaces.

Developing ideas in the visual arts (DI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • generate, analyse, clarify, and extend ideas in a selected field related to established practice
  • use a systematic approach to the development of ideas in a body of work.


  • Identifies and evaluates the successes and failures of previous works in order to refine the technical, conceptual, and/or pictorial aspects of subsequent works.
  • Connects the ideas developed in own work, and the strategies used to develop a concept, to particular models in established practice. For example, uses (cubist) faceting and multiple viewpoints to generate 3-dimensional spaces simultaneously.
  • Makes choices about the processes and procedures used to build an idea and can articulate how a particular technique/s and or procedure was used to develop or refine an idea.

Communicating and interpreting in the visual arts (CI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • research and analyse how art works are constructed and presented to communicate meanings
  • use critical analysis to interpret and respond to art works.


  • Examines a range of different art works to discover how particular methods of production impact on how the art works are read.
  • Discusses specific elements of art works, such as compositional devices and use of materials, and examines how these connect and interrelate to communicate particular meanings, and reflect the intentions of the artist.
  • Examines the differences between seeing an image of an art work in different contexts and evaluates how the viewing situation impacts on how an art work is read and meaning is communicated.
  • Interprets the meanings that art works communicate and examines how these are similar to or different from the intentions attributed to them in artists’ statements or reviewers’ critiques.

Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards are in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 in 2012. Level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the NZQA website.

The NZQA subject-specific resource pages are very helpful. From there, you can find all the achievement standards and links to assessment resources, both internal and external.

Learn more:

Not all learning in visual arts needs to be assessed. There is value in creating visual art and the exploration of genre and style that may not be assessed but could be a valuable step towards more complex work in the following year of study.

Last updated August 28, 2020