Art & Design

Article Index

Higher Art & Design

Course Content

The course comprises of two areas of study: Expressive and Design

Design Portfolio

In the Design Portfolio learners will plan, research and develop creative design work in response to a design brief. They will develop their creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills as they consider complex design opportunities, and work to resolve design issues and constraints. They will develop and refine their design ideas by experimenting with and using a range of materials techniques and/or technology in 2D and/or 3D formats. This will lead to a final solution design.

Expressive Portfolio

In the Expressive Portfolio learners to develop their personal thoughts and ideas in visual form. They will select stimuli and produce investigative drawings and studies. They will develop and refine their expressive ideas and artwork, experimenting with and using a range of materials, techniques and/or technology in 2D and/or 3D formats in response to the stimuli. This work will lead to a final piece.

Question Paper

Learners will develop critical understanding of artists’ and designers’ working practices and the social and cultural influences affecting their work.

How will learners be assessed?

The course assessment has three components totalling 260 marks:

  • Component 1: question paper (2 sections) – worth 60 marks (23%)
  • Component 2: expressive portfolio – worth 100 marks (38.5%)
  • Component 3: design portfolio – worth 100 marks (38.5%)

All components will be externally marked by SQA

Within each portfolio, learners will produce a body of investigative and development work that leads to one final piece of expressive art work and one design solution. The portfolios will be sufficiently open and flexible to allow for personalisation and choice and will focus on both the process and products of learning.

The question paper adds value by requiring integration and application skills, knowledge and understanding of art and design practice from across all areas of their learning within the course.

The grade awarded is based on the total marks achieved across all course assessment components.

The course assessment is graded A-D.


All learners should approach the Higher course as much more than the sum of 6 periods of school work. In order to make good progress, candidates will require to work on their portfolios at home; to extend and augment the work competed in class. Tasks for homework may be assigned to learners relevant to their individual projects. Also, a programme of study for the written exam will be followed which will require learners to study from notes provided for them as well as their own researches. They will frequently be required to provide evidence of their research in the form of an essay.