The Bologna Process
The Bologna Process is intended to provide transparency and clarity for the different European higher education qualifications, so that individuals can transfer more easily from one establishment or country to another, either as students or, subsequently, to find work.
The objective is thus twofold:
• the optimisation and specificity of the teaching programme;
• a European and international orientation.
For higher education establishments, this implies:
• an institutional structure and a syllabus on three levels: first degree, Master's and Doctorate;
• a study programme organised round a system of transferable credits, namely the ECTS (European Credits Transfer System).
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The ENSBA's 2008-2009 assessment structure is designed to take into account the requirements of the Bologna Process. It thus emphasises the school's dimension as a higher education establishment, its standards, and the qualities of its study programme.
Assessment and ECTS Credits
This process takes different forms:
• continuous assessment;
• a collegial report;
• an evaluation of individual work;
• an evaluation of group work.
The assessment process is based on specific criteria in each of the 4 teaching units, and in conditions that are specific to the different levels of the syllabus. The details of the modes and criteria of evaluation are given below.
The assessment process leads to the awarding of:
• ECTS credits: students must obtain 30 ECTS credits per semester;
• marks: there are 7 levels, A, B, C, D, E, Fx and F. ECTS credits validate the quality of the students' work.
Details of the ECTS credit system are given in the semestrial tables below.
NB Students who have not earned the 30 ECTS credits necessary to the continuation of their studies during the first semester of a given academic year (semester 1, semester 3, semester 5, semester 7 or semester 9) have a chance to make up the total during the following semester, provided that they submit further work, which will be subject to individual evaluation as part of the following semester's report.
In parallel with the ECTS system, the assessment process at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts evaluates the quality of the student's work in terms of "local" marks which are awarded on a collegial basis, by teaching unit, as part of the semestrial report. A mark is also given for the student's work as a whole over the semester. The "local" marking system uses the ECTS scale:
A Excellent An outstanding achievement, with few weak points.
B Very good A result that is superior to the average, though with some flaws.
C Good Generally competent work, though with certain shortcomings.
D Adequate A workmanlike effort, but with serious shortcomings.
E Passable A result that satisfies the minimum criteria.
Fx Inadequate More work will be necessary if the credits are to be awarded.
F Very inadequate Much more work will be necessary if the credits are to be awarded.
The evaluation criteria are specific to the Teaching Units, but differ little between the different years and Options. Requirements become more stringent over the course of the study period, and can be characterised as follows.
In courses and workshops: attendance, activity, participation.
In Teaching Unit 1 History / Culture / Theory
• the range of the knowledge acquired, and the progress made in its acquisition;
• the relevance, scope and quality of research and references;
• the quality and critical dimension of the analysis;
• the quality of oral and written formulations.
In Teaching Unit 2 Problematics / Methodology
Identification and cultural identity of the work, the project and the dissertation:
• origin and territory (status and identified issues);
• articulation of a relationship to the world (affect, concepts and content).
Structure of the work in the short and medium term:
• relationships between different types of work;
• relationships between technical and theoretical knowledge;
• overall progress and articulation;
• scope and relevance of resources and documentation;
• general economy of work.
In Teaching Unit 3 Practice / Experimentation / Production
• development and quality of experimentation and research;
• range and quality of work produced;
• internal coherence;
• formal mastery and quality of finalisation.
In Teaching Unit 4 Contextualisation / Mediation
• scope and quality of the formal and spatial presentation;
• precision and articulation of the critical commentary;
• quality of documentation of work and written submissions (on paper and as computer files);
• effectiveness in placements, and quality of report.
Evaluation of Students' Work
The end-of-semester report is of course important, but it constitutes just one of the modes of evaluation of students' work. There is also continuous assessment, and some courses have their own specific criteria (for example, written and practical work at the end of year 1).
The credits system takes the evaluation process into account. Credits are awarded on a collegial basis, using information from the report and estimations made by those teachers who give courses or run studios or modules. Prior to the drawing up of the report, information on each student who participates in a course or a module is compiled by the teacher concerned, and forwarded to the coordinator of either the option, in the case of the studios, or the ARC, for the different years and options.
An academic year comprises 2 semesters, each of which is validated by 30 credits, giving a total of 60 for the year. A credit corresponds to 24-30 hours of work by the student, including the different types of teaching and the accompanying "extra-mural" work, but also the student's participation in various activities.
Credits are awarded during the end-of-semester meetings on the basis of proposals made by one or more of the teachers who give courses or run modules.
The maximum number of credits that can be awarded in a semester is 30 (except in cases where insufficient credits were gained in the previous semester).
Credits cannot be subdivided. Within each teaching unit or module for which one or more credits may be awarded, they cannot be divided up or separated. Thus, for a unit leading to the award of 2 credits, the student will obtain 2 credits if the course objectives have been satisfied, and 0 credits if they have not; 1, 1.5 or 0.5 credits cannot be awarded.
A student must gain 60 credits in year 1 in order to be eligible for entry into year 2.
48-60 credits must be obtained in year 2 (out of a total of 108-120 for the first 2 years) for entry into year 3. 36-47 credits must be obtained (out of a total of 96-107 for the first 2 years) if year 2 is to be repeated. Students who have not obtained the minimum of 36 credits necessary will not be allowed to repeat the year. Credits that are lacking at the end of year 2 must be acquired in the course of the fifth semester (i.e. the first in year 3). In year 3, 60 credits, including the 15 that are awarded for the DNAP or the DNAT (i.e. a total of 180 credits for the first 3 years), are required for entry into year 4, along with the approval of the internal admissions panel. In year 4, 48-60 credits (out of a total of 228-240 for the first 4 years) are required for entry into year 5. 36-47 credits (out of a total of 216-227 for the first 4 years) are required for a repeat of year 4. Credits that are lacking at the end of year 4 must be acquired in the course of the ninth semester (i.e. the first in year 5). Credits that are lacking at the end of a winter semester (semester 1, semester 3, semester 5, semester 7 or semester 9) can be made up in the spring semester of the same academic year. The ways in which this can be done are announced at the start of the academic year.
For work that is individually assessed, a practical credit must be made up by practical work. A theory credit must be made up by theoretical work. A credit in English must be made up by work in English. For work that is evaluated collectively, the student must, on his or her own initiative, produce a specific, self-sufficient piece of work (practical, methodological and/or academic) that is directly related to what the teachers considered as having been inadequate in the work done during the semester or year in question, and in the light of reports. The work must be presented on the occasion of the end-of-semester report, and is given particularly close attention by the teaching staff.
In semesters 7 and 8, the mobility project is the object of a contract between the student, the school of origin and the host school. Formalised before the student's arrival at the host school, this contract specifies the types of study programme to be followed, and the corresponding number of credits. It underwrites the validation of credits by the host school.
Credits awarded by the host school may not be challenged by the school of origin.
In no case can credits acquired during an exchange be substituted for credits attached to the obtaining of a diploma.
Within the ENSBA's study programmes, the teaching is carried out in a "laboratory" spirit of research and production that is open to the reality of the present-day world, where knowledge and certainties, but also the theoretical and practical issues inherent in artistic activity, are constantly probed.
The idea of a "laboratory" implies the kinds of knowledge, investigation, production and attribution required to construct a common space of work and reflection that is in a permanent state of flux. These concepts, and the realm of objectives as a whole, are at the core of the four Teaching Units within which the ENSBA's theoretical and practical programme is implemented.
This structure is to be found within each Option, though it varies according to the speciality and year so as to take into account the principle of the progressive acquisition of skills and knowledge.
Each Teaching Unit is characterised by a number of proposals that correspond to different facets of the student's work.
In each Teaching Unit, a variety of methods are applied, in line with the particular specifications of the given sector of activity: lectures, theory and practice, seminars and individual tutorials, workshops, placements, etc.
The following table of Teaching Units gives an idea of how the ENSBA's teaching programme is structured.