Art & Design – Years 3 & 4 Higher Art

Years 3 & 4 EXPRESS



 The Higher Art syllabus is designed to provide artistically talented and academically able students with the opportunity to give form and meaning to their ideas, thoughts and feelings through visual and tactile forms. The breadth and depth of study cater to a range of abilities and interests. The process of art making involving the use of a variety of media and technologies, as well as its role in the development of critical and creative thinking, continue to be maintained. Visual literacy skills such as perceiving and responding to visual images, and analysis of visual information in its many forms are further enhanced and developed in this syllabus. This document presents the aims, the framework, the learning outcomes, the content and the examination requirements of the Higher Art syllabus.



The aims of the syllabus are to:

  • nurture an informed awareness and appreciation of the visual arts;
  • enhance ability to identify and solve problems creatively in visual and tactile forms;
  • develop competency in the use of art and design principles, materials and processes;
  • foster self-confidence and a sense of achievement through the practice of the visual arts;
  • cultivate an inquiring mind, a spirit of experimentation and a passion for the visual arts.



 The framework for the Art syllabus is structured under three behavioural domains of Perceiving, Communicating and Appreciating. These behavioural domains take into consideration the cognitive, psychomotor and affective dimensions that students are involved in when they are engaged in the visual arts. The three domains are interconnected and operate dynamically.

Under the domain of Perceiving, students respond to and interpret visual images and objects sensitively and informatively. They learn to discriminate and make connections between different visual qualities and phenomena. Through observing and analysing visual stimuli in nature and the man-made environment as well as works of art, students develop visual awareness and sensitivities that encourage imagination and the generation of ideas.

Under the domain of Communicating, students express their thoughts, experiences and feelings in visual, tactile, oral or literary forms. This involves drawing on ideas, organising information, solving problems and expressing intent and purpose. Through research and exploration, students develop process skills to reinforce the effectiveness of communicating.

Under the domain of Appreciating, students value the visual arts as a means of expression. Students learn to evaluate and appreciate artworks made by themselves and other artists. They are able to see the connection of the visual arts to their lives and better appreciate its significance in the wider context of culture and society. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness from which personal and cultural identities could be examined and built upon. Through this, students will continue their interest and participation in the visual arts beyond school.


 The learning outcomes for the Art syllabus are organised under the domains of PERCEIVING, COMMUNICATING and APPRECIATING.

By the end of secondary education, students will be able to:

Record from observation and experience.


Identify and define problems, issues and themes in visual expressions


Conceptualise and translate ideas into artworks


Apply art principles in the creation of artworks


Explore creative use of materials, techniques and technologies to generate ideas and solutions to problems


Acquire competence in manipulating art media towards the expression of an idea


Communicate with relevant working vocabulary the processes involved in art making


Enjoy experiences of art making


Achieve a sense of confidence and self-esteem through the visual arts


Make connections between visual expressions and personal experiences


Critically appraise artists and artworks


Value local artworks as part of the development of Singapore’s history and cultural heritage


Develop an inquiring attitude and life-long interest in the visual arts



The content of the syllabus comprises Studio Practice and Study of Visual Arts. The creation of artworks and the critical appraisal of artists and artworks are two modes of learning that are central to a balanced art education. These components provide students with diverse learning experiences and skills in visual literacy. The scope and focus of these components are described below.

Studio Practice

The Studio Practice engages students in the creation of artworks. Students hone their observation skills, learn to discriminate visual qualities and give form to their ideas and experiences when they are engaged in art making. The Studio Practice provides opportunities for students to acquire a working understanding of various art elements and principles. It also develops competency in manipulating various art media for self-expression. Students would be given opportunities to explore a good range of media and experiment with different techniques in their studio practice. Some of these media could include: painting, sculpture, photography, stained glass, ceramics, installation, multi-media and animation.

Students acquire skills such as research, experimentation and exploration, idea development, personal reflection and evaluation in the process of creating artworks. Preparatory studies are an integral and important part of the Studio Practice. Through the preparatory studies, students learn to think through issues and problems and develop their abilities to translate ideas into artworks.

Study of Visual Arts

Studio Practice is enhanced and reinforced by critical learning experiences in the Study of Visual Arts. The awareness and critical appraisal of artists/artworks and the context in which artworks are made allow students to experience and engage with the visual arts in greater breadth. The Study of Visual Arts emphasises the development of critical thinking skills such as description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation1. It provides students with the opportunities to respond to and discover insights from artists/artworks. These learning experiences inculcate in students greater appreciation for the visual arts and their role in society.

The content for the Study of Visual Arts is organised along three broad themes. These themes provide a broad framework for the study of different artists/artworks across different periods of modern history. These themes touch on diverse realms of human experience and provide this component of the Art syllabus with the necessary scope and focus. The broad themes with the list of artists/artworks are:

  • Art as Narrative and Inspiration
  • Art as Expression and Identity
  • Art as Communication and Design


 Candidates taking the GCE ‘O’ level Higher Art Syllabus Examinations will be required to offer Paper 1: Coursework and Paper 4: Visual Arts Task, with either Paper 2: Drawing and Painting, or Paper 3: Study of Visual Arts

Paper Description Examination Duration Weighting Requirement
Paper 1 Coursework Not Applicable 60% Compulsory
Paper 2 or

Paper 3

Drawing and Painting 3 hours 40% Choose one out of the two papers
Study of Visual Arts 2 hours
Paper 4 Visual Arts Task Not Applicable   Compulsory


Higher Art Grading

 The grading system and rules of award for Higher Art are as follows:

  1. A candidate must achieve grade 1 or 2 in each of the three components to be awarded Distinction in Higher Art
  2. A candidate must achieve grade 6 or higher in each of the three components to be awarded Merit in Higher Art
  3. A candidate who achieves grade 7 or lower in one or more components will not be awarded with a grade in Higher Art. The candidate will be awarded a grade in ‘O’ level Art only.