International Journal of Art & Design Education

Benchmarking Art and Design

Volume 21.2   2002



This paper describes the evolution of the Benchmark Statement for undergraduate provision in Art and Design in the UK. The development of subject-specific benchmark standards was a key recommendation of the Dearing Report. The National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education [1] had recommended that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) should ‘work with institutions to establish small, expert teams to provide benchmark information on standards, in particular threshold standards, operating within the framework of qualifications [2].’ Subject Benchmarking is one of a number of linked initiatives emanating from QAA and, as such, will complement the National Qualifications Framework, the Codes of Practice, and Programme Specifications, as well as future rounds of Subject Review. The benchmark statements for 22 subjects were published in April 2000, and the statements for a further 20 subjects, including those for Art and Design, were published in March 2002. The full statements for all 42 subjects can be accessed on-line at the QAA website All quoted statements not referenced are extracted from the benchmark statements for art and design.