ladder of progress 

The Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society has provided a structured system of assessment since 1994 – the CLAS Ladder of Progress which helps everyone to improve – from beginners to Fellows. This works for you if you are seeking the occasional workshop to boost your skills or if you are looking for accreditation at a certain standard, or if you are aiming for tutor accreditation.

Entry on the CLAS Ladder of Progress can be made at any level – whatever is appropriate for you. This ranges from

  • having your calligraphy compared to national standards with award of a Certificate of Calligraphy
  • working for a CLAS National Diploma in Calligraphy at Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced level. Please note, the diploma is not a course, but an assessment procedure, and is for students of calligraphy in the Western tradition based on the Roman alphabet
  • becoming a CLAS Fellow 

You may work mostly alone towards one of the diploma levels or with a local tutor and group. To help you complete the work for a National Diploma in Calligraphy CLAS offers a Diploma Preparation Course (previously known as Ladder of Progress Course) that can be organised by a tutor or group to help students achieve their goals.

The National Diploma is open to CLAS members only for assessments held from 2021. For modular entries, you will need to be a member for all years in which you submit work for assessment.

All the levels of achievement for a Certificate or a Diploma in the CLAS Ladder of Progress use criterion referenced assessment. This means specific criteria are chosen and marks are allotted to the various categories. These are explained per level of assessment to the students in advance. For example, crucial points that relate to each hand such as: the construction of letters; what pen angle and x-height is used; the spacing of letters and words; consistency of family characteristics among the letters (what shape is the letter ‘o’ and related forms, such as arches starting in the right places) plus the use of colour in layout and design to help interpret the words. Marks are awarded from an allocated maximum, these show clearly where there are strengths and weaknesses. All CLAS assessments provide feedback on the marking to candidates. 

Over the years many students of calligraphy all over the world have submitted their work for marking and assessment by CLAS Fellows. Each student benefits from having a goal to work towards and their work is assessed at an international level. Though time consuming for the assessors, their feedback is essential for a student to progress and improve.

image courtesy of Andrea Wunderlich