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Abstract With the National Foundation for Educational Research concluding that schools which include Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) in their curriculum add significant value to their students' art experience,  and at a time when much of the discussion around contemporary art questions the value of the art object itself, this article addresses the question: how are we to engage students with the contemporary and, at the same time, make value judgments of their own work? And, while the professional fine art world subscribes increasingly to the ‘rhizomatic’  template of art processes, how do we square this with current assessment criteria which require that students produce work where the preparation and finished product occupy separate domains and rely on ‘procedures and practices that reach back to the nineteenth century’?  By way of a postscript to the inconclusive findings of the Eppi-centre art and design review group , this article will also address what we have lost in the drive for domain-based assessment and how to regain some of the ground lost since the introduction of Curriculum 2000.