It is somewhat challenging to think about assessment as a retired art educator...but I have some strong feelings about the topic, many of which I can trace back to my Project Zero experiences:
· Assessment is part of instruction and informs it.
· Learning is growth over time.
· Assessment should be continuous and ongoing, not something that occurs at the end of an experience.
· All of us need to learn to assess our own work.
· There is no such thing as failure in art, only an opportunity to grow.
As a retired educator, I am currently working as an artist, in my own studio. How do I assess my own work? Is it any good? Where do I go from here? What should I leave behind? Well, those sentences above still resonate. They are the questions every artist, from kindergarten through old age, must ask him/herself. One thing I have been doing to help the self-assessment process is something I did for students when I taught--put everything, finished or unfinished, up on the wall, so I can SEE it. Another thing is a critique group the retired art educators in my area have recently formed. Each month, we meet at someone's house for a meal and then we look at the work that artist has been working on. We don't have a formal process, but our approach is much like the PQP (Praise, Question, Propose) process I used during my teaching years. My month was in December and the words of my friends and fellow artists still float through my mind as I work and then stand back to look at what I have done. Assessment...it is ongoing and it does inform the work!
Robot Word Webs
Gretchen Solinger, Student Representative
I recently completed my student teaching experience and had the opportunity to try out many different types of assessment, as well as observing how my cooperating teachers handled assessment and evaluation. I noticed there was a big push for literacy in all subjects in my school district, so for most of my projects I tried to find ways to incorporate writing in assessment.
My biggest project over the course of my student teaching experiment was a five-week robot relief sculpture with 3rd grade students. In order to assess the robots, I researched different types of brainstorming activities for creating a piece of writing. I decided to have students write a couple sentences about their artwork, describing color, shape, and texture. I had students sit with their finished piece and create a word web that allowed them to focus on words, not creating complete sentences. The students then used the word web to create a couple sentences that described their robot. This way, I was able to determine how well the students understood vocabulary from the lesson and the students had an easier time writing because of the word web. I was really pleased with how well the students did, and the students enjoyed sharing their word webs and descriptive sentences.
How do you assess your art students?
Julie Adams, Secondary Division Representative
With all the initiatives set upon teachers and the new assessment objectives implemented, I guess I am feeling overwhelmed. I am a veteran teacher at a new school, so I am being observed as a new teacher. Keeping up with all the standards, surveys, SLO data is a lot. I cannot imagine all the reading that the principal has to do on top of it all. I really feel this has got to change somehow. I have heard more and more stories of working long hours and unhealthy stress trying to keep up.
However...despite my reservations, all of this data collecting has made me take a look at how I assess my students. I have looked again at the state standards, the core standards, and targets to make sure my students are at the right level for which grade they are in. I have redone most of my assessments to include a self-assessment. I have also included a midpoint critique during each assignment. I hold critiques as assessment during final exams for high school. The students write critiques for their own work and the work of their peers, answering open-ended questions to help them think.
I think it both challenging to assess art work and I feel art teachers have the best way to assess students’ learning because visual proof is sometimes the best way to tell if someone is learning.
I attended a Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) workshop, Literacy and Assessment in the Fine Arts, given by Julie Palkowski from the Department of Public Instruction. She was very informative and invited us to contact her anytime or to visit DPI’s website to obtain information about assessment or how we address literacy in the arts. She encouraged us to invite others as well. I am now inviting you to check out all the information on the DPI website.
Another good source is the Art of Education website. I receive weekly emails from them with tips and information.
As always, if you have anything to share or would like me to check out anything for you, please contact me at email@example.com.
Assessments in a Minute
By Dustin Anderson
Elementary Art Representative
Arriving to school early to unload the kiln, cut paper, attend a staff meeting, organize daily materials, and empty the drying rack are just a few of the time consuming preparatory activities an elementary art teacher endures everyday. Before you know it a single file line of eager kiddos are filing through your door. They expect to have their full art time filled with learning and hands-on fun. Without a breath you realize that another grade of students is lined up and the revolving door in the art room begins. Without any preparatory time between classes to get supplies ready or even take a bathroom break, sometimes our days turn into late nights.
So where do we find time to properly assess what our students have learned in art? Rubrics are a great tool to evaluate a student’s artwork, but what about the wealth of knowledge we teach them everyday before the paint starts flying and the clay blobs get smashed to the floor? In this day and age we have been forced to come up with creative ways to assess our students that will not take away from their hands on work time. Here are just a few examples of easy “minute” assessments that you might find useful in your classrooms.
Exit Tickets: Exit tickets are quick, easy, and provide instant feedback. You can create your own exit ticket by creating a template with a simple question on it that your students must fill out in the last couple of minutes before exiting the room. The question should be broad: What did you learn in art today? Did you hear anything that surprised you today? What was your favorite part of the art project we finished today? Students can quickly write down a sentence or two and place their exit ticket into a labeled pocket with their classroom teacher’s name on it before they proceed to line up at the door.
What Stuck With You? Board: End each class by giving your students a quick minute to turn and talk. Call on several students to come up to a bulletin board and write one thing that stuck with them on their post-it note. Have the selected students read to the class what they wrote on their note. Before you know it, you will have a full board of important information that your students have learned from your great lessons.
Show Me 1,2,3: Have the students show you using their fingers how well they understand the information that you wanted them to learn in your lesson. Showing 1 finger means they “got it.” Showing 2 fingers means they “almost have it.” Showing 3 fingers means they are “trying to get it.” This is a great way for you, as a teacher, to judge how well your lesson was received.
Bullseye!: Create a laminated target for each class. Before class ends, ask students to take a post-it note and place it on one of the three circles of the target. Each circle is labeled with a question pertaining to your goal for the lesson. This is a great way to judge knowledge in a minute that can be looked at when you have a bit of free time.
There are many great assessment tools that can easily be adapted to your art room that will not require you to infringe on your students hands-on time. It's time for you to get creative and share some of your own minute assessments.