Checking for Understanding
WAEA Past President
The current trend of designing SLOs has encouraged me to become more aware of my current teaching practice. Being held accountable for content delivered and for what I am assessing is a necessity for me to reflect and revise my own curricula. In any career there are performance reviews and I often wonder, why should education be any different?
This year’s SLO is to assess my Art Foundations 1/2 students on their understanding of the Principle of Design, Contrast, and the Element of Design, Value. I believe in order for my students to become better artists they need to focus on the fundamentals. In this case, by the end of their first year in art they should be able to illustrate their understanding and communicate what an effective drawing or painting using contrast and value should look like in their work and the work of others.
Checking for understanding comes in different ways. For example, through the 365 Artists 365 Days Project (365artists365days.com) I seek artists whose work incorporates the aforementioned principle and element. After spending 15 minutes doing silent reading and addressing some essential questions, I begin to facilitate a discussion in the form of a critique. During the critiques, students are to make notes in their sketchbooks. These notes become a springboard for what they need to address in their artwork, keeping in mind that we are applying those notes at the most basic level. After the students are finished with their project, we repeat the process in similar fashion as we did with the 365 project. The end result being that each student completes a self-critique and applies that information to their next project, which continues to address contrast and value.