Navigating the world of assessment can be daunting, especially assessment in the arts. Arts assessments come in a variety of forms, all dependent upon a variety of factors: resources available, specific arts discipline, grade level, etc. While information and research regarding assessment in the arts begins to mount, and the importance and pressure of reporting data from assessments becomes critical for demonstrating teacher effectiveness, I would like to offer up a “take a deep breath,” “let’s get organized and take it one step at a time,” practical approach to Visual Arts Assessment in the secondary classroom. Chunk it and Bundle it.
I teach K-12 Art in a small rural public school that serves just under 300 students in the entire district. I teach 2 hours of High School Art, 2 hours of Junior High Art, and 2 hours of Elementary Art each day. Just writing that makes me tired! Providing data on all these students at all of these different grade levels is too much and would literally become a full-time job on its own. So to keep data management realistic, I have selected a small portion of my population from which to pull my data. Since my High School students have a summative exam already worked into their semester schedule, the practical choice for me was to start with a selection of 16-25 high school students from which to pull data.
That’s right, instead of trying to pull data from all 200+ of my students, I focus in on a manageable set.
The data that I collect from these students is a bundle of 4 chunks:
- MAEIA High School Level 1 Visual Art Performance Assessment Data
- Digital Portfolio Performance Data using Google Classroom
- Pre and Post Knowledge Data using Google Forms and Flubaroo add-on
- Pre and Post Perception Data using Google Forms and Flubaroo add-on
This style of data collection requires forethought and organization at the very beginning of the school year. I often incorporate my assessment plans right into my curriculum maps and I store the data digitally. I also use an Student Learning Objective (SLO) document to serve as a kind of roadmap for my bundled approach. Although this type of document may not be necessary in every district, I do find getting organized in the very beginning very helpful.
Also I feel using a bundled approach gives my students many options and chances for demonstrating their growth as opposed to relying upon a single assessment that may not be holistic. It’s comforting to know that my students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their growth by using 4 different assessment methods.
MAEIA Performance Task
This year my High School year long curriculum consists of three-dimensional art and design. The MAEIA assessment that I selected was the V.T409 3-D Wire Sculpture. After administering the task to my students, I collected performance assessment data by way of digital photos submitted to students’ Google Classroom Accounts. I also collected numeric data (point scores or grades), based on the rubric included in the MAEIA assessment. This process lasted approximately 5 class hours.
The second chunk of data that I collect is actually collected by my students. Students post all of their work into a digital file organized and housed in their Google Classroom accounts. When reporting my data I often have students select, print and document their own pre-proficient work and also proficient work. This method allows students to visually self-assess their own learning and report that learning in a visual manner. I use the 5 C’s strategy (Content, Craftsmanship, Creativity, Communication, Composition) to guide students through this evaluation process midway through the year and then again at the end of the year.
20 Questions Pre and Post
This set of data regards Knowledge Data. Think of a traditional multiple choice exam. I select 20 questions mainly focused on knowledge of key terms, concepts and image recognition. It is given within the first two weeks of school and then again during the final exam. I use Google Forms to administer the test and the Flubaroo add-on to grade the assessment and then chart and report the data. This chunk of data is collected fast; It only takes the students 15-20 minutes to complete. Technology is a huge timesaver and the forms can be reused again when I re-teach the same curriculum.
Perception of Growth Survey
The final set of data I collect and report is Pre- and Post-Perception Data.
This answers the questions:
- Does the student know and realize when he or she is meeting a standard?
- Is he or she trying to meet a standard?
- How does the learner perceive his or her own growth?
This is where a student offers up a short narrative of his or her perceived growth.
There is power not only in the numbers and visuals of student growth data, but also in the student’s own story. Confidence, knowledge, experience, goals and learning in the arts are addressed in the student’s own voice.
Bundle up all these chunks of data in a cohesive digital dossier and present them to your administrator during your final evaluation to demonstrate your effectiveness in not one, but in four different ways. This kind of data bundling presents visual, numerical and reflective narrative that all highlight the growth and learning of your students through cohesive methods.