V.E441

Interpreting Intent

Interpreting Intent

Students will view a work of art and critically interpret it in order to discern the work’s meaning and the artist’s intent. Using the technique of aesthetic scanning, students will consider four properties of a work of art: sensory, formal, technical, and expressive. A graphic organizer will help them develop their thinking, and then they will each write a short essay summarizing their observations and conclusions. This assessment will be especially useful if the teacher already uses this approach or one like it to analyze and interpret artwork. However, even if the teacher has not previously used aesthetic scanning in the classroom, this assessment aligns to the standards, and students should still be able to follow the prompts and complete the assessment.

The artwork being observed is Rage, Flower Thrower by Banksy. An alternate prompt, Guernica by Pablo Picasso, may also be used if this assessment is used as a pre/post assessment.

This item has not been field-tested by Michigan teachers.


This is an analytic rubric. The column on the left shows the dimension that is being measured in the student’s performance. The levels across the top row indicate the performance level in the dimensions. Occasionally all dimensions and performance levels are exemplified by multiple students in a single recording.

Teacher Scoring Rubric

  • Dimension
  • Graphic Organizer

  • Evidence of higher level thinking

  • Clarity of writing and evidence of observation

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • Student made observations in one of the four categories.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student made observations in two or three of the four categories.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student made general observations in all four categories.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student made insightful observations in all four categories.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student responded to zero to three questions in his or her essay. Student gave a vague interpretation of artist’s intent.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student responded to four to six questions in his or her essay. Student gave a limited interpretation of artist’s intent.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student responded to all seven questions in his or her essay. Student made a plausible interpretation of artist’s intent.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student responded in depth to all seven questions in his or her essay. Student fully developed an interpretation of artist’s intent.

    N/A at this time.
  • Main ideas are not clear.

    N/A at this time.
  • Main ideas are somewhat clear.

    N/A at this time.
  • Main ideas are clear but not well supported by observed details.

    N/A at this time.
  • Main ideas are clear and well supported by observed details.

    N/A at this time.
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