Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about MAEIA tools and resources? We have answers! Explore this list of our most common questions, organized by category.

  • General
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts
  • Authentically Assess Your Arts Students
  • Collaboratively Score Your Assessments
  • Demonstrate Effectiveness In Your Educator Evaluation
  • Review and Improve Your Arts Program
  • Engage In Professional Learning
What types of professional learning does MAEIA offer?

MAEIA provides professional learning opportunities, resources and tools to help arts educators, school districts, and ISDs implement high-quality K-12 arts programs. We offer face-to-face and virtual events, in-district professional learning sessions, and self-paced digital opportunities. And, our blog posts–written by arts educators–are a great source of inspiration and information about honing your craft.

How can I get started with using MAEIA performance assessments as part of demonstrating effectiveness in my educator evaluation?

There are three ways to use MAEIA assessments as part of your data collection to demonstrate effectiveness; each assessment booklet explains the method most suited to that assessment. Our resources also show you how to track changes in teaching and learning due to the information gained through the MAEIA assessments.

How do I get started with the Arts Education Program Review Tool (PRT)?

Familiarize yourself with the purpose of the PRT, browse related resources, and register for an account. After you submit your account registration, PRT software administrators will review your information and either approve your account or send you any questions they may have. This step is necessary to ensure that only Michigan educators are given access to the PRT software. Once your account is activated, you can get started on gathering information about your school or district arts program(s) and entering it in the software.

Why should I use the MAEIA tools and assessments?

More than 1,000 arts educators contributed to development of the MAEIA resources. The resources are high-quality, user- friendly, field-tested, and adaptable to your needs. Used together, they strengthen student performance, enhance program development, and help you demonstrate your value as an arts educator. And, they are available at no cost.

Who is using the MAEIA Resources?

MAEIA resources are used by teachers and districts throughout Michigan and beyond.

Who created the MAEIA resources?

The Michigan Assessment Consortium leads the MAEIA Project with support from the Michigan Depart­ment of Education. Professional learning is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

How can I become involved in MAEIA?

Browse our free resources and check out our events!  And, contact us to join a community of practice or schedule professional learning.


Are these standardized tests for the arts?

Yes. The MAEIA assessments are standardized–they are measures of student performance with a predefined set of assessment administration procedures and a defined set of student products to be evaluated using a pre-defined set of teacher scoring rubrics–but they are different from the standardized tests you may be familiar with. Rather than interrupt instruction, the MAEIA performance assessments are intended to be used as instruction is occurring, to document growth in student learning. The MAEIA assessment design is that arts educators will select a few of these rich, project-based, curriculum-embedded performance assessments to use in their classrooms. Rather than the state (or anyone else) selecting assessments for you, it is up to each teacher to select the MAEIA assessments that fit his/her already-planned instruction, and to use the assessments when and how they will be most useful to the individual teacher.

Who created these performance assessments?

Professional educators from all over the state of Michigan and from all levels of education have collaborated in developing the assessment items. In using these items, you are backed by professionals in your field who share your values and concerns in student, teacher, and program achievement.

I have read through the assessment items and wonder, “Who teaches this way?”

In any discipline, there are many approaches to content selection and delivery. There are also commonalities. We hope you find assessment items that suit your existing curriculum but also inspire you to expand your repertoire in delivering content.

Do I have to follow the script and the duration of time listed in the booklet?

No. The language and the length of times listed in the teacher booklets are guides to assist in your planning and proctoring of the assessments.

How are the items used for common assessment?

When you and your colleagues within a single discipline or within a department select the same assessment items, and agree to use the items in the same way and for the same purpose, they become common assessments.

Have these assessments been created with NDEO?

No, however we share the same vision as NDEO in regard to elevating quality and access to the arts in schools.

Why do so many of the assessments feature recording of student work?

Capturing all of a student’s skills in a single viewing or listening can be challenging, so we recommend recording assessments for subsequent viewings but also as a means for collecting evidence to support data on student growth and teacher effectiveness.

Were the MAEIA performance assessments created in collaboration with NAfME?

No, however MAEIA and NAfME share goals of advancing music education in schools.

Can the prompts be changed to reflect the genres represented in my class?

Yes, most of the assessments can be easily adapted to use a different selection of music, movement, or media. In doing so, you may also provide us with feedback on how you changed the item so we may identify improvements and update the assessments as we see fit.

Can the prompts be differentiated to accommodate varying reading levels?

Yes, we encourage you to adapt the materials to suit the needs of students. In doing so, you may also provide us with feedback on how you changed the item so we may identify improvements and update the assessments as we see fit.

How can the MAEIA performance assessments assist in the enhancement of a student portfolio?

By selecting a variety of assessments, you may find the variety of work to be included with a student portfolio is enriched. You may also find applying a single assessment to multiple projects offers a through-line in choosing the order of portfolio items.

Have the Visual Arts performance assessments been created in collaboration with NAEA?

No, however MAEIA and NAEA share the goal of elevating access and quality of the Visual Arts in schools.

Have the Theatre performance assessments been created in collaboration with the AATE?

No, however MAEIA and AATE share the common goal of advancing theatre education in the schools.

How do I join MI-CSS?

Each teacher who wants to join should provide the information required in the MI-CSS registration form (located at the top right-hand side of our Collaborative Scoring page). Once you have shared your information, MI-CSS site administrators will review your application and either accept your application or send you any questions they have about your application. This step is necessary to assure that only certified educators who are employed in a Michigan school are given access to the site, since it contains student-identifiable information and graphics. This also assures that your student assessments are second scored by credentialed educators.

Do I need a building or district administrator’s approval to join MI-CSS?

No, you don’t. The only requirement is that you are a certified Michigan educator, and that you have responded accurately about the discipline and grade range(s) you wish to score.

How much time does this take?

Registration is quick and easy. Once you have been accepted, you will receive the credentials needed to log in, establish one or more classes , upload students, and select the assessments to be used by each class. Once you have assessed students, their work can be uploaded to MI-CSS by you or your students. You can score each student in just a few minutes or less, and complete scoring in one or more scoring sessions. Thus, the time needed for scoring can be spread out over two or more sessions of a length you determine. Tutorial information for most MI-CSS functionality can be found at the top of each page, by clicking “Need help?” under your user account drop-down (top right-hand corner).

How many classes do I need to upload to the scoring system?

Participants can conduct the assessments and scoring in one or more classes. One class is the minimum and there is no maximum number that you are limited to.

How many students do I need to upload to and score in MI-CSS?

MI-CSS is completely flexible. Upload as many students as you wish to score. If you are teaching a very large class (e.g., a large band or orchestra) and only desire an overall group estimate of performance, you may wish to sample a subset of your students. For example, in a group of 100 students, a sample of 1 out of 4 students (equaling a total sub-group of 25) may be adequate. To select a sample, select a random number between 1 and X, where X is the denominator in the fraction that describes the sample to be chosen (in this case, ¼ so 4 is used). Then select every fourth student. This should be result in a sample of about 25 students.

Who will score my students' work?

The work of your students will be scored anonymously by one or more teachers who have identified the same discipline and grade level as you identified for your students. Using the Inter-scorer Comment & Student Feedback functions built into MI-CSS, you and the other teacher(s) scoring the work of your students can exchange notes about the performance, or any special scoring considerations, of any student.

Am I obliged to score student work from other teachers? If yes, how many?

Yes, teachers are requested to score at least as many students from other teachers as they have scored of their own students. If you uploaded and scored the work of 25 students, please score at least this number of students from other teachers. This will assure that the scoring is truly “collaborative.”

How can MI-CSS help me in demonstrating my educator effectiveness (DEE)?

MI-CSS can assist educators to demonstrate their effectiveness for educator evaluation in two ways. First, many of the MAEIA assessments can be administered in a pre-post instructional mode, so MI-CSS can show gains in student performance, along with samples of student work pre- and post-test. This will permit you to describe gains in student achievement numerically, as well as to show examples of student gains. There might be students who did not initially respond, or did so poorly, but who later demonstrated much higher performance. Teachers might show how students who did well at the outset of the school year later showed even higher performance.

MI-CSS could also be used as place for teachers to store video of their instruction – for the entire class, sub-groups of students, or individual students. This might assist the teacher to show the instructional practices that facilitated the achievement gains that students demonstrated. These videos and other instructional documentation will not be collaboratively scored, but remain available for educator use in demonstrating their effectiveness for educator evaluation.

The MAEIA Project was commissioned by the Michigan Department of Education in support of local districts and school efforts to provide the highest quality arts education to Michigan students K-12.

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