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2019 MAEIA Institute

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

The Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project offers the MAEIA Institute, a concise professional learning offering which trains administrators-arts educator pairs how to support and measure growth in the arts disciplines.

The Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project offers the MAEIA Institute, a concise professional learning offering which trains administrators-arts educator pairs how to support and measure growth in the arts disciplines.

Click here for more information: MAEIAInstitute2019_flyer-final

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Cheryl Poole: Watching as They Assembled the MAEIA Tools

Cheryl Poole    Leave a Comment   

Cheryl L. Poole is an educator with more than 40 years of experience in visual arts, museum administration and facilitating professional learning. She has had the pleasure of working with educators in the MAEIA...

Cheryl L. Poole is an educator with more than 40 years of experience in visual arts, museum administration and facilitating professional learning. She has had the pleasure of working with educators in the MAEIA project over the last 5 years.

Watching as They Assembled the MAEIA Tools

Sometimes you don’t what tools you need until you start the work.

In 2012, I had recently retired from an ISD position when a friend enticed me to give just a ‘bit of time’ to a new project being directed by the Michigan Assessment Consortium. It was the very beginning of the Michigan Arts Education, Instruction, and Assessment project. Ultimately, working for MAEIA became the most satisfying experience of my 40+ year career in arts and education.

I met with the early leadership team in late fall to acquire a description of the project I was thinking about joining. Over the subsequent five years, I’ve reflected on that initial description of the project…and the evolving dialogue. Although that early leadership team was describing for me the goal of the MAEIA project, they were also clarifying and elaborating on it for themselves. What I heard that day anchored my understanding of the project and has been the context of my work with MAEIA since then.

The Why
It started with a rumor. While, personally, I was in the meaning-making stage of joining this project, I was also watching four great minds with diverse areas of expertise (three of whom I knew by reputation and admired a great deal), grappling with important ideas. They had come together over a concern about a rumor circulating among Michigan educators and legislators.

The rumor was that legislation might come to pass that would force teacher evaluation to be based on student achievement data. These leaders were passionate about arts education and they were aware of the absence of formal, quality assessments that would provide the achievement data for educators in dance, music, theatre and visual arts.

If the rumor came true and law required educators to be evaluated on student assessment data, what would that mean for educators in the arts?

The worry around the table was that arts teachers would be evaluated on reading or math test data.
They all held that that would be wholly unfair. There was clearly a need for legitimate data of student performance in the arts.

The What
As the conversation evolved that day, I observed what I interpreted as their growing realization that the project would have to be a great deal more comprehensive than appropriate assessments in the arts:

-Evaluating a student would also need to be understood in the context of the dance, music, theatre and visual arts program to which they had access.

-Arts assessments would have to be created with the assumption of a quality, articulated K-12 arts education program.

-What about the many configurations of arts programs within districts?

The questions that needed to be answered were:

-What was a quality program?

-What did it look like?

-What criteria defined a quality arts education program?

-Who decided that?

-Based on what research?

Aha! The plot thickened because then the conversation came around to how to measure quality for each a dance education program. A music education program. Theatre education program. Visual arts education program.

The research had to be compiled first for each discipline and a tool for measuring programs had to be developed. Only then could performance assessments in the arts exist within an understandable context. And an understandable context was necessary before a teacher could select appropriate assessments and subsequently be evaluated on the resulting data.

So as I sat at the table that first day, making meaning of the MAEIA project, I heard the project expanding in real time.

Starting with the environmental need and the goal, the importance of developing tools became clear. To get to quality performance assessments, MAEIA would first have to define a quality program and have an ability to quantify and measure that quality.

Yet to unfold was the realization that, as we stepped forward and backwards toward the goal, MAEIA-involved educators would also need a compilation of research, to identify specifications for creating assessments, and guidelines for administering them.

The Community
We recognized, as a group, that collectively we didn’t have that expertise to achieve the task. Hundreds of educators, artists and researchers representing all four arts disciplines would need to bring forward what they knew to assemble the tools of MAEIA. And they did.

Fast Forward
Five years later, measuring educator effectiveness with student data was realized under PA 173 of 2015, over a thousand educators have contributed to what has become the MAEIA tools and resources: a Blueprint, Assessment Specifications Document, Research and Recommendations, a Program Review Tool, and 360 Assessment Items in Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.

With support from the MCACA, fifteen MAEIA Leadership Fellows are prepared to deliver professional learning to districts, buildings, and community partners with an invitation for additional Associates to be extended soon.

The MAEIA Project Management Team along with dedicated participants, have just wrapped a Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness pilot with plans to continue the work into a second year while we also launch a Collaborative Scoring System pilot.

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Liz Andrews: “Jump in- take a chance- try something new.”

Elizabeth Andrews    Leave a Comment   

The MAEIA Leadership Fellows work individually and collaboratively to create and present professional learning on the use of MAEIA resources in face-to-face and webinar formats. For some presenters, virtual sessions are new formats which lead...

The MAEIA Leadership Fellows work individually and collaboratively to create and present professional learning on the use of MAEIA resources in face-to-face and webinar formats. For some presenters, virtual sessions are new formats which lead to new understandings of how to create dynamic engagement.

We have invited the Leadership Fellows to write about their experiences as they engage the creative process in developing this work. Liz Andrews and Cynthia Clingman recently collaborated to present a virtual session. Here, Liz shares her thoughts on the process and the product of making her first MAEIA Leadership Fellows virtual presentation.

“Jump in – take a chance – try something new.”

These are encouraging words we give to our students and last month we got a chance to model this behavior. In creating and presenting our first webinar, my colleague Cindy Clingman and I did just that: jumped in, took a chance and tried something quite new. The result? Great experience for us and groundwork laid for future presentations.

Thanks to Cindy’s outstanding preparations, the technical aspects of the presentation including set-up and delivery were spot-on and easy for us to facilitate.

What I learned from the general lack of participant interaction is that we as presenters can improve our methods of instruction to adjust to the technical, online format. Basically, webinar participants can hit the mute button, walk away from the screen and tune out all together without the presenters ever knowing they left the room. Is this a high-quality arts professional development presentation? Without any engagement is any learning happening?

We need to adjust our planning leading to a webinar that brings the MAEIA project to life.

The challenge is how to make webinars: Engaging, RelevantInteractive in ways that lead the participant to pursue the MAEIA resources further and want more .

After doing a bit of google research, here are some tips I’ve gleaned to pursue a more collaborative, inspiring webinar:

1. Make it personal.

Make some time at the very beginning of the webinar to find out some interesting facts about each attendee.
Begin with some type of question that requires an investigative answer. This can be anything from how much they currently know and/or use the MAEIA resources to other types of arts assessments they are familiar with.

2. Involve them with the content.

This can be like a guessing game – instead of presenting information on a slide and then moving on, show a photograph of a student in action and ask them to guess or make a prediction about the outcome relevant to the content.

3. Check in.

At several points within the webinar, stop and ask for specific feedback to check for comprehension. Present a thoughtful question that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer.

I am looking forward to putting these ideas into action, making my next MAEIA webinar an engaging, inspiring presentation that arts educators will want to share!

Do you remember what it is like to try new things? Tell us about it!

Interested in becoming a MAEIA Leadership Fellow? We’ll soon be inviting applications to the program. Think it over! We are particularly interested in Administrators, Teaching Artists, Community Artists, and K-12 Educators.  

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