Yes, assessment. How do we assess students in the elementary art room? I give conduct grades, and most of the time it's a default S unless I have documentation that the kid has been particularly poorly behaved in class. I have 790 kids. They each do about 8 projects a year, so if I sit down and grade each one of them that totals 6320 grades per year. Uh no. Not doin' it. My solution was to create a generic rubric for ALL projects, and then let the kids self-assess. These assessments do NOT affect their conduct grades, but it is a good indication for me of who doesn't get the project objectives, and how they each feel about their work. The first part of the rubric says "I CAN statements." This is a district wide buzz word for "lesson objectives." I have the lesson objectives posted on the board and I ask students to look at those and decide whether they honestly "CAN" do all those things. For example, the statement might be "I CAN create patterns using lines." If they have completed all the objectives, they get a 3 or in the case of the littles, they could get a :).
BIG KID (Grades 3 and up) Assessment Rubric:
The kids are having their first experience with these self assessments this week, and so far it's going fairly well. I have to talk it through with the littles, and probably I'll have to do that with the bigs as they finish up their project. Since this is a new thing, I expect them to be a little weirded out at first. But assessment was something I kept getting low marks for on my evaluations, so I've attempted to cover it this way, without making myself nuts trying to give individual grades.
LITTLE KID (K-2) Assessment Rubric:
After attending TN Arts Academy this summer and having a long conversation with an Arts educator about assessment in the Arts, I decided that it is very important, but it must be treated differently than assessment models for academic subjects. After all, if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life feeling like a failure.
I am having mixed feelings about the whole initiative to perhaps include the related arts on standardized tests eventually. Yes, thank you, powers that be, for finally concluding that the Arts are important enough to be measured....but...please don't make me teach to a test...because I have a feeling that's what it'll come to. We are already crunched for time and I am cramming as much material into my lessons as possible, but seeing the kids once a week (or less in some cases) for 45 minutes means that they have a hard time retaining much.
Anyway just a thought. At least self-assessment is helpful feedback for me, and it holds the kid somewhat accountable.