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Lesson Plans


Re: Easy Class/objectives/assessment


From: PGStephens
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 08:59:30 PDT

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    Agreed. Assessment is a big issue in the arts and granted assessment is a
    sticky wicket. It seems that art educators are divided in their ranks by
    those who assess and those who don't. I maintain the generally unpopular
    contention that if something is worth teaching then it is also worth
    assessing. I do not say this lightly. My background is in the elementary
    art class and it took years of personal struggle to get to the point where I
    am today with the idea of learning objectives and appropriate assessment.
    The struggle continues as I work with graduate students (all teachers in the
    field) as we develop art-based units of study.

    Perhaps one of the ideas we need to overcome is the idea of students feeling
    that assessment is something that happens to them, not something of which
    they have a part. Students should be involved in the assessment of their
    work. Reflection is a big part of learning.

    To develop appropriate assessment, however, we need to begin with appropriate
    learning objectives. Learning objectives are broad and provide multiple ways
    for students to demonstrate proficiency. For example:
    Students will actively respond in a variety of ways with compelling reasons
    in regard to the strengths and weaknesses of the artist's work to address
    global concerns

    This type of learning objective requires a rubric for assessment. The rubric
    for this objective could include the range of "Novice," "Competent," and
    "Exceptional." Novice might state that the student had no active response
    with limited reasons. Competent might state that the student had some active
    response with slightly more compelling reasons. Exceptional might include
    those students who truly exceeded expectations by having both active
    responses and a variety of compelling reasons. The words "active" and
    "compelling" become key to this rubric.

    For those teachers who want more specific rubrics, active and compelling can
    be further explained. For example, active might be defined as oral and
    written communication in both individual and group situations. Compelling
    could be defined as supported by information found within works of art or in
    research about the art or artist.

    These descriptors can be further refined to include somewhat of a checklist
    within the rubric. Novice could be "no active response and one or no
    compelling reasons." Competent could be "good oral communication but not
    good written communication (or vice verse) and 2 - 3 compelling reasons."
    Exceptional could be "good oral and written communication with more than
    three compelling reasons."

    Compare this to activity-based objectives and checklists.

    An example of an activity-based objective is:
    The student will write and talk about the work of art

    This type of objective does not provide for an expansive sort of assessment.
    It seems to suggest either a student did the work or did not do the work. A
    checklist would do the trick here. This is an activity masquerading as a
    learning objective. It says what the student will do, not what the student
    will demonstrate as learned.

    So, going back to what we were taught in preservice courses, we were told to
    write "measurable" objectives. My understanding then was that measurable was
    something I could physically see the students do (e.g., make a painting, draw
    a portrait) not what they learned. However, now I am seeing measurable in a
    broader sense that means what kids have learned. Measuring learning is much
    more difficult than measuring how well they can follow instructions to create
    a painting or a draw a portrait. Measuring learning also makes us, as
    educators, stop and ask what it is that we really want kids to learn, what it
    is that we are teaching, and if what we are teaching is something that will
    impact our students when they are adults.

    Any comments?

    Pam
    http://www.ARTeaches.com

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