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Re: grades in elementary

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From: Jerry Vilenski (jvilensk_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Aug 03 2001 - 15:51:04 PDT


I have found that there is no ideal grading system in elementary art. After many years of trying various critieria, I finally settled on a system that, while woefully inadequate, seems to do at least
part of the job. Basically, we specialists share a report card that is distributed twice per year. The report card is laid out in three distict sections, each designed by the specialist (music, art,
P.E.) with the criteria they feel is important to touch upon each marking period. On the left, we all indicate the same final grades of : Outstanding, Satisfactory, Needs Improvement, marked in a box
adjacent to the line. To the right, two colums with checkmarks: In art, I have one column for tangible observable positive behaviors, such as Understanding Art Concepts, Cooperation, Developing Skills
at grade level, showing respect for others, etc. The other column contains comments such as Does not work well in a group situation, Frequently causes disturbances in class, Does not easily understand
art concepts, is not developing skills at grade level. I include about 6 of these comments in each column. Music and P.E. has a similar layout, but not the same comments in their sections. A checkmark
next to each section makes commenting a simple process, but we leave a small area for written comments on the bottom. This system is as close as we have ever been to an indicator of a kid's progress in
these type of classes. It is really not very good, and it is very subjective, but with over 600 kids in our charge, it is probably the best we can do. We figure that at least it is an indication to
parents that we exist and we do expect a certain standard of effort and behavior in our classes. Serious problems are dealt with one on one with parents. Any other system would probably entail meticulus
grading of each project, and keeping track of most of the things Secondary teachers may do, but for maybe 150 kids per year. If anyone has a better idea, please share it!! Personally, I would rather put
my efforts into teaching kids art and developing new ideas for them to explore than spending my time observing and taking notes each time a class is in session.
Hope this helps.
Jerry

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