I thought I would add my own thoughts regarding grading art assignments. As
has already been shared here, coming up with the mechanics of what the grade
consists of will give you a good working framework with which to generate a
final grade at the end of the grading period.
As you put that together, consider what it is that you wish your students to
take away from the class as a whole learning experience and how they can
best relate to you what it is that they have learned. There are certainly
different approaches to that based on teacher and on grade level and so the
suggestions I am providing here are from my perspective at the high school
level in a school with over 2600 students (my class size is anywhere from
the high 20s to the high 30s per class).
Using my Drawing I class as a single example, I have a series of assignments
that I give my students over the course of a quarter (9 weeks / 85 minute
periods), that are built primarily around their developing drawing skills
through building on sequentially presented concepts. The assignments cover
the use of all of the compositional space, the creation of the illusion of
depth in space, the use of various techniques in the creation of depth, the
use of value as one of those concepts that then translates into a 4:1 scale
self portrait drawing which, in turn becomes the introduction to an emotive
self portrait. That assignment begins to have them open up to utilizing
their skills to more creatively interpret the work being done in class and
how they consider what it is that they are making. We move on to doing a
series of pen and ink drawings that experiment with the use of line to
create value and texture and end up with a final composition (using a
variety of student selected media), that may either be a contrasting pattern
composition made up of parts of images from other distinctly different
images as sources, or a metamorphosis composition that shows change within
the structure of the subject. The final composition is geared to having
them become more in tune with the process involved in the creation of the
artwork as opposed to being focused on an anticipated outcome. In addition,
I have them work on a packet that I have created based on our art text
(ArtTalk by Rosalind Ragans), which helps to reinforce the concepts being
taught in class. Their final exam is a self reflection of the work that
they have done during the quarter, conveying back to me in essay form both
the ideas being illustrated in each assignment as well as their results.
I have a rubric assessment sheet for each assignment that they receive after
I am done grading each project. We also discuss the better examples done
by the class which I hang in the hallway. I split my grading into 80%
classwork (which includes all assignments as well as behavior, participation
in discussions, clean-up, etc.), and 20% final exam.
Hope that helps.
Art Dept. Chair
Anoka H.S., Anoka, MN.
From: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group digest
Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2009 2:01 AM
To: teacherartexchange digest recipients
Subject: teacherartexchange digest: February 07, 2009
TEACHERARTEXCHANGE Digest for Saturday, February 07, 2009.
1. Re: need help with fountain artwork
3. Re: grading
4. Re: grading
5. Re: grading
6. Re: grading
From: JeanE C. McIntosh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 11:21:42 -0600
I am a new teacher and I am teaching painting as part of my last
of my mfa program.
I am struggling with how to grade art projects. How much do homework
assignments count and how much do each paintings count?
Do you actually assign numbers to these projects or are they just pass/
I realize this is something I should have worked out before the
but I haven't. Not satisfactorily in my head.
The professors at my school use a system of intuition.
I would appreciate any help anyone would like to offer.
Everyone has their different formulas. I use a system of 80% projects and
behavior, 10% takehome sketchbook assign and 10% quizzes. I monitor their
behavior and if they get a behavior mark during that project, their grade
goes down for that project. I didnt have to do that until last year. I grade
projects a, a- A+, etc based on following the rubric I make up for each
project. It will take awhile before you are able to have a rubric for each
project but it makes grading easier. Good Luck!
As Trish said, everyone kind of comes up with what works for them, but
regardless of how you weight each category (projects, homework, etc),
rubrics are extremely helpful: both you and the kids understand the
expectations for each project from the get-go.
I teach at a small private boarding school where all students are
required to take 2 fine arts classes (studio/visual art, photography,
music or woodworking) in order to graduate. Some kids come into my
classes with a real desire to improve already pretty impressive
skills, and others are there because they need the credit. I also
teach grade 8 (in a separate class--finally!) through seniors. Our
school has a policy that homework counts at least 25% of a student's
This is how I've structured the weighting:
8th Grade Art (currently just one semester; other semester is in a
Work Ethic: 20% (This is informally calculated for a weekly grade.
Most kids receive a 95%, but if they've needed reminders to "get
busy," stay in their seat, etc. it will drop. On the other hand, if a
kid is really doing a fantastic job and using time well, it might go
Art 1(full year, grades 9-12)
Work Ethic: 15%
Work Ethic: 15%
Advanced Art (Art 3-4)
HW: 30% (may either be a HW drawing or a blog entry in which they
discuss their work/process)
Work Ethic: 10%
Honors Art (Reserved for students in their senior year who are
seriously working on portfolios)
Homework: 30% (may either be a HW drawing or a blog entry in which
they discuss their work/process)
Class time, aside from brief introductions to projects, especially if
linked to a particular artist or art movement, are hands-on. More
in-depth information about artists or art movements show up in
homework reading assignments with questions. (Basically *I* write a
paper and make up questions pertaining to key points, things I want
for them to remember.)
Students also have weekly observational drawing homework assignments.
This is the rubric I use for homework drawings:
0-5: Follows directions
0-10: On sketchbook paper (computer paper is a 5, lined paper is a 0)
0-10: Accurate proportions
0-10: Accurate perspective
0-10: Accurate details
0-10: Use of shading/shadows
0-10: Effective contrast (I encourage bold, strong contrast drawings)
0-20: Turned in on time (the due dates for homework drawings are
posted at the beginning of each semester. Each day something is late
results in 10 points off.)
Because I'm in a small school, I write extensive comments on each
homework rubric sheet for each drawing. It's a way to extend and
better personalize the teaching.
Next year I might possibly increase the weighting for projects for
Advanced and Honors art, but I'm still largely about the process
that's involved in creating rather than just the final project.
Hope this helps!
Subject: Re: grading
From: Ken Schwab <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 12:22:39 -0800 (PST)
I used to weight assignments: 2 weeks-100 points, 3 weeks- 200 pts. and 4
weeks- 300 points. Charts, quizes and worksheets 25 pts. Homework 25-50
Have an objective and use a rubric to figure A,B,C,D,F based on performance
within the rubric.
San Jose, CA
--- On Sat, 2/7/09, JeanE C. McIntosh <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: JeanE C. McIntosh <email@example.com>
> Subject: [teacherartexchange] grading
> To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
> Date: Saturday, February 7, 2009, 9:21 AM
> I am a new teacher and I am teaching painting as part of my
> last semester
> of my mfa program.
> I am struggling with how to grade art projects. How much do
> assignments count and how much do each paintings count?
> Do you actually assign numbers to these projects or are
> they just pass/fail?
> I realize this is something I should have worked out before
> the semester started
> but I haven't. Not satisfactorily in my head.
> The professors at my school use a system of intuition.
> I would appreciate any help anyone would like to offer.
> JeanE McIntosh
> To unsubscribe go
Subject: Re: grading
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 18:35:30 -0500 (ECT)
If you plan to continue teaching, you will have to develop a better system
That just won't cut in today's push for quantifiable, accountable grading at
every level. I
never weighted my grades into percentages; it was strictly point-based and
practice assignments (sketches, trying out new techniques) earned 50 points,
assignments earned 100. Sketchbook work earned 25 points.
Here it helps to have clear objectives--what exactly are the students to
learn? If they are
to produce a painting using a palette of split complementaries, then you
will assess how well
they achieved that and what would constitute an A, B, C (on a point
scale)--and let them know
ahead of time what an A looks like. When faced with a pile of student work,
I would sort it
quickly and roughly into A, B, and C piles, then go back and determine
exactly where on the
point scale they stood. Sometimes a piece would be recategorized to a
We all have different ways of grading and you will have to pick the things
that suit your
style. If you're really stuck I could send you some samples of rubrics.
END OF DIGEST
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