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Lesson Plans

Re: assessment good/bad

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Litesal (Litesal)
Mon, 20 Jul 1998 11:18:04 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: taylorh <taylorh>
To: <>
Date: Sunday, July 19, 1998 7:07 PM
Subject: assessment good/bad

>teresa torreseca wrote about assessment of good art-bad art:
>>>"The real problem that worrys me a lot is about acessing the art works
>of our
>students , it is easy to acess certains criteria: as interest,
>vocabulary, organisation and methode. But what about creative work?There
>are so
>many possible answers in art communication, for instance a still life ,
>say a drawing about a chair What are your criteria to acess it?"
>This ties in to the notion that objective standards CAN become obsolete by
>the time they are institutionalized. It's one thing if we assign projects
>which fall within an established context such as Impressionism. We can
>write a rubric which covers the essential criteria.
>I think the major thrust of Art Education today is education "about art"
>passing on of date to enhance art appreciation and to qualify the art
>consumer. It's not my cuppa tea, but that's neither here nor there. In
>that context however it makes a great deal of sense to work to a rubric:
>The students work will receive a superior grade if it incorporates
>qualities w, x, y, and z. If only three of those qualities are present the
>assessment comes down a level. Only 2? Another level. Only one? Again, it
>drops a level.
>Maybe you are studying an artist. Seurat, if the student uses pointillist
>dots and avoids using lines, that's good, if those dots mix color a/la
>Seurat that's better, if the imagery incorporates Seurat's other theories
>about upturned and downturned forms even better! You could ad to that or
>revise as needed.
>The thing of it is you assess the qualities you can specify and that both
>you and the student can identify. Everyone knows whats expected.
>A problem may only arise when you confront a student like I was who is
>more immediately concerned with their own personal expression in and
>through art than in their ability to understand what has gone before or in
>replicating something already achieved. Objectively the student will fail
>because they won't fulfill the rubric with any interest or intention.
>Maybe you will get some of it back or not.... Sadly the student is deeply
>involved in art and doing everything the way some 'real' artists would in
>confronting Seurat. Maybe the student uses something other than dots
>consciously or unconsciously anticipating Close. What do you do? Maybe she
>restricts the palette or the imagery using a more Okeefe subject. Maybe
>the student is interested in some other psychological theory than Seurat
>in the upturned line.
>Very quickly the divergent student coopts the project making it their own
>and making the rubric, as a result, useless. What to do? Usually the
>teacher had to give me a "c" or a "d". Some just left me alone. :)
>(Of course if you were a divergent teacher you'd have the opposite set of
>problems. You REALLY want all your students to diverge and become
>independently and creaticely engaged in the process of art and many of
>your students (depending on your situation of course) would simply want to
>complete the assignment, demonstrate their competence, and move on to the
>next assignment; either with the goal of graduating or of learning things
>in the proper way.
>National standards and examinations provide a procrustean filter cutting
>off the best just as surely as they identify "the worst". A good
>proportion of your "intelligent and creative set" are likely to crash and
>burn unless someone gets them on a track that understands and accepts
>their divergencies. Other will be gifted enough to be able to get through
>the system unaided.
>There really SAD thing is that the arts are perhaps the best suited to
>accomodate such students and to bring the greatest advantage out of their
>gifts but, no matter where I look, something in the institution seems bent
>on eliminating the divergent independent individual or bending her closer
>to the norm. It is the administrator unwilling to adapt to the student who
>argues that the student needs to learn how to adapt because the world
>demands it. "The world" does not demand it is the individual who
>religiously believes in the importance of conformity and who also finds
>conformity of greater convenience and requiring less effort.
>A "Genius" (someone "intelligent and creative", at least) can always be
>hired but they are notoriously unstable and therefore "throwaway people"
>if at all inconvenient.
>(time to get off my soap box!)

Dear Henry and All,

I don't know how teaching to objective standards could possibly become
obsolete. In my opinion, students need to be given a baseline guide of what
is expected for any given activity. Often this guide brings them to a new
level of skill which they can use to effectivly express themselves. We can
not assume that students have the knowledge the determine their own
direction until we outline expectations and the student addresses them.
Otherwise, what is our role as teacher? A rubric listing general
expectations, does not cancel out creativity and self expression, it simply,
clearly defines what the student must (at least) accomplish while expressing
themselves. A well written rubric leaves room for personal interpretation
in any assignment. The rubric ensures that the student is learning
something he/she can use to develop more sophisticated personal ideas.

A well structured class could use objective standards, outlined in rubrics,
in a number of skill building assignments and exercises, to build up to a
culminating activity which the student could design. The student would then
list his/her own standards thereby communicating a clear purpose to their
work, which I believe is essential. Students could see how everything they
experience feeds into any type of creative endeavor. The learnings that lead
up to the culminating work would actually be more experimental and open,
giving the student the opportunity to experiment with and learn many new
things before they use them for truly personal expression. It is extremely
difficult to create artwork without some sort of skill and knowledge base.
I feel it is my job to provide that skill and knowlege base. Then the
student can intelligently decide what they will and will not use to create.
Ignorance does not breed great art work, in most cases.

Please note, in my classroom, creativity, productivity, and involvement are
always rewarded. I am very flexible with my standards. A student can move
in a different direction, or think divergently, in fact, I encourage it.
However, they must intelligently be able to articulate their purpose (which
they can't do if they have no knowledge base). I believe the way I
structure my classes facilitates this. Because I set forth objective,
baseline standards, we all start on the same page, and diverge from there.
This structure works with all types of learning styles, everyones' needs are
addressed. Certain students would flounder if they had no guidelines at
all. If we start with guidelines and encourage divergent thinking from
there, it is a compromise that serves all students.

Sincerely, Leah