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Re: What Does Excellence Look Like in an Art Class?


From: knitzber (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jun 17 2004 - 14:02:18 PDT

In response to the question of what excellence looks like in
classroom, the answer is always exemplified in a student's
ability to
demonstrate not only an understanding of the concepts being
taught in
the lesson but also to have taken the assignment to an
entirely different
level in the artwork that they were able to create in
response to the
lesson being taught. I think that while part of that
success is certainly
going to be arrived at due to the level of pre-existing
talent and ability
inherent in the student, there are additional factors that
also come into
play in helping a student to arrive at the level of
creativity and skill
necessary to indeed be able to achieve excellence.

Part of that equation has to do with the amount of
preparation that a
student is able to bring to the table when addressing a
assignment. What avenues were explored with the students by
instructor in help the class think beyond what might be
construed as
more mundane and superficial responses that would satisfy
the basic
tenets of the work being learned?

Equally valuable is the level of skill that has been
demonstrated by the
student in the use of the materials in order to better
communicate the
intent. That also requires preparation and practice in
order to achieve
a level of excellence.

To successfully implement both of the above components,
there needs
to be an existing structure in the learning environment
(class) that
supports the necessary kinks of growth that will enable more
to be able to excell. The driving forces holding the
structure together
include the following principles:
1) the work must be students-centered and instructor driven
2) the latest and best techniques need to be employed in
teaching the
3) the building of knowledge for all students in the class
must be
attended to
4) a standards-based approach must be put into place in
order to
establish high and consistant expectations
5) students need to continually be encouraged to achieve at
a higher
level and not just settle for minimal results
6) instruction needs to be formative, building on skills
already taught
and mastered in order to establish successful learning for
throughout the process
7) the learning that takes place needs to be comprehensive,
students to make connections between what is being learned
in one
area with other types of information that they are also
responsible for
8) the learning taking place needs to be authentic in its
content and
clearly help to move a student towards successfully being
able to
demonstrate the exit goals / criteria established in the
standards that
have been applied to the course work at hand.

In considering the assessment strategies that are available
to the
instructor to help a student realize the success that should
be the
desired outcome for both student and teacher, the following
are scoring
and judging strategies that should be considered for
implementation it
help achieve significant movement towards perfomance

1) checklists for providing students with clearly stated
expectations in
addition to feedback at various points during the lesson
allowing for
student improvement.
2) communication between student and teacher in addition to
and parent / guardian
3) observations of work in progress
4) both self and peer assessment opportunities
5) testing in more traditional forms providing that they are
in line with
the outcomes that are embedded in the standards
6) holistic, summative evaluations done at the end of a
project when all
of its parts have been completed to give a more
comprehensive picture
of the work that was done - included would be an evaluation
of the
progress that was made from one aspect of the work to
another as the
various components making up an assignment helped to
contribute to
the final outcome
7) development of guidelines for implemention considerations
* adequate time frame given for completion of tasks
* distribution / review of checklists as description of
tasks ahead of time
* timely completion of all paperwork / performances
necessary for
completion of project
* consultation of responses to checklists in helping to
determine level
of success achieved
8) establishment of rubrics to help determine standardized
level of

Through as systematic as possible of an embedding of the
precepts within the classroom learning structure, the higher
the overall
level of achievement should become and the more successes
will be
enjoyed by the students both individually and as a group.
Also, the
greater will be the level of ability to communicate the
reasons for those
successes as students begin to develop a greater
understanding of
how in fact success can be both measured and attained.