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Re:[teacherartexchange] teacherartexchange digest: November 21, 2008

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From: Lois Girbino (lgirbino_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Nov 22 2008 - 07:36:08 PST


Regarding assessment in art (and apologies for responding a few days
after the thread started):
In our district, every 5 years, we do a "Course of Study" revision,
which includes all subjects, grades, staggered. So, the art
department, k-12, hunkers down every five years for two days
(substitute coverage), and we parse the state standards for art,
distilling them into the essentials. This is necessary because the
standards are well over fifty or so, although they follow five
"strands" :production (creative expression and communication),
aesthetics, culture/history/social contexts, analyzing/responding,
connections/applications...So, I ended up with 8 learning objectives
for third and fourth grade, and seven for fifth grade art. An example:
"TSW create artworks using appropriate techniques exemplifying
relevant elements and principles of art." And another: "TSW will
explore the cultural, historical, and social contexts of art forms as
they apply to their own art processes."
Each lesson/unit generally aligns with 3-4 of the learning objectives.
We use an online grading program, and I enter the projects, link them
to the objectives, enter the grade. The program does the averaging and
students/parents can view their grades online (with the assignment
descriptions because that's how I set it up) at any time. Twice a
year, the "specials" report cards get printed out and sent home
(elementary progress reports go home frequently, plus the 4 quarterly
report cards). It takes a lot of set up at the beginning of the year
(40+ hours), but once it's all in, I can enter a grade level worth of
grades (9-10 homerooms of approximately 25 students) in an hour.
As for the grading: numbers 1-4 (middle school and high school use the
standard 100 point scale). 1="little progress in meeting grade level
indicators", 2="some progress toward meeting grade level indicators"
(but not a proficiency level, in regular jargon), 3="working at a
proficient, age-appropriate level", 4="advanced proficiency". I have
over 760 students, we do about a project a month, and yes, I grade
them all. Realistically, a majority of students get "3's", but
sometimes, happily, a lot will get "4's", and I NEVER grade on a
curve. In fact, I will let students improve their grade if they want
to spend extra time, say at recess, or take their art home. I try to
factor in "process" as I assess, so if I know a student really worked
hard and made great improvements, that matters. In other words,
"differentiation". Otherwise, some students may decide they "are not
good at art" and stop trying; conversely, strong artists may get a
little lazy and try to get by with less effort and creative thinking.
In fact, I preface the year by saying everyone can get good grades in
art and how much I "love to give '4's'!".( It takes me about 30
minutes to grade a class.).
You can view some of our art at my Artsonia gallery:
http://www.artsonia.com/schools/Leighton1
Lois G.

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