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> From: Sears, Ellen
> Sent: Monday, November 2, 1998 9:27 AM
> To: Arts Ed Net
> Subject: RE: National Standards and Assessment
> In Kentucky, the Arts and Humanities have been assessed on the state level
> (grades 5, 8 and 11) for several years. I have a core content (based on
> the national standards) that I have to teach, a program of studies, gather
> writing samples, using open response questions... and so on.
> Stressful - yes in the beginning. Worth it? Yes! Because the arts are
> assessed at the state level (and there used to be sanctions if improvement
> wasn't shown) many schools are emphasizing the arts. Has it hindered my
> teaching. Not in the least. After several years of the core content in a
> state of flux (try teaching an outdated one, getting a new one in
> November, but not seeing some kids again....) we have had one that is
> somewhat constant.
> What were some of my concerns? I thought I couldn't teach the art I
> loved. For instance -I always did Calder with the younger kids - but then
> he showed up on the grade 11 core content. But - the youngers did have
> African art - so we study galimotos and move to Calder's sculptures that
> move - and then to mobiles. And just because I teach art doesn't mean
> that other subjects don't come into play. The youngers may also study
> simple machines, cam shafts and so on... in Science. What I do only
> strengthens that. What other teachers do only strengthens what I do. and
> - the core content is just that - the core... there is other teaching
> going on in the classroom.
> If the entire school is accountable for test outcomes (in Kentucky, the
> tests don't really assess the student, but evaluate the school... but
> that's another story...) then the entire school has a responsibility to
> teach all. (Okay ideal world!) but we are getting there.
> What has it meant for art in my school? Elementary classes had gone from
> 60 minutes to 40. Middle school students had only 6 weeks of art (but 18
> of PE... but that's a different story), now we have another part time art
> teacher. Class times for elementary has been increased to 60 minutes.
> Middle school students have 12 weeks. I have time in my schedule (3 hours
> a week) to use a resource time for all teachers, all subjects.
> Would any of this happened if we weren't in trouble because of our
> testing? I really don't think so.
> I only know of my school and the benefit of state/national standards - but
> I have heard of many examples across the state. It hasn't been an easy