Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 03:13:44 EST
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Please give me your views on grades for first and second graders. The
reports cards at my school list art, music and p.e. in a separate area from
the other academic areas. For these subjects, the possible "grades" are "O"
(outstanding), "S" (satisfactory), and "N" (needs to improve). The two areas
to be evaluated are effort and conduct. This type of reporting is not a
measurement of skills or knowledge of curriculum that was taught. In my
opinion, "Did one try one's best or not?", refers to one's effort. In my
opinion, "Did one behave appropriately?", refers to one's conduct.
There is nothing in either effort or conduct that really refers to one's abili
ty to cut, to glue effectively, or to cut a straight line. Therefore, most
of my students are in there trying to do their best, just because the want
to, and therefore, especially in the first or second grade, I give mostly
"O's," which is the way I think it should be. An "S" on an "N" in art, as
they and their parents would interpret it, would, in my opinion be a
disservice to the developing child. If, on the otherhand, I had been asked
to evaluate students' ability to cut, glue, identify the elements and
principles of design, etc., there would be a wide range of ability, and
therefore, I would indicate that information to the parents, students, and
Here's my problem. I had a teacher complain to me about my grades. She
wanted my grades to support her grades to the parents. She did not want me
to give the majority of the students in her room "O's, especially if they
were having problems with cutting, pasting and cutting straight lines. I
disagree, I feel that at this level, if one is labeled as "average" or
"below" in art,(that's the way they and their parents would interpret it)
that that will stick with them for life. I am going to be working on the
district elementary curriculum and assessment tools for the visual arts. And
I feel that a more complete assessment tool that correlates directly with the
National Standards needs to be designed. However, I still want to find a way
around letter grades for the arts in first and second grade.
Please let me know your views and give me suggestions on how I can
communicate my views to this teacher. Thanks.
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