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Lesson Plans


Re: National Standards and Assessment

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
lindacharlie (lindacharlie)
Sat, 31 Oct 1998 10:41:17 -0500


meropi wrote:
>
... Is standardization really what we want in our art room? ... do we
accept the fact that in order to be taken seriously we must resort to
> standardization and assessment?  ...will we really become a valuable and accepted part of the school curriculum?  is it worth what we will loose?  ... Lots of questions, any answers?
>  
> Sydni in New York <

Thanks for articulating this view so well, Sydni. For me it's "No, No,
No, and NO. In Michigan, standardized test scores, originally meant for
assessment, are being exploited by politicians, from gubernatorial
candidates to local school board members, and the media, to attack
public education and teacher unions, and hold teachers at large hostage,
in order to advance their own agenda. The use of these test scores by
realtors to influence housing purchases, causing significant economic
impact on whole communities, is another example of the extremes to which
standardized assessment is being abused. Assessment is important, but we
must insure that the information it provides is used properly - by the
assessors to improve instruction.

>By it's very nature teaching art, making art, stands outside of the
cognitive learning styles used in other subjects.<

Certain aspects of artistic knowledge such as formal and technical
understandings easily lend themselves to measurement. But how does one
standardize and assess the divergent thought process, or the
emotional/expressive content of a child's painting? In importance to the
art learning experience these are at least equal to ability to
manipulate a paint brush or define design elements. But can quality of
imagination or of feelings ever be measured fairly against a "norm"?
Creative expression baffles and defies the human propensity to measure,
characterize, generalize, streamline, compartmentalize, standardize, and
ultimately control every aspect of life.
In our eagerness to bring ourselves "up" to the same level of regard as
our academic counterparts, we would do well to examine what standardized
assessment has done for - or to - them.

Linda in the continuing golden autumn of Michigan