Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Find Lesson Plans on! GettyGames

Re: grading elementary art-is it required for you?(lengthy reply)


Date: Tue Sep 14 2004 - 17:01:32 PDT

In a message dated 9/14/04 5:54:22 PM, writes:
 <<Our school's related arts team will be
> meeting on Monday to begin discussions of what we would like to see
> happen. I'm not thrilled about doing grades for 550+ students but I am
> hopeful that our input will count for something. >>
Here is an excerpt from John Crowe's story on the knowledgeloom best practice
( click on investigate and then on assessment
to find his story.

<<Assessment of PLAY & CARE was a challenge, however. Crowe was required to
grade each of his 300 students four times a year. The grading system was as

 O = Outstanding

S = Satisfactory

N = Needs Improvement

To align this grading system to his PLAY & CARE centers-based curriculum, he
took a creative approach. "I decided to base a grading system on a version of
the old 'saw':

 A laborer uses his/her hands.

A craftsman uses his/her hands and mind.

An artist uses his/her hands, mind, and heart.

He devised a grading system symbolized by three icons: a small drawing of a
pair of hands, a brain, and a heart. The trio of icons were posted in the art
room and served as a basis for ongoing assessment discussions. "I talked about
behaviors, and I dramatized them to the students' amusement. If a student came
into the art room and simply worked, talked to their neighbors about recess
and paid no mind to what they were doing, that behavior earned an N grade; if a
student thought out a solution to a problem, that behavior earned an S; if a
student was totally involved, concentrating, working, and thinking, that
behavior earned an O."

At the end of the PLAY & CARE phases, each student received a small
self-evaluation slip. Students circled the appropriate icon of hands, mind, heart;
older students were asked to add written comments. After students filled the
evaluations out, they met with Crowe individually to review their PLAY & CARE
portfolios. This could take place during class time because the class expectation
was clear: to be engaged artists. As Crowe describes the process, "Students
were working in the centers, obtaining the materials they needed, and pursuing
their own objectives, while I was free to sit and have a private discussion with
each and every student for at least a few minutes over two or three sessions.
This was truly gratifying and fun!"

Crowe adds, "Another benefit of this transparent grading system was the
clarification of the art grading process for parents. My initial presentation of
the system to the Parents' Council was met with enthusiastic support because it
helped to demystify grading art. Many parents told me that they had
interesting discussions with their children about what the icons of hands, mind, and
heart meant. The principal agreed to print the icons on the actual report card --
they were quite a sight in the context of all the other words and codes."

From developing engaging assessment methods to choice-based centers to
flexible curriculum frameworks, Crowe has developed art education practices that
enable him to interact with students as artists and to communicate to parents and
administrators about the richness and value of students' authentic artistic

I hope that there is something helpful here for you. A number of teachers
around here are using this now.
kathy douglas