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Re: grading elementary art-is it required for you?

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From: Holmgren (holmgren_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 14 2004 - 19:37:43 PDT


In my school, (grades 1-5) the special area teachers (art, music, p.e., and
computer) give grades for students. We put together a system several years
ago. We give three grades--one for behavior, one for effort, and one for
understanding and skills. Our grading system is based on 1 to 4. three is
the grade that most students achieve, which means they are "performing to
grade level" or some such thing. We have traditionally not give an excess of
4's--which is considered really outstanding, but stress that 3 is a good
grade. Each area has created a rubric which explains what the numbers mean.
I can share my rubric, if you're interested. Our report card is done by
computer, and has the grades for all the special area teachers on it (so
high tech--we are ahead of the classroom teachers, who still do theirs by
hand). The system works, though, truthfully, I hate giving grades to
elementary students for art--just have a philosophical problem with it, and
agonize over grading. And, with the great number of students (almost 600),
I don't feel like I can really do a good job of grading. It is nice,
however, to be able to give a lower grade for behavior--that is separate
from their grade for understanding-and to be able to give some 4's for those
kids that are really outstanding. But I rarely give less than a 3 for the
understanding part. Because, even though I can explain it--it isn't a bad
grade, just that the understanding and skills aren't quite there yet, etc.
I am afraid that student will just interpret, "I am terrible at art", and
will keep that attitude forever. I know adults that has happened to.
Grading is such a tough thing. these are just little kids (I have grades
K-3). Just my feelings. Really the only thing I dislike about teaching art.

Mary H.

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