Assessing art students and their work is probably one of the most challenging things there is in the role of an art teacher. Sometimes I think people think, we take a big stack of art and simply lay it out in piles of "a", "b", "c", and so on. Wow wouldn't that make my life simple.
Art teachers are all different when it comes to grading and I cannot pretend to think that my way is the right way or the wrong way and let me tell you, I have gone through a lot grading techniques in the past 17 years. This year is a transition year in the way that I am grading. ( I may sound from this point on as if I am all over the place, but bare with me people, I do have a point) This year our high school has begun a new style of teacher evaluation. One that not only looks at how we teach, but also how we improve, how active we are, and how much we are willing to grow. So I thought what the heck. If that kind of evaluation is going to be placed on me, perhaps I can place something similar on my students.
So this year, with every project a student turns in, they must turn in a personal assessment as well. The assessment asks them to answer questions that make them think. Questions such as how well they felt that they answered the question at hand in the assignment, how did they address their challenges, did they ask for and receive the help they needed. The assessment is based on composition, growth and progress, effort, work habits and ethics, solving a problem, and the overall impact that they think their art makes on its viewer.
In order to obtain the right assessment, I really, really researched online. I had to keep in mind the students who would be reading and answering these questions. I tried to make it user friendly. I could have used huge, super fancy wording, but really what was the point. I want the students to understand what they are answering. Once the students self assess, then it is my turn and I will assess right next to them. I want them to see how their ideas and my thoughts overlap. This is after all a learning tool. As we get comfortable with self-assessment, then I am going to slowly start tacking in some of the learning standards from my curriculum map. I want to see if the students think they are getting what I am hopefully putting out there in my lessons.
So far this years new assessment is going pretty well. The students are receptive and I am enjoying hearing what they have to say. Not to mention this is a great tool for me to make sure that I am on target in their eyes!