SchoolArts Magazine

October 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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don't necessarily apply receive an "NA" and a marginal notation. The Benefits of Leveled Checklists. Though all attempts at fairly assess- ing student artwork are flawed, albeit well-intentioned, I believe strongly in the benefits of leveled checklists when a student says, "I'm glad that you tell us exactly what our scores are based on." Or when the checklists from an assignment indicate that some reteaching is in order after which scores dramatically improve. Educators will continue to struggle to derive fair approaches A S S E S S M E N T S ince 2004, I have taught art in a large, ethnically diverse public high school. In my ongo- ing search for a meaningful and reasonably objective method for assessing artwork, I created and spent several years wrestling with a rubric that would function both as a tool for improving student learning and as a method for grading. My Problem with Rubrics For me, the problem with rubrics is one of scope. At one end are those that pro- vide little feedback and are too impre- cisely worded. At the opposite end are those that are so lengthy as to be cum- bersome, yet, despite their verbiage, are also imprecise and largely confound- ing. An example of the former is the all-too-common rubric that tries to address the commonly accepted seven elements of art and seven principles of design as one criterion. Such clustering confounds thoughtful grading and fails to provide useful feedback. To be the most helpful, both teach- ers and students need to be able to understand what more tangible attri- butes the work must possess in order to achieve the desired qualities. Enter the leveled checklist. The Leveled Checklist Bogged down in grading one day, I thought to myself, "There has to be a better way!" And the comprehensive, yet student-friendly, leveled check- list was born. "Leveled" because, for each criterion, students demonstrate mastery at one of three levels: Never/ Rarely/No, Sometimes/Moderately, and Frequently/Always/Yes. Since that original instrument's inception, I peri- odically rework it, a process that will continue ad infinitum as I discover new possibilities requiring me to rethink what, how, and why I teach and assess. Thoughts about Rubrics I contend that it is possible and even preferable to use a thoughtful lev- eled checklist when assessing all of the above, including "deeper under- standing," provided that the criteria are carefully chosen and precisely worded for the tightest possible alignment with what, how, and why a teacher teaches. In my experience, painstakingly selected, worded, and leveled criteria can transform the lowly did-it-didn't-do-it checklist into a powerful tool for teaching and learning. But, in the end, what works for a given teacher, within his or her teaching context, is what's right because assessment is highly per- sonal, not to mention political. Leveled Checklist Examples The moniker "checklist" implies a superficiality of which a well-written instrument cannot be accused. My admittedly imperfect checklist is divided into subheads beginning with the letter "C": Conception; Creativity & Planning; Core Tech- nical Skills; Contrast of Value; Composition; Color; Consideration/ Reflection; and Context (related Art Criticism, History, and Aesthetics dimensions explored via sketchbook journal entries). While space pre- vents a thorough discussion of each subhead here, a closer look at two provides insight into my approach. For a checklist to be effective, the teacher must be clear about what is required to achieve quality, just as she or he must thoughtfully weigh and select qualifiers that capture the desired nuances. For me, under Com- position are criteria such as, Domi- nant Objects/Images, Focal Point, nor Empty Space is MOP (Middle of Page) or Focal Point/Main Objects Not Edge-Huggers, both of which lead to a more sophisticated manipu- lation of space. To be sure, a criterion The Quest for Useful Art Assessment Tools CONTINUED ON PAGE 53. Leveled criteria can transform the lowl did-it-didn't-do-it checklist into a powerful tool for teaching and learning. Betsy DiJulio and Lynn Beck CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16. THE ORIGINAL K iSS-OFF ® Stain Remover Before you throw it away... try Kiss-Off! "I had gotten blue oil paint on one of my fall coats... I felt like I should give Kiss-Off ® a try and lo and behold no more dried on oil paint! My jacket was saved." ~Malissa Removes: Ink · Oil Paint · Grease · Makeup · Blood · Lipstick · Coffee · Red Wine · Grass Stains & More Ideal for Classroom, Travel & Art Studio MADE IN THE USA Advertiser Index Advertiser Page ACMI 53 AMACO 13, CIII Bailey 18 Blick Art Materials CIV Davis Publications CII, 7,50, 56, 57, 58, 59 General Pencil 50 Handy Art 49 I Am A Witness 11 Kiss-Off 53 L&L Kilns 2 Mayco 4 NAEA 8 Royal Brush 17 Sakura 56 Skutt 1 The SHOP Page Bailey 54 Chavant 54 Curator's Corner 54 L&L Kilns 54 The Open Art Room 55 Royalwood 55 Skutt 55 Youth Art Month 55 to grading that adequately address accountability while still moti - vating students to achieve their potential. But we will also continue to see incremental improvement provided we are willing to ques - tion the status quo while seeking to balance the pragmatic with the political and philosophical. Betsy DiJulio is an artist, art critic, free- lance writer, and National Board Certi- fied art teacher at Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia. eliza- beth.dijulio Lynn Beck is a professor and former dean of the Gladys L. Benerd School of Educa- tion at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. W E B L I N K uploads/2011/05/Why-use-a-rubric when-a-checklist-will-do.pdf SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 53

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