|joyful student work- Kindergarten|
NAEA already has common standards and assessments for teaching visual art, as they always have. I agree, that older students should be included in creating rubrics for art lessons, since rubrics are mandated. But teachers have been writing and implementing these assessment rubrics for years, I don't understand why there needs to be all NEW rubrics for measuring creativity. Is this just a reformist scheme to re-name and re-package what teachers have been doing all along, just so the reformists can take credit and their cronies can profit? And I worry that all this data crunching will take away from instruction time. Will we now be hearing art teachers say, "now let's make a pretty pie graph using complementary colors so we can measure what we have learned!" Art time should mainly be spent on art production, exploration, and experiential learning. Talking and writing about art is a good way to assess learning.
Art teachers are trained to assess their students, and must be able adapt to needs of students in a given community, depending on poverty level, culture, etc. We assess while we teach. Expertise comes with experience, and new teachers should be mentored by more experienced teachers. Sharing ideas with other teachers should be the primary professional development. Also, the arts have been cut from many districts that serve poor children. If there are going to be common core standards and common assessments for both students and teachers, then the arts should be MANDATORY. Obviously the "accountability" movement is not about helping children. And, with all due respect to the ed experts, I think there is too much over-thinking about arts assessment. I am open to trying new ideas, and improving my teaching, but not if it interferes with what's in the best interest of the students I teach. We need to get back to a more humanistic way of teaching children. Paul Goodman got it right back in 1966. (see my previous post) And teaching disadvantaged children, is completely different than teaching middle class or wealthy children. When are we going to seriously consider the impact of poverty on learning when developing these assessments and learning metrics?
Finally, I know when students are learning. They smile, they talk, they share, they create, they think, they hug, they thank, and they engage in the learning process. Time and money would be better spent on working to restore arts programs, and finding ways to provide an equitable, fully funded, arts education to all children. Stop taking the joy out of teaching and learning!