Monthly Mentor

Heidi O'Donnell (December)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. December's monthly mentor is Heidi O'Donnell. Heidi is a high school art educator in mid-coast Maine with twenty years of experience and an insatiable appetite for learning new things. She holds a MEd in Built Environment Education, a BA in Visual Arts, a BS in Arts Education, and a minor in Art History, all from the University of Maine at Orono. Heidi is a recent graduate of the NAEA School for Art Leaders and serves as a National Art Honor Society Sponsor. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« Shinique Smith in the K-1 Classroom: Discovery, Transformation and Crazy-Pants Art! Evaluation and Reflection - Part 2 | Main | Assessment is Gathering Information About Student Learning »

May 01, 2017

The Practice of Assessment as Information Gathering

From: Dr. Mary Elizabeth Meier

In the role of University professor, I mentor art educators as they consider structures and routines to support k-12 art students in creative thinking, idea development, and other emergent learning experiences. The process that an art teacher undertakes to design learning experiences for students is related to developing ideas in stages of artistic process. More specifically, I encourage both pre-service and in-service art teachers to think about their process of curricular and assessment design as alike to their own working style as an artist.

Recently, students (the undergraduate art education students enrolled a University course I teach) and I were comparing methods to support high school art students with timely feedback about their work in progress. We debated the role and value of a final, summative critique to fuel students’ process of learning and idea development in art. One student expressed a preference for in-process critiques to occur at the mid-way stage of making hand-built ceramic work. She explained that well-timed feedback could allow a student to implement suggestions immediately. Positive, specific feedback is one facet of assessment that is designed to fuel students in their artistic process.

In this series of blog posts, I will outline a set of recommendations for contemporary art education as related to the practice of assessment as information gathering. These recommendations are those that I teach in my undergraduate and graduate University courses and are the basis for many professional learning workshops that I lead for in-service art and music teachers. The six ideas listed below form a basic framework for a “teacher’s toolkit” in assessment practices that is responsive to emergent curriculum, creative choice, and qualitative methods. Here is a brief look at some of the ideas I will write about this month as the NAEA monthly mentor for May 2017:

- Assessment is gathering information about student learning
- We should assess what matters most
- Assessment fuels each student’s artistic process with well timed, specific feedback
- The work of assessment is shared by students and teachers
- We can develop assessment tools to support exploration and idea development in students over time

-MEM

Comments

Christine Mullen

I am a "retired' art teacher with 28 years experience, many of those years I was a cooperating teacher and also mentored many new teachers. Now I have just started a new job as a College Supervisor of student teachers and look forward to your blog.

Linda Devlin

Hi Mary Elizabeth! I haven't seen you for awhile! I really enjoyed your post. Last fall I supervised Pre-Service Candidates at Rowan University. Preparing these students for teaching is a very crucial element to their success. I was taken back by the amount of work these candidates have to accomplish beyond the everyday teaching we all do. I know your students will be well prepared and inspired future art educators.

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