Assessment Procedures

Providing my students with meaningful experiences and useful feedback has always been a priority within my teaching philosophy.  However, I have been genuinely amazed at the speed and level of development that my assessment structure has evolved throughout my teaching as well as my graduate experience.  I have discovered through the reflective process that early attempts at providing my students with feedback consisted mainly of test results utilizing general 'recall' (multiple choice, true/false, short answer, etc.), research papers, and review/response to their pieces of artwork. [View sample study guides, exams, and report requirements by clicking on the 'thumbnails' to the right.]  Presently, my students are active participants in their knowledge acquisition and assessment of their actions and accomplishments.  Together, we decide upon the structure and details required to achieve the various levels on scoring rubrics; oftentimes, the students are much harder on themselves and their peers than I.  Nevertheless, their reflections of classroom practices and assessment techniques that have been shaped through my graduate experiences have undoubtedly altered the path of my instructional process.

Though often perceived as a vicious circle, this process of researching, instructing, evaluating, reflecting, and implementing takes root in the Design Process.  I learned early in my educational endeavors from my professional career as an engineer that this process of scientific inquiry is imperative to the success of a project.  Encouraged to provide a statement of desired 'outcomes' before tackling the task of solving the dilemma became a necessity 'day-in and day-out' at Rockwell International -- Building upon this philosophy as I approached my encounter with the Visual Art classroom filled with little beings, I immediately knew that I need to establish precise 'outcomes' so as to provide them with a sense of direction in their Art Education.

Sample Study Guides
AnimSG.jpg (85442 bytes) JapanBindSG.jpg (53994 bytes)

Sample Exam

AnimExam1.jpg (112005 bytes) AnimExam2.jpg (78631 bytes)
Sample Research Report Guide
RenReport1.jpg (97156 bytes) RenReport2.jpg (98628 bytes)
RenReport3.jpg (40537 bytes) RenReport4.jpg (41550 bytes)

As a member of the managerial staff at Rockwell International, I was responsible for achieving certain goals and standards.  Through effective managerial practices, I was able to meet and/or exceed the expectations of my supervisors.  Likewise, these individuals were able to succeed as they delivered assessments of the departments to their superiors, and so on.  This hierarchal distribution of task management infiltrated my philosophy of assessment prior to me ever entering the classroom.  Anxious and terrified that very first day of teaching, I recognized the need to provide my students with goal or standard statements of 'What' was required to receive an 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' etc.  By implementing this strategy, I had begun the effective practice of assessment utilizing a form of a rubric upon which to base my students' achievement and permit them to become successful participants in their educational experience.

Assessment must ultimately help the child to succeed if it is to be meaningful and applicable.  As an educator of a specialty class, I quickly learned to instill a sense of meaning of my visual art teachings upon my students ... rather than require them to complete a task, I attempted to encourage them throughout the process of creating, thus making every step as important as the others.  Essential in the development of a well-rounded individual, but rarely required for graduation, my colleagues and I have wasted many hours deliberating the importance of our coursework and instruction.  As I developed into a professional in the field of education through countless hours of reading, research, and practice, I realized that many of us had permitted the assessment of our students to drive our curriculum in a feeble attempt to bestow importance on the Arts.  It was during my initial encounter with Project UPDATE and Dr. Kay Stables that my observation had become a reality.  It was then that I began to understand that assessment should 'inform educators about teaching and instruction,' not persuade or force individuals to learn a specific curriculum.

Since that first encounter, Dr. Kay Stables has 'rocked' and affected my educational assessment world like no other.  Each time I think about the experiences and knowledge that she has shared with me, I immediately become excited to implement another strategy, investigate the 'emergent' maneuvers of a child first learning to draw, or revived an old lesson plan/unit.  Her years of research at Cambridge University, and participation in the UK's National Technology Initiative, has provided Dr. Stables with the ability to deliver 'in-depth' observations and perceptions from practically every grade and age level.  She further states that true assessment permits a teacher to identify certain qualities of a learner - How does the child develop an understanding, acquire specific information, explore his/her environment, and progress throughout the lesson; What accommodations are required for supporting the child's educational growth; What experiences will enrich the environment; and How will the child develop future capabilities?

I remember Kay stating, "When a child takes ownership in their education, they will gain a greater appreciation and tailor their educational experience."  As responsible educators, each of us must strive to 'empower' our children with tools that will one day produce actively engaged citizens and problem solving inquirers.  A child must become a participant and decision maker in choosing their educational pathway.  They must possess the ability to act, not react to criticism, and they must learn from constructive comments or suggestions.  My students need to know: 'How' to critique -- 'What' and 'How' to research and assess -- 'How' to interpret and develop meaningful assessments.  I encourage each teen to become fluent in their own knowledge acquisition. [View a generic rubric as developed by students for assessing Design and Make Activities by clicking on the 'thumbnails' to the right.]  It is imperative that the student's vision and the teacher's vision be as one with both parties participating in the educational experience.  To tailor an assessment specific to an individual, event, and/or environment provides for a type of 'authentication,' where, if absent, the child merely 'goes through the motions!'

Student Developed Rubric
for Design & Make Activities

DTRubric.jpg (106920 bytes)

Through meaningful assessment of my students work in the Visual Arts as well as Technology Education, I have been able to acquire and/or further develop special skills that permit me to support my instruction in addition to building a repertoire of good practices.  With respect to instructional development, authentic assessment provides for analyzing the progression of my students' knowledge acquisition throughout a particular lesson; it has established a relationship between the individual's activities and various curricular areas.  My experiences in Pat Sine's course, Using the Internet for Curricular Applications, afforded me the opportunity to include the use of Educational Technology in one of my Technology Education lessons - Building a Better Mouse Trap.  The development of the challenge into a Web Quest, Cheezie Inventions, aided my students in facilitating their personal instruction at a pace that was engaging, yet comfortable to them.  The format of the Web Quest aided my ability as a teacher to deliver concepts, materials, and assessment requirements throughout the students' experience; my instructional links, portfolio pages, and rubric were available to every child 24 hours a day.  The aforementioned factor has become increasingly evident in my current development of the Amusement Park Physics module/unit using Macromedia Authorware.  I can, not only, track a student's progress throughout my technology-enhanced instructional delivery, but also pre-assess their knowledge prior to receiving instruction.

The nature of this evidence gathering permits the child to acknowledge and record his/her achievement, and benefits every member of the educational community from teachers and fellow colleagues to the child and community members.  Through the creation of tangible products (whether written, drawn, constructed, or modeled) and performance (speech, thought, and actions), my students have expressed their inner-most perceptions in folders, portfolios, logs, journals, and diaries.  They have further enhanced the aforementioned by capturing their accomplishments digitally using film, video, and sound recording. [View sample portfolio pages from one such student by clicking on the 'thumbnails' to the right.]  Each student has entered the realm of becoming a 'life-long' learner capable of documenting his/her progress.  This practice of Authentic Assessment requires additional effort on the behalf of both parties (teacher and student), but nonetheless, provides incredible insight, information, and data about instructional practices, knowledge acquisition, behavioral patterns, and educational environment perceptions for the teacher as well as the student.

Student Portfolio

TGPort1.jpg (86682 bytes)
TGPort2.jpg (76468 bytes) TGPort3.jpg (73140 bytes)
TGPort4.jpg (69155 bytes) TGPort5.jpg (64642 bytes)
TGPort6.jpg (72944 bytes) TGPort7.jpg (66216 bytes)

By moving my assessment strategies into real-life contexts, I have been able to establish the 'authentication' of holistic assessment that Dr. Stables covets.  Stressing the desire for this process to be manageable, not cumbersome at one of the UPDATE instructional sessions, she stressed the importance of passing judgment during the assessment activity by way of becoming objective, rather than subjective.  Through the use of well-thought/prepared level descriptors, attainment targets, learning standards, benchmarks, and other guidance material, the teacher may begin to relate a child's growth throughout the problem solving process to specific, 'observable' characteristics, rather than 'labeled' definitions (above average, average, below average student).  Always important, though, is the realization that as with any assessment structure, strengths and weaknesses abound.  Continuous fine tuning, monitoring, and improving my assessment system(s) provides me with opportunities to eliminate inconsistencies from my teaching that may hinder one of my students from developing as a productive member of society. [Observe a recently developed rubric for assessing projects exploring the Elements of Art as well as student work in the Visual Arts by accessing this link -  Assessing the Visual Arts.]

My personal experiences and present feelings concerning assessment have undoubtedly, developed from my fear of standardized testing.  While growing up, I achieved excellent grades on projects and tests, alike.  However, my performance on standardized tests, such as the SAT, was far from being an accurate assessment of my ability to succeed during the post-secondary educational years!  Never having experienced test anxiety or apprehensive thoughts during normal classroom assessment, my case was far from being unique.  As a caring educator as well as former test-sufferer, I recognize the necessity for students to be viewed as dynamic individuals capable of a multitude of accomplishments.  Every child must be granted the opportunity to demonstrate their innate and learned abilities.  Through self-directed instruction and structured assessment activities that address an individual's multiple intelligences (developing a simulation, reciprocal teaching, engaging in debate, designing a mural, etc.), the 'whole' child shall emerge, empowered!

[ Return to Top of Page ]