We need data in art education. Yes, what matters can’t always be measured. We know in our hearts all of unmeasurable things are happening in our art room. Instilling a love and appreciation of art, creative processes, divergent thinking, excitement, are the reasons I became an art teacher. But.. what is often not talked about is why having data showing student growth in art is important.
Data in Art Education is Important Because:
1. Program Evaluation: You have concrete numbers to see as a whole if your students are learning what you intended them to learn, and if your curriculum is any good. Does it spiral and build from year to year?
2. Program Saving: Lets face it, the arts are the first to be cut. Don’t you want data to fight back and show WHY you should be saved? I guarantee saying” But, I am doing great things” won’t cut it. Like it or not, People what numbers to back these claims.
3. Accountability: It makes you become more explicit about your teaching, making sure you are hitting the things that matter most. It holds you accountable for your teaching.
4. Intimidating: Yes, you really put yourself out there when numbers are attached to YOUR teaching and YOUR students learning, and it can be intimidating, but without risk there is no reward.
5. Risks: Obtaining data lets you take risks with your teaching, try new methods to ensure learning and in the end gets you to do things you never would have done, thus helping you as a teacher grow.
6. Teacher Reflection: Data shows a teacher EXACTLY what his or her students are not understanding. It helps you become a better teacher to zero in upon what you can improve on.
7. Student Reflection: Data shows students and parents EXACTLY what they are not understanding an provides a foundation for growth.
8. Pride: Having data to back your program gives you a sense of pride at what you have accomplished. I feel great to see my students started somewhere and ended up somewhere else. It’s so powerful. It also gives a student a sense of pride to see their accomplishment.
9. Innovative: Not everyone is doing it, kids. There are so many schools that are not using arts assessments. Do you want to be cutting edge? Get on the performance assessment bandwagon. Someone will notice.
10. Lets Face It, our Kids Deserve it: Kids deserve teachers who help them learn and grow. That is what our profession is all about. Showing that growth (through a variety of methods) is one way we are doing justice to our students and their learning.
Stay tuned for more assessment jargon this week on AOE. Lots to discuss! I will also be sharing with you some of the assessments I use and my goals for future assessments, as well. Exciting!