Top 10 Reasons Art Assessment Matters

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!

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • I like assessments too! Especially when they don’t feel like assessments to the kids. Do you have examples of what you are using for different grades?

    I am really interested in your districts grading system because you are so on your game. Please check out my post about grades (my district is having problems with our report card) and if you have time I would really appreciate your feedback!

  • Perfect timing! I’ll wait for your blog post on power strands. I am curious as to what the report card says to parents when they take it home. Does it list the power strands and what they’re grade is in each? How many grades do art teachers give on the actual report card per grading period? Whenever you get a chance thanks!

  • Debbie

    I am interested in seeing how report cards look from other school districts. I especially would like to see a standards based report card. We are possibly going to this sometime in the future. I think a standards based “checklist” would be more informative to parents. If anyone would like to share, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for this awesome resource!

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  • nice explanation of art education

  • Although having specific assessments for art teachers would be ideal — I still feel that school boards and particularly school administrators are not looking at “arts in the school” as something that is necessary to the growth of students. They don’t consider it as important as math or social studies, when ultimately — as a society – I feel that it is “art” that defines us.

    • Jon

      I agree, math and the sciences are there to support the humanities, not the other way around.

  • Kristen Heeres


    I am an integrated Arts teacher in Denver, Colorado and we are currently creating a new Art Assessment plan for the district. Would you be able to send us your final plan? Thanks so very much!

    Kristen Heeres

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