Assessment Resources

I’ve been thinking. Here I am, deep in thought, well not really, but I just wanted to say “hi” so you could imagine me deep in thought, since this post is a lot of talkin! The entire topic of assessment has been on my mind all week and I’ve shared a lot of my assessment thoughts with you during our Assessment Week on AOE.

As you all know, am doing my research on a new assessment plan for our district. I showed you our Report Card information, along with our Power Standards. I also shared with you our current assessments. Now, I am going to leave you with some great links to provide you with a little research of your own to do regarding arts assessments.  As I continue on my journey, I’ll be sure to update you on the latest and greatest and what our team decides.

The idea that I like THE BEST, for my department is an authentic assessment at the end of each year to show learning. The model I would like to use I got from Seattle’s Curriculum. (Remember I’m from Iowa, but I did find it ironic they are hosting the NAEA Conference this year and I found my favorite idea from them. It’s an omen! )  They do something at the end of 5th grade called “Grade5-OneofAKindShoe” (When you click on it the lesson plan will download) Students are asked to design a sports shoe. Students will be assessed on their use of line, value, texture, and shape using the elements and principles of design of visual arts.

Why do I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea? Well, first of all, it shows student’s learning throughout the entire school year all rolled into one project. Students would use their learning of the elements to describe and show how they used the elements during this final project in the month of May. Teachers could use a common rubric to assess students. This rubric could be glued to the back of the artwork. In addition to this, students could do some reflection or writing on this rubric. This is something our department really needs to work on.

Although this is simply my idea, I plan to present it to my team and see what they think. It would not be more work for us, because it would be a project we do, just like the others, but it would combine all of the elements in the evaluation process. We could use this data from the rubrics to show growth in our students. It also uses the higher order thinking skills, unlike the Bubble Tests I talked about earlier.

Other Assessment Resources I’ve used in this process for your reading enjoyment are:

Artswork – Excellent overview of the different types of arts assessments and how they can be used.

Assessing Expressive Learning– Don’t be daunted by the 189 page document. It’s a good overview of a K-12 Arts Assessment plan. Now I just need time to read it!.

In 2010-2011, Fairfax County Public Schools will undertake for the first time a program assessment in fine arts at the sixth grade level. The sixth grade is the last time that students are required to have music and art instruction. At the middle school and high school levels, the arts are elective course offerings. These assessments are in response to School Board Strategic Goal 1.3, that all students will explore, understand, and value the fine arts. Want to learn more about their assessments?  Read the Q and A.

Arts Learning Resources- A great comprehensive doc that has other assessment links within it. I still have not read all of this but hope to soon!

I hope you enjoy these resources and our Assessment conversation this week. Next week, I will be back to my regularly scheduled posts, but look for another week soon dedicated to another important topic in Education: PLC’s or Professional Learning Communities.

Let me know how you liked Assessment Week. I am collecting data. It’s an assessment. A very unoriginal one! :) Maybe I should re-read this research!



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.


  • So, I work in Fairfax County, and this past week I just got trained the 6th grade assessment. I gotta be honest, I’ve always been opposed to so-called “assessments”, but I’m kind of excited about this one. It doesn’t so much assess the students as much as it assesses the program and what we (meaning the county-wide art teachers) have effectively taught the students. Of course, ask me again after I’ve implemented the first assessment in November and I might be singing another tune.

  • Hi and Thanks for visiting! The Fairfax County assessment is one I researched a lot about, as you can see. I feel like a movie star came to my blog, someone from Fairfax county and the amazing 6th grade performance assessment! I love the internet and love your blog, by the way!

    I would be very interested to know how the assessment goes and maybe ask you a few questions along the way. Whatever we come up with will be unique to our own district and our own situation, but hearing about other models can really hope you get in that performance mindset. Keep in touch!

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