Great Idea: A Visual Rubric

Over at Elementary Art Moments, Kathy has posted a really neat visual Craftsmanship Rubric for her students. I can’t wait to make one of these for my art room.  I have used other types of rubrics before, but sometimes I really don’t think an elaborate rubric is the answer to simplifying your grading process and becoming a “Clutter Free Teacher.”  I love how this one is very easy for any student to understand and gives great anchors for students to refer to. Kathy took the Assessment and Blogging classes through AOE last summer and is sure running with all the great ideas she received!

Simple. Effective. Visual. I like it!

Be sure to visit Kathy’s blog, she has lots of great ideas! Thanks Kathy!

If you are interested in sharing and creating new assessments for your art room and art program consider taking Assessment in Art Education through AOE online starting January 1st.  Sign up today and start the new year out on the right foot!

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.


  • Erica

    Wish you would share the writing component too! That would be excellent, if you are willing. Thanks in advance!

  • Your visual rubricis a great idea, Jessica. I am also interested in what you wrote about the different levels of crafsmanship but can’t quite read them.
    And I read a nice article that you wrote in the magazine Arts and Activities. (That’s where I found your address ) I use a couple of your suggestions already to encourage stronger crafsmanship and I am interested in the self reflection form you talk about. I would like to develop a self reflection rubric for my students. Would you share the questions that you have your students answer with me?
    Thank you so much.
    Gail Plattner

  • Glorymar Aponte

    I love your rubric idea. I am very interested in what you wrote about the different levels. Can you share the writing component? Thanks in advance!

  • Kristen

    Love what you do!!
    Wondering if you can share/send me the written piece to the right of the pictures?

    Thanks for your time,

    • jess

      This was taken from Kathy’s site, you’ll have to head over there and ask her! :) Thanks!

  • Ingamck

    Where do I find Kathy’s site?

  • guest

    Assessment is the new Answer to Everything in education these days, and I’ve seen on Pinterest many examples of students self assessing their knowledge of fractions, their writing skills, etc. I have taught art to over 900 4th graders a year for 10 years and I can’t overstate how different art is. This rubric showing the levels of detail and craftsmanship is intended to encourage students to put more effort into their artwork. But think carefully about this…
    Remember how awful it was in college to go to a “crit” and have your artwork put on a board with everyone else’s and see how you measure up? And if the prof singled yours out as particularly deficient, you’d feel horrid? A young child’s artwork is very close to their concept of themselves. They can not look at their artwork objectively and say, yeah, I guess my scissor skills are not the best, I’ll have to work on that. No, if their collage isn’t as neat as everyone else’s, they feel like ART is something they can NOT do, will never do, and it is only the naturally talented who should even try to make art. I did my Master’s thesis interviewing adults who claimed to be very un-artistic, and it all boiled down to either an art teacher shaming their artwork (usually 3rd or 4th grade when they are in Gang Age developmentally and are able to compare their artwork to that of others)  or they had an artistically talented sibling (especially younger) or a classmate made fun of their artwork. It doesn’t take much to destroy a young child’s confidence in their artistic ability, especially at key stages of development. I believe high schoolers can be more objective about their artwork and it’s appropriate to have them evaluate what works and what doesn’t about a project, but with elementary age, it must be handled lightly if at all. I teach every 4th grader, and I have students whose very very best effort will absolutely look like the “worst” example, or worse. So how would that feel coming in art class weekly and always knowing you’re never never going to make artwork that’s a “3” like the kid next to you? There are many reasons beyond a child’s control why their artwork will not be detailed and neatly colored in. And to have a poster hanging up that announces “your artwork is the worst” — if the child is aware of that– what does that make the child feel?  I have had students tell me that they have never liked art until this year because they never felt they were any “good” at it– this is at age nine, where did they get that idea???  My motto is “There is not just one right way to make Art” but these rubrics seem to say the opposite.  I tried using a 3 level assessment, smiley face, straight face, frowny face on a 9 week papier mache project. They’d be honest– the paint was drippy (frowny), the papier mache wasn’t smooth (frowny), etc. then underneath, they’d circle what grade they deserve (+, check mark, or minus) and every single child said +.  Why? They thought their art project was AWESOME. They loved it, they couldn’t wait to take it home. Kids come back years later to tell me they still have their project at home. Moms tell me the younger siblings can’t wait to make this project. It’s become a huge legend in my district that I do this project in 4th grade. How many of those projects objectively deserve a +? About 1/4 I’d say. How would they feel about this project if at the end I really made them realize how “good” or “not good” it was? And for what purpose would I do that? So art class can be graded, tested, and respected like any other subject? Sorry, not in my art room. I see no problem with every child feeling successful in my art room.I have to give either a + or a P grade to my students, and I do not put the grades on their projects– I tell them if their artwork makes me say “WOW” they will get a + but they won’t know until they get their report card. By de-emphasizing grades, my students feel confident to experiment, to be creative, to make mistakes and not feel it’s the end of the world.
    Assessment for the teacher is essential– assess yourself, your curriculum, your ideas, your powerpoints, but please be very very cautious about what assessing your young students does to their spirits. 

    • DanceERB

      I agree about singling out student work.  However, this rubric was obviously done by a teacher and doesn’t appear to contain actual student work.

      • Guest

        It doesn’t matter who made the examples in the rubric. The point is that some students will not be able to make artwork any better quality than the “worst” example on the rubric due to many reasons, such as physical or mental challenges. So the rubric is telling those students their artwork is not good enough. While the intent of the rubric was to motivate students who could put more effort into their work but usually don’t, I am asking teachers to look at the impact such a visual model has on every student. And I don’t think it’s worth making the students who are different feel terrible about failing to make good artwork. 

  • Christina Fernandez

    I worked in a school where the parents had alot of say/sway, and they sought rubrics like this 1-4 scale. But I agree with Dancerb, below that this can do harm. tthis scale may be the perfect rubric for the students c-a-b-a-l-e mof 4 work, but too busy chatting — it shows them you expect more. My goals, however, in the studio are for students to develop improved skill and improved focus and an opportunity to find ‘their passion’ (obviously in practical terms) in which to develop their interests and curiosities. Project-based assignments can be growth experiences and satisfy parents and administrators, and they can also value the non-renderer an opportunity to show his skills in imaginative story-telling (for example).