May 8, 2014

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A Sample SLO for Art Teachers

Art-specific growth samples are hard to come by. In fact, many schools simply throw something like a 5th Grade Band assessment example at the “Arts Teachers” (theater, music and visual arts) and consider that ‘sufficient’ – but it’s not good enough!

Let’s dig deep into student growth for art teachers. The following three steps (and corresponding charts) will have you writing an SLO in no time!

What Group Should I Measure for My Student Growth Goal?

Student growth data tracks individual student growth, which can be a shift in thinking. We often come up with lumped averages at the end of the year to show ‘student achievement’ as a whole in our school. Growth goals are specific to the student.

Look at the chart below. Here you can see four different models for growth, with an art-specific example off to the right. This chart will help you determine which students you will track for your growth goal. This can depend on what your state requires, or what you feel most comfortable with tracking.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.50.54 PM


A Sample SLO for Art Teachers

Once you’ve chosen the group you will assess, think about the big picture. The sample SLO below shows an entire growth goal. Many of you are familiar with forms like this. Of course, you will want to check with your own specific school or state and use a template they require. The form below utilizes the ‘General’ model of growth from the chart above. Each student will be expected to grow “2 points” on the rubric from where they start at the pre-test. This allows for each student to have an individual, reasonable growth goal that is relative to his or her initial data.

Sample SLO

Showing student growth can be a very simple process, but the big picture can be daunting.  You must stay organized. The last piece of the puzzle is organizing all the data throughout the term so your final calculations are easy to obtain.

A Chart to Organize Your Growth Data

The chart below shows how you can see growth data for the entire class (including mid-point assessments) on one page.

Digitizing a chart like this with formatting that calculates for you is even smarter and will save you time (just find an excel genius in your school to help you!).

If you are looking for more tips on writing a solid growth goal, check out the article “3 Simple Tips to Make Tracking Student Growth Manageable” or consider taking AOE’s Online Grad Class “Showing Student Growth in Art,” where you can develop an entire SLO from start to finish. You will get an entire guide with your class registration that will include many more charts, examples, and resources like this – designed just for art teachers. We are running the class twice this summer!

What are some challenges you’ve faced tracking student growth this year? 

What questions do you still have? 


Jessica-RoundThis article was written by AOE Founder and President Jessica Balsley. Jessica is a passionate thought-leader in the field of Art Ed, and a tireless advocate of helping Art Teachers get the ‘Ridiculously Relevant’ PD they deserve.

About Jessica | Jessica’s Articles

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  • Rudy

    Thank you for this post. It’s like you just KNOW what we art teachers need!!!

  • Tara Brenno

    Very timely artical. My admin just asked me to start thinking about next years SLOs.

  • top essay service

    Very nice innovations and charisma showed by the art teachers. This is absolutely outstanding approach for a solo teacher to show in front of the people. It’s much appreciated and thankful to him for organizing such an ambitious demonstration

  • Laura

    This is fantastic and I’d like to use something similar. Any chance we can see the ‘rubric’ mentioned to get a better idea? Thanks!!

    • Jacquelyn Visscher

      Yes, would love to see the rubric! :)

  • E Gibbons

    I have found it helpful, for SLO/SGO/Benchmarks to have students demonstrate their understanding of elements and principles as opposed to techniques and concepts.

    1. Elements and principles have vocabulary that crosses curriculum.
    2. Elements and principles can be focused on at every level k-12.
    3. Elements and principles are in state and national standards.
    4. Elements and principles provide less ambiguity in assessment.

    I have some free examples at the link below of how I handle it. They can be simplified quite easily for lower grades.

  • Kathleen

    i would be even more interested in ways to politic to have this beancounting BS removed from public Ed

  • Dawn

    The first question is what is an SLO? I might be “SLO” to change, but I dislike the acronym guessing game.

    • Kelly

      SLO is a student learning objective.

      • Dawn

        Thank you.

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  • Berit Massman

    I was just assigned as an art teacher this year( i was a reading teacher for 4years) in my district. I have around 930 some students in kindergarten thru fifth grade. I just don’t know how i could assess that many students’ process and art work.