I had the rare opportunity to share with other educators what I know about assessing creativity at MICA. The Maine Arts Commission supported this three day workshop and Maine’s Teacher Leaders provided workshops for the first day of the event. “Educators participating in phase three of the MAAI are focusing on understanding and implementing standards-based arts education within dance, music, theatre, and visual art. Workshops will be tailored to explore high quality teaching practices, engaging learning tools and the successful assessment strategies in arts education.”
I was incredibly nervous sharing my insights with my peers but all who attended were engaged and asked good questions. “Preaching to the Choir” about creativity assessments can be tricky. So I showed a quick video of John Maeda (huge proponent of STEAM) and another of Sir Ken Robinson (creativity leader). This lead to my points of divergent thinking using checklists (formative assessment) for the lesson. I have found that the combination of fostering a caring environment, coupled with clear expectations can lead a student towards quality work that demonstrates personal growth. I was disappointed that I did not show the journey of a student work this time. I only showed my path as a teacher in this assessment process. I did have student examples in their notebooks and student work examples of problem solving but there was no time. I also thought as a teacher, I would like to see how another teacher delivers the process because the student work is what you would probably have seen before….it is expected to have a range.
Another question was how I transferred a “2, 3, 4” scale to a numerical grade. Give points for each section of the rubric and add it up the way you want. You can involve students in the process and ask them what they think and together, you can create an assessment tool that is collaborative and give student voice. This is something I would like to do more of.
Another question was asked about giving students a “4” in an assessment. Administration tells teachers not to issue “4’s”. My only reasoning for this is:
- Teachers can focus more on formative assessments to reach proficiency than a point system.
- It’s about learning.
- The paradigm is shifting in education. It’s tough for me to wrap my head around at times!
The bottom line is care, clarity and communication with your students. If they are discovering more about themselves in the world of art then, I have made progress as an arts teacher!