The Trouble with Assessment

Sometimes I want to give parents information about their children that isn’t about mastery of art skills and content knowledge. There are other things that happen in the studio. I notice students and the kinds of artists that they are. They remind me of artists I know or have heard of. They remind me of myself.

One student has the soft touch of Milton Avery and another has the irony of Kara Walker. These nuances can get lost in other kinds of school assessment. So I went through my student roster and thought about my students and what kinds of attributes they bring to the making of things. From those observations I made this template. First I assessed my students and gave the forms to parents. I circled 3-5 attributes per student.

Then I started asking my students to assess themselves to help them think about their habits and temperaments when making art. Whenever I use this tool it reminds me that I’ve never met a student who wasn’t highly gifted and talented. They all are, but in very different ways.