This week I invited 20 very smart people to join me on ARTSblog for a discussion about arts education. We tried to tackle issues around the trifecta of education accountability—standards, assessment, and evaluation. A tough topic for sure, but we wanted to address some questions such as:
1) How do you assess students in arts classes?
2) Are there reliable ways to evaluate arts teachers?
3) What does this era of educational accountability look like for the arts?
One of our bloggers, Aliza Sarian, wrote eloquently about why assessment and evaluation are important in her work as an arts educator:
“Evaluation and assessment are at the core of what I do as an educator and as a classroom teacher. I make that distinction because as an educator, I am constantly looking at the work I do and reflecting on how it can be improved. As a classroom teacher, the kids, parents, and administrators demand the feedback to help students become better speakers, writers, and learners. In my world of arts education, assessment and evaluation are invaluable.”
But she and other bloggers and commenters also raised valid concerns about education accountability—how does it affect the arts? How is it different for the arts than other subject areas?
For example, a couple of commenters were worried about the use of time and resources on things like standards and evaluations. To quote just one:
“Let me suggest before we jump into measuring fine arts teachers job performance, we first focus on providing every child in America with regular fine arts learning opportunities in all of the fine arts.”
And I cannot say that I disagree. But I also agree with Aliza about the importance of accountability in terms of refining our practice and moving our field forward.