Standards, and Rubrics, and Arts, Oh My!

Posted by Ms. Lauren S. Hess, Jul 01, 2016 2 comments

Ohio is investing in arts education assessment in a BIG way. Arts educators are often left on their own to develop assessments to identify and measure student growth. This can be daunting when they typically teach all of the students in the building in an elementary school setting.

In 2014, the Ohio Arts Assessment Collaborative (OAAC) was formed thanks to one of Ohio Department of Education’s Straight-A Fund grants. This fund was created to infuse new creative ideas by educators into the education system. Three school districts (Hamilton Local, Cincinnati Public, and West Muskingum) came together with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) and Battelle for Kids to create an innovative suite of authentic assessments to measure student growth for grades K-12 dance, drama, music and visual arts while maintaining alignment with fine arts education standards. These assessments were developed and field-tested by K-12 arts educators, for K-12 arts educators across the state to incorporate in their classrooms.

I was chosen to be one of 36 arts assessment writers from across the state, and started on a journey that was at times intense, enlightening, stressful, fun, challenging and, in the end, highly rewarding. We came together for massive training sessions led by Battelle for Kids. We deepened our knowledge in high quality assessment design, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, validity and reliability, alignment to standards, and assessment blueprints. In the end, 46 arts assessments were developed by grade band as established in Ohio's fine arts learning standards for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The breakdown of the assessments includes 13 for visual arts, 14 for music, 10 for drama/theatre, and nine for dance.

During the spring of 2015, the assessments were field tested by more than 70 K-12 arts educators across the state, and these educators offered feedback for the final revisions of the assessments.

The end result was a suite of new arts assessments, provided free to all Ohio teachers, that:

  • Align with arts education standards in Ohio
  • Have been field-tested for validity, reliability, and ease of implementation 

  • Are available with professional learning resources such as scoring rubrics, administration guides, and examples of student work, developed to build the assessment literacy of arts educators 

  • Help capture the growth of students in subjects like dance, theatre/drama, music, and visual arts 

As of this summer, I joined 17 people chosen to become Arts Assessment trainers. OAAE and Battelle for Kids provided multiple “Train the Trainer” sessions on arts assessment literacy. Our charge is to go back to our area of the state to begin the work of training arts educators to become local arts assessment leaders. A new journey is beginning … follow the yellow brick road to Ohio for high quality arts assessments!

2 responses for Standards, and Rubrics, and Arts, Oh My!


July 01, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Very excited to take a look at these assessment tools!  Thanks for sharing!!

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Mr. Ted Macaluso says
August 09, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Dear Ms. Hess, 
Thank you for posting this. This comment is an attempt to contact you as I don’t see an email address. I am an author looking for feedback on a chapter book that uses an adventure story to engage elementary students with the National Core Standards for the Visual Arts. Would you be willing to look at a draft and let me know if it is something that elementary art educators would use or recommend to students? The book is called “Mix Up At The Museum” and it is about Jamie, a 10-year-old girl who wants nothing more than to get back to the real world. Her problem is that once you step inside a picture you can’t get out unless you know something about art. To save herself and get back to the museum before it closes, Jamie must figure out how to understand and analyze art. It is 8,400 words and has 26 fine art reproductions by 15 artists and corresponds to anchor standards 7 and 8 of the core standards. If interested, you can reach me at [email protected] or message me on twitter @tedmacaluso. Thanks. 

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