Art Assessment for Non-Readers

UPDATE 9/2/2013:   Here is a link to my dropbox wherein all of these rubrics are located.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about assessment. Even though I give constant feedback and rubrics to my K-2nd grade students I always get a chorus of shocked voices (whenever I mention “grades”) saying: “We get a grade in Art?!”

Uh, yeah. You do.
Their response makes me strongly believe the current assessments I use don’t have much impact. When you think about it, that makes sense really. Rubrics are typically text-based and these are students who are new to reading. As someone who teaches a visual subject, I inherently understand their academic absorption is strongest when the materials is image-based.
So, why am I not using their lexicon instead of my own?
I’ve developed a general, image-based rubric that I have just begun to use. There are four categories on the rubric: Craftsmanship, Completeness, Creativity, and Clean-Up. Each category is represented with a picture and with text. Next to each category is a set of grading smilies worth 1-5 pts. The category smilies are represented with a smile and the following grade categories: Excellent, Very-Good, Good, Developing, and Try-Harder. Since this rubric is for my youngest students who are still new to art, it is important this rubric have an overall friendly feel; I feel this has been accomplished.

09/22/2012 update:  This is one of my most popular posts. Scribd now requires users to register in order to download, a $9 fee. However, you can still screen-shot the image and/or right-click-and-save and voila! you will have the rubric. 

You can also download a copy of the visual rubric on SmArtTeacher here.  Please do not email me for any copies of the rubric. Since I work very hard, for free, to make anything I upload here available to you, I no longer email out any extras unless it is part of a contest etc. etc.

So far, the response has been super-positive. My students really like the smiley system, and when they have something less than “Good,” they want to discuss it. I like that a lot. It gives me another opportunity to talk with them about what I think they could do next time.

I also believe this will help parents to understand how grading works in my classroom. Furthermore, I think this kind of system allow parents to know how seriously I take what the students do in Art class, and in this way creates more value for what the students and I do inside of class.
This morning, Hannah over on Art. Paper. Scissors. Glue! is discussing her current assessments as well! It must be that time of year; you should go over and check out what she has to say as well.
**you are welcome to share this rubric on your website or blog but please credit Artful Artsy Amy as the source. Please do not re-publish this lesson plan for profit or for a grade. Images for the rubric originate from illustrator Michael Hicks from Discovery Kids Clip-Art. The clip-art is free for educator use, but cannot be used for monetary profit in any manner.*

11 thoughts on “Art Assessment for Non-Readers”

  1. GREAT idea. I have also posted on grading and have started to develop portfolios for my little ones. This will be a great addition to the pages. I will add behavior to your list, but I love the visual concept. I like that you touch on “still developing.” I think that is huge in art class! Thanks!

  2. Lori, First, LOVE your blog and awesome ideas. Second, glad you like the rubric. And third, I like your idea to add behavior! I don't have “behavior” on mine because I grade behavior separate from projects.

  3. Ms. Amy… I can't print out your rubric : (. For some reason the smiley faces, the Title and the teacher comments don't print out? It's weird because I see the whole page in the print preview, but only the lines print out and the category pictures. Any help?

  4. Would you mind sending me a hard copy too? Scribd is not working right now and I am trying not to be annoyed :Perica 873 at gmail dot comThanks

  5. I borrowed this Visual Rubric idea! I am using it to finish my teaching degree!! ThanksRachael

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