Friday, July 27, 2012

APPR/Common Core: Pre- and Post-Assessments

Well, I've spent the last few days figuring out exactly what I'm going to do for my pre- and post-assessments for art class.  Even though I'm only going to have to do SLO's for approximately three grade levels, I'm still planning my assessments for every grade...eventually I'll have to do these assessments in every grade depending on my enrollment each year!

When I first attended our regional staff development meetings during the school year, I wasn't very happy with the regional assessments we were putting together.  In a sense, they were too specific and they didn't align with what I taught my kids in each grade.  A college friend of mine teachers downstate in NY had her regional meeting for art over the summer.  She shared with me that they had decided to use the same pre- and post assessment for K-6:  self-portraits.  I'm not that into doing the same thing for every grade...I like changing things up from year to year, but she gave me the idea that I could save their self-portraits all the way up through 6th grade and then make a book for each child to have at the end of 6th grade when they transition into the high school.

After mulling this over, I decided that maybe I did like this idea after all, but it still didn't seem like enough of an assessment for me, especially since I don't plan on really covering self-portraits until 3rd and 4th grade with the kids.  So, this is what I plan on doing...each grade will do self-portrait at the beginning and end of the year, as well as one other assessment that will more closely pertain to what students will be taught during the school year.

Kindergarten:  Self-Portrait & Scissor Skills Worksheet
Kindergartners will have to cut these out and glue onto construction paper with Elmer's Glue.  We do A LOT of cutting and gluing projects in Kindergarten, so I feel this is an appropriate assessment!  By the end of the year, most students should be able to cut out those advanced shapes with no problem and glue them using a decent amount of glue!

1st Grade:  Self-Portrait & Drawing Test
For the drawing test assessment, students will have to split their paper into six sections.  They will be given six minutes for each section to do the best drawing they can of the following things:
~A tree
~A flower
~A fuzzy dog
~A house
~Your family
During 1st grade, I cover things such as adding good details, adding texture to drawings, using a horizon line, and so on, so by the end of the year, I expect to see these things in their post-assessment drawing.

2nd Grade:  Self-Portrait & Artwork Scavenger Hunt
In second grade, I really begin introducing critiques to students.  We do group critiques and class critiques a lot starting in 2nd grade.  Because of that, I like students to be able to describe their artwork using the Elements and Principles of Art that they have learned so far.  Therefore, my 2nd grade assessment will be a type of scavenger hunt.  I haven't actually made this yet, but I will definitely post it once I complete it.  Students will be asked to identify the Elements and Principles in various famous artworks.  Some examples might be, circle all the vertical lines with a blue crayon.  Circle the artwork that is symmetrical and put an "X" through the artwork that is asymmetrical. 

3rd Grade:  Self-Portraits & Fairy Tale Landscape Drawings
In third grade, I teach foreground, middle ground and background.  We also really get into landscapes.  I've seen numerous versions of the lesson "The Path to Grandmother's House,"
based on Little Red Riding Hood, such as the one here on the Painted Paper blog.  I decided that at the beginning of the year, I would read them the story of Little Red Riding Hood but I wouldn't show them any pictures from the book.  I would then assess their drawings based on how well they picked up details from the book and how they draw a landscape.  At the end of the year, instead of using Little Red Riding Hood, I will use another fairy tale, like Hansel & Gretel.  The landscapes might look slightly different in both, but students should be able to use their drawing skills to show me a more advanced landscape!

4th Grade:  Self-Portraits & Still Life Drawing
This one will be pretty self explanatory.  We will concentrate on using contour drawings to draw from real life quite a bit in 4th grade, including observing shadows and value.  So, I will simply have my students do a 2-3 day still life drawing in the beginning and the end of the school year, probably using colored pencils.

5th Grade:  Self-Portrait & Color Theory Quiz
In 5th grade, I start giving little quizzes.  I started doing this last year because my 5th graders weren't the best behaved group at special and when I started giving them graded quizzes, they started listening better!  I also really found out who was understanding the more advanced material.  Aside from the self-portrait, the other assessment I will use for 5th grade will actually be a quiz.
I found this handout on-line last year before I knew about Pinterest and I altered it to my needs...I hate that I can't site my source for this but it came from a 4th grade unit on color theory and it was off a school website!  I will continue to look for the original source for this so I properly give credit where it's due!

6th Grade:  Self-Portrait & Cultural Art Quiz:
In 6th grade, I align their art projects with the cultures they learn about in history class.  I decided the best way to assess these students would be to give them a quiz that asks them to identify what culture certain artworks come from.  I will cover the following cultures in class with students, at least half of which are also covered in their history class:  Prehistoric, Egyptian, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Aboriginal and Native American.  The quiz will ask students to match the culture with their artwork and explain in 2-3 sentences how they know that artwork is from the specified culture.  Again, once I have this quiz completed, I'll post it!


  1. Thanks for the shout out Jen, love your write up. I'm going to try some of your ideas also!!!

    1. No problem! Hearing the self-portrait idea from your perspective made me like it! You also made me realize I was trying to do too much for pre-assessments so I worked on simplifying them a bit.

  2. Thanks for posting about slo's! We're developing our assessments as a district in early September, since we're not allowed to grade our own students on the pre or post assessment. (we were told no one in the state is allowed to grade their own kids?)

    The problem we're running into is the time factor: there are 5 elementary art teachers in the district and we'll each have about 400 of each other's kids work to assess during the grading day which equals about 1 minute per student assessment. We can't figure out how to keep the assessment performance based with kids actually making art both times, yet still be fair to whatever rubric we devise with only 60 seconds to consider all rubric categories per student. (and then we wonder how many rubric categories would you actually need to show the percentage of growth the state is actually looking for?). Have you figured out how you're setting up your grading rubrics yet?

    The other time factor we're running into is all the kids that have iep's and 504 plans that require time and a half for all assessments and/or must take the assessment in a separate location in a small group with a special Ed teacher present. I don't have my numbers for this year yet, but last year for example, I had the collaborative/inclusion classes in grades 1, 3, 4, and 5 as well as two of the three autistic classes in my school. Something like 15% of my students would not have been able to take the assessment in my room last year. Do you have special Ed kids in any of your classes - have you figured out how you're going to accommodate their testing needs? Even if we make the assessment short enough so that time and a half fits into a 40 minute class, we're still not sure what to do about the kids that need a separate location with a special Ed teacher since it's the special Ed teacher's prep when they come to my class.

    We had thought about doing a self portrait as well because we thought it would be interesting to give the kids their work back upon graduating to 6th grade, but were told the assessments and rubrics had to be filed for who knows how many years in case of a state audit, so they couldn't get their original artwork back. We also weren't sure how to set up a grading rubric that would measure how accurately they created their self portraits when the rubric would be based on an ideal face/proportions/etc, and each individual kid's face is not "ideal" (for example, some kids eyes ARE too close together compared to an ideal, but you'd have to mark them "wrong" on the rubric because the eyes were drawn too close together.)

    Sorry to badger you with so many questions, but we've been hashing this out for months now, and it seems like we're no further along than when we started. It's so nice to hear what other people are doing outside of our district!

  3. No worries about all the questions! I welcome them! I will make sure my next post contains the materials I plan to use for my assessments for all grade levels that I teach. (Mind you, I haven't put them past my superintendent yet since I do not plan on using our regional assessments. We had a single staff development day among art teachers to try and develop assessments for each grade level and it didn't go too well! We all taught different numbers for different amounts of time in the cycles and covered different topics at each grade level to really come to a consensus on specific rubrics and such!)

    I am very lucky to teach in a small school district. I teach two classes at each level in K-6, with an average graduating class of between 32-42. This year we will actually have a 3rd Kindergarten class! I am the only K-6 teacher and I'm not even full time...I am employed at 83% (5 out of 6 days in the cycle). Because of that, we haven't had to really worry too much about the time needed to grade the pre- and post-assessments. Our district also gives us half days of school right before report cards are due so that we can have time to do grading in school.

    IEP students were something we discussed concerns over last year, especially with the few students at each grade level that push into special with the regular classes. For example, I have a 6th grader who can barely ready at a 1st/2nd grade level! They way I'm dealing with this is that I'm treating a majority of my pre- and post-assessments as projects, not tests. Like I said before, I will make sure my next post contains the rubrics I've developed and the project guidelines that go along with them. I am considering my 5th and 6th grade assessments as tests because of the content that I will be covering (and the students who push in who need extra time will probably have to take their tests up the classroom), but for the most part, K-4 assessments will be art projects that they complete at the beginning of the year and again at the end of the year. I teach a small class of special needs students on their own, but that class contains students from K-4 and can have up to 12 students. I do not need to include them in my majority since they don't come to art class with the other classes and my majority of students is met without including that class.

    In terms of your concern over having to save artwork for numerous years, have you considered an on-line data base for picture storage of their artwork? I LOVE to use Artsonia. I'm blessed to work in a small district so I have the time to add all the projects I do with the kids on Artsonia, but perhaps you could use it as a storage tool. Or even simply photograph everyone's assessment artwork to store on a zip drive.

    I hope that helps a little! Later tonight I will create my next post of my assessments and hopefully those will give you some ideas!