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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Toolkit
General Audience Dance Music Theatre Visual Arts
 
Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

On-Demand Assessment Activities:
Modification for Classroom Use

In many instances, assessment activities developed for on-demand use may be modified to provide teachers with information about their instructional practices and the extent to which students are learning what teachers are intending to teach.  These modifications are varied, and before they are made, several issues should be taken into consideration.

Realignment of Content Standard(s) and Scoring Tools

Self/Peer Evaluation Form

Using Item Frames to Develop Assessment Items

Benefits of Using Item Frames

Realignment of Content Standard(s) and Scoring Tools

Take for example, the Theatre Performance Task: Part A.  While this performance task was designed to evaluate individual performances and to report at the individual student level, it is possible to use a different scoring tool to evaluate the group and obtain an ensemble score.  Such a “group score” is most suitable when a classroom assessment is intended to provide formative data, that is, to answer two questions: Where are the students now?  What might we need to work on next?

Specific scoring criteria will depend on the VSC objective(s) a teacher may wish to address; in this example, administering a group improvisation task.  In addition to, or instead of, the following grade 8 VSC objective originally identified for this task:

Objective 3.1.c:  Use formal elements of performance to create improvisational scenes using original ideas that illustrate characters, settings, conflicts, resolutions, and a specific dramatic form

a task that specifically focuses on collaboration might address the following grade 8 VSC objective:

Objective 3.2.b:  Select a theatre genre and style and use collaborative theatre processes to create, perform, and revise short plays*

* Partial alignment with words or phrases in italics.

For Theatre Performance Task: Part B, if students are provided with a self/peer evaluation form like the one presented below, aspects of the following grade 8 VSC objective (currently addressed) may be expanded to include assessment of the performance of others.

Objective 4.1.a:  Use given and self-generated criteria to assess personal performances and the performances of others*

*Partial alignment with words or phrases in italics.

Self/Peer Evaluation Form (PDF)

Using Item Frames to Develop Classroom
Assessment Items

Another way on-demand assessment tasks can easily be modified for use as classroom assessments is by developing item frames. An item frame is a template or "boilerplate" for the general wording and format of an assessment item.

A significant component in developing fine arts assessment items is selecting appropriate stimulus materials to help establish context, purpose, and focus.  Many questions worth asking evolve directly from the stimulus itself.  However, since assessment activities should connect to one or more objectives in the VSC, the wording and format of activities need not be unique to a given stimulus.  Often, in fact, changing only a few words can yield a new and effective activity appropriate for classroom assessment.

Consider Visual Arts Activity 4, developed as an on-demand constructed response item.

Explain how the artist used design concepts, art elements, and principles of design in this portrait of a German soldier [Lovis Corinth: The Black Hussar] to communicate his ideas and feelings about that subject.  Support your answer with details from the artwork.

This traditional brief constructed response item addresses the following grade 8 visual arts objectives:

Objective 1.3.a:  Analyze why artists may select specific design concepts to convey meaning in artistic exemplars

Objective 4.1.a:  Analyze ways the elements of art and principles of design contribute to aesthetic response

A teacher might wish to substitute another portrait for the one specified, perhaps because it is a more readily available image or because it is one that was created by an artist with whose work students are already acquainted.  This may be easily accomplished by filling in the blank in the item frame below:

Explain how the artist used design concepts, art elements, and principles of design in this portrait of _____________________ to communicate his/her ideas and feelings about that subject.  Support your answer with details from the artwork.

In another context, when the focus of classroom study has not been portraiture, but some other genre, a teacher could fill in a more open frame:

Explain how the artist used design concepts, art elements, and principles of design in this _____________________________ to communicate his/her ideas and feelings about ____________________.  Support your answer with details from the artwork.

Yet another option for an item frame with an even more generic focus:

Explain how the artist used design concepts, art elements, and principles of design to communicate his/her ideas and feelings about the subject.  Support your answer with details from the artwork.

Benefits of Using Item Frames
for Classroom Assessment

The advantage of using item frames is that they permit teachers to save time, reduce their workload as they craft lesson or unit-based classroom assessment activities, and preserve alignment with the designated learning objectives.  While the example above was a brief constructed response item, selected response, performance-based, and long-term tasks can also be created from frames.  As you look at a given assessment item or task, ask if it will still work if you remove specific words or phrases and replace them with others.

Using frames also saves time and effort teachers might otherwise spend creating scoring tools.  Because activity-specific scoring tools are written to fit the VSC objective(s) being assessed, they remain the same even when a suitable stimulus is substituted.  For example, regardless of whether a different portrait or artwork is used, the scoring tool for any item developed using one of the frames above would be as follows:

The response to this activity provides evidence of the student’s ability to analyze and explain how artists use specific design concepts to convey meaning in artistic exemplars and ways the elements of art and/or principles of design contribute to aesthetic response.

  1. 2   A plausible and well-developed response; multiple details from the artwork are cited in support of explanation of how (one or more ways) the artist used composition to express ideas and/or feelings
  2. 1   A generally plausible but only partial (partially complete or only somewhat plausible) or overly general response; at least one detail is cited in support of explanation of how the artist used composition to express ideas and/or feelings; support may be overly general, partially indefensible, or redundant
  3. 0   Other

Teachers would only have to revise answer cues (i.e., elements or examples of anticipated acceptable responses) to fit the stimulus being used to have a ready-made assessment item complete with scoring tool.

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