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We need data in art education. Yes, what matters can’t always be measured. We know in our hearts all of unmeasurable things are happening in our art room. Instilling a love and appreciation of art, helping students move through the creative process, stretching students to practicing divergent thinking are all reasons I became an art teacher. But what is often not talked about is why having data showing student growth in art is important.
When you collect data, you have concrete numbers to see, as a whole, if your students are learning what you hoped they would learn and if your curriculum is any good.
Let’s face it, the arts are usually among the first to be cut. Don’t you want data to fight back and show WHY it should be saved? I guarantee saying, “But, I am doing great things,” won’t cut it. Like it or not, people want numbers to back up these claims.
Collecting data makes you more explicit about your teaching, making sure you are hitting the things that matter most. It holds you accountable for your teaching.
Yes, you put yourself out there when numbers are attached to your teaching and your students learning, and it can be intimidating, but without risk, there is no reward.
Obtaining data lets you take risks with your teaching. It lets you try new methods to ensure learning and, in the end, gets you to do things you would never have done, thus helping you grow as a teacher.
Data shows you EXACTLY what your students are not understanding. It helps you become a better teacher to zero in on what you can improve.
Data shows students and parents exactly what they are not understanding and provides a foundation for growth.
Having data to back your program gives you a sense of pride at what you have accomplished. It feels great to see your students start somewhere and end up somewhere else. It’s so powerful. It also gives students a sense of pride to see their accomplishments.
Not everyone is doing it, kids. There are so many schools that are not using arts assessments. Do you want to be cutting edge? Get on the performance assessment bandwagon. Someone will notice.
Kids deserve teachers who help them learn and grow. That is what our profession is all about. Showing that growth is one way we are doing justice to our students and their learning.
Assessing your students can be daunting, but there are so many positives to be gained from putting forth the extra effort!
Why do you assess students in your art room?
Do you have any assessment tips or tricks to share?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors from across the nation and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University or any of its academic offerings.