The Top 10 Reasons Art Assessment Matters

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.

10 Reasons Art Assessment Matters

1. It helps you evaluate your program.

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.

2. It may help save your program. 

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.

3. It holds you accountable.

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.

4. It develops grit.

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.

5. It allows you to take risks.

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.

6. It helps you to reflect.

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.

7. It’s great feedback for students and their families.

Data shows students and parents exactly what they are not understanding and provides a foundation for growth.

8. It helps to show all of your accomplishments.

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.

9. It shows you are innovative.

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.

10. Your kids deserve it.

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?

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • I like assessments too! Especially when they don’t feel like assessments to the kids. Do you have examples of what you are using for different grades?

    I am really interested in your districts grading system because you are so on your game. Please check out my post about grades (my district is having problems with our report card) and if you have time I would really appreciate your feedback!

  • Perfect timing! I’ll wait for your blog post on power strands. I am curious as to what the report card says to parents when they take it home. Does it list the power strands and what they’re grade is in each? How many grades do art teachers give on the actual report card per grading period? Whenever you get a chance thanks!

  • Debbie

    I am interested in seeing how report cards look from other school districts. I especially would like to see a standards based report card. We are possibly going to this sometime in the future. I think a standards based “checklist” would be more informative to parents. If anyone would like to share, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for this awesome resource!

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  • nice explanation of art education

  • Although having specific assessments for art teachers would be ideal — I still feel that school boards and particularly school administrators are not looking at “arts in the school” as something that is necessary to the growth of students. They don’t consider it as important as math or social studies, when ultimately — as a society – I feel that it is “art” that defines us.

    • Jon

      I agree, math and the sciences are there to support the humanities, not the other way around.

  • Kristen Heeres


    I am an integrated Arts teacher in Denver, Colorado and we are currently creating a new Art Assessment plan for the district. Would you be able to send us your final plan? Thanks so very much!

    Kristen Heeres

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