POW-er Standards

These babies pack a punch! Welcome to another day of Assessment Week on AOE.  So… What is a Power Standard and how does it help assess student artwork?

Power Standards are the “biggies” or the the main overarching concepts that our students must know and be able to do by the end of the trimester or year. We narrowed down each grade level to very specific skills.  Each grade level touches on each of the art elements they just get more challenging and complex as the K-5 experience progresses. These Power Standards are on the report card. Want to learn more about the curriculum I follow? See a more detailed post on it here.

These are our Power Standards for an entire year of K-5 Art. Click on it to make it bigger.

I like using Power Standards, becuase it really simplifies what you are grading. Instead of grading the entire project, you are looking for something very specific, like if the student used symmetry to create a face. You ONLY grade on that standard, not other aspects of the project like craftsmanship, etc. (I’m getting ahead of myself…)

Here is the scale we use to assess our Power Standards on the Report Card (which is given once every trimester) The report card uses the exact langue of our Power Standards. See how they are divided up into three? Two are assessed each Trimester.

Now you know how artwork is graded. But, what about all of the other things, like neatness (craftsmanship) and behavior grades? We do those, too. We decided to separate out craftsmanship and the art skills. We thought if a student could make a perfectly symmetrical butterfly then they would meet the standard, however, if they did it with messy craftsmanship, the would be graded on that in a different section. You see, the thing with standards based grading is it is very specific. It’s not the project overall, you only assess that specific skill you are looking for.

We give 2 other grades on the report card: It looks like this:

Overall I am happy with the way our report card functions. I know there are many other ways to do this, so please share your own experience!  This is not, however the only type of assessment that we do. I will share the other assessments as the week progresses!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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