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 the unmeasurable things are happening in our art room. Instilling a love and appreciation of art, helping students move through the creative process, and stretching students to practice 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.

Here are the top ten reasons why assessment in art 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 if you say, “But, I am doing great things,” it 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 in 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?

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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