A Sample SLO for Art Teachers

Art-specific growth samples are hard to come by. In fact, many schools simply throw something like a 5th Grade Band assessment example at the “Arts Teachers” (theater, music and visual arts) and consider that ‘sufficient’ – but it’s not good enough!

Let’s dig deep into student growth for art teachers. The following three steps (and corresponding charts) will have you writing an SLO in no time!

What Group Should I Measure for My Student Growth Goal

Student growth data tracks individual student growth, which can be a shift in thinking. We often come up with lumped averages at the end of the year to show ‘student achievement’ as a whole in our school. Growth goals are specific to the student.

Look at the chart below. Here you can see four different models for growth, with an art-specific example off to the right. This chart will help you determine which students you will track for your growth goal. This can depend on what your state requires, or what you feel most comfortable with tracking.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.50.54 PM

A Sample SLO for Art Teachers

Once you’ve chosen the group you will assess, think about the big picture. The sample SLO below shows an entire growth goal. Many of you are familiar with forms like this. Of course, you will want to check with your own specific school or state and use a template they require. The form below utilizes the ‘General’ model of growth from the chart above. Each student will be expected to grow “2 points” on the rubric from where they start at the pre-test. This allows for each student to have an individual, reasonable growth goal that is relative to his or her initial data.

Sample SLO

Showing student growth can be a very simple process, but the big picture can be daunting.  You must stay organized. The last piece of the puzzle is organizing all the data throughout the term so your final calculations are easy to obtain.

A Chart to Organize Your Growth Data

The chart below shows how you can see growth data for the entire class (including mid-point assessments) on one page.


Digitizing a chart like this with formatting that calculates for you is even smarter and will save you time (just find an excel genius in your school to help you!).

If you are looking for more tips on showing student growth, be sure to check out the course Assessment in Art Education. You’ll prepare authentic assessment tools which encourage meaningful student growth. And you’ll interpret and evaluate formative and summative assessment strategies appropriate for a variety of teaching contexts. Don’t miss it!

What are some challenges you’ve faced tracking student growth this year? 

What questions do you still have? 

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.


  • Rudy

    Thank you for this post. It’s like you just KNOW what we art teachers need!!!

  • Tara Brenno

    Very timely artical. My admin just asked me to start thinking about next years SLOs.

  • Very nice innovations and charisma showed by the art teachers. This is absolutely outstanding approach for a solo teacher to show in front of the people. It’s much appreciated and thankful to him for organizing such an ambitious demonstration

  • This is fantastic and I’d like to use something similar. Any chance we can see the ‘rubric’ mentioned to get a better idea? Thanks!!

    • Jacquelyn Visscher

      Yes, would love to see the rubric! :)

  • E Gibbons

    I have found it helpful, for SLO/SGO/Benchmarks to have students demonstrate their understanding of elements and principles as opposed to techniques and concepts.

    1. Elements and principles have vocabulary that crosses curriculum.
    2. Elements and principles can be focused on at every level k-12.
    3. Elements and principles are in state and national standards.
    4. Elements and principles provide less ambiguity in assessment.

    I have some free examples at the link below of how I handle it. They can be simplified quite easily for lower grades.


  • Kathleen

    i would be even more interested in ways to politic to have this beancounting BS removed from public Ed

    • Heather Alfred


  • Dawn

    The first question is what is an SLO? I might be “SLO” to change, but I dislike the acronym guessing game.

    • Kelly

      SLO is a student learning objective.

      • Dawn

        Thank you.

    • E. C. McWilliams

      Consider yourself lucky you don’t have to do them!!

  • Pingback: 20 Practical SLO Ideas for Busy Art Teachers | The Art of Ed()

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  • Berit Massman

    I was just assigned as an art teacher this year( i was a reading teacher for 4years) in my district. I have around 930 some students in kindergarten thru fifth grade. I just don’t know how i could assess that many students’ process and art work.

    • E. C. McWilliams

      In my state/district, you do not have to do the whole student body. You can choose one grade, or even one class, and I like what is in the above article of targeting a specific subset of students who need help on skills others in the larger group already have. Talk with your administrator and department head, if you have one, to determine what the expectations are. I feel fairly sure they won’t require you to do all those students. It would be impossible. Good luck!!

  • Kara Penn

    Could you share the rubric for this? That has been the hardest part for me is to come up with a quick simple rubric for the SLO’s. THANK YOU!

  • Cindy Treiber

    Hello from NJ. I have begun a portfolio assessment for two classes in two separate grade levels. Last year was portraits and the other landscapes. This year it is color wheel, gradation and monochromatic values and the other is 3-D houses. Our first way to break them into tiers is to separate the class into five: behavior/pre-draw/attendance/ participation/last year art grade. I guess then the mix of students in each tier is not low med high. It seems the growth through each rubric worth 15 pts each is very possible and each tierr moves up significantly. Using the portfolio: you teach this lesson and document through lesson plans and artwork only it is done between Oct- Jan.

  • Wendy L Balfe

    Do you have the rubric for the self portrait assessment!! That would be so awesome!


  • Karen Williams

    Do you have any more examples for grades k-5 and SLOs?

  • Jennifer Miles

    could you send me these forms…Music ideas?