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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
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Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Tips for Getting Started on
Developing Fine Arts Assessments

Whether you are selecting or developing assessments, several key questions need to be addressed before starting out.   Specifically,

  • What am I assessing?
  • In what way might students demonstrate knowledge, understanding, and skill(s)?
  • How will evidence of student learning align with state and local content standards?
  • How will the way students demonstrate learning shape how I will assess?
  • When am I going to assess?
  • Who will make judgments in this assessment (e.g., teacher, student by self- or peer assessment)?
  • What will I do with the information I obtain through this assessment?
    • Diagnose individual student needs
    • Provide students with feedback
    • Profile class or small group to guide instruction
    • Motivate
    • Celebrate
    • Provide practice applying and extending skills and understandings
    • Consider as part of evaluation process for grading
    • Provide to administrators to demonstrate effective alignment of instruction with system expectations
  • Who is the audience for this information?
  • What will I do with what I learn from this assessment?

Assessment developers should consider the following guidelines for item construction:

  • Items should address important concepts, content knowledge, and understandings that clearly align with specific content standards and learning objectives.
  • Items may require that a student approach the arts as a participant (producer) and as a consumer (respondent).
  • Items should elicit higher level thinking as much as possible.
  • Items calling for written responses should address content knowledge and understanding, rather than fluency in writing; and the kinds of writing that practitioners and critics would be expected to produce (e.g., analysis, interpretation, evaluation, description, explanation, reflection).

Assessment items are categorized into three major types, depending on what is being measured and how the data will be used.   Types of Assessments include: traditional standardized test items, performance-based tasks, and long-term tasks.

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