Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kitty's notes on the development of a CPS Arts Assessment

Hi Everyone,

Two of our project teachers, Kitty Conde and Kate Schick, have been selected to work with the District to develop a visual arts assessment for students. The assessment is going to be a performance task. A committee of 5 CPS art teachers will work with Mario and the Office to determine which art standards will be the focus of the assessment. The assessment will be developed very quickly as the committee has until June 1st to create a draft assessment tool. June 1st to mid June is the testing of the tool. July is the period of revising the tool. The tool will be need to ready for use in the fall of 2012. 

The committee will also determine which grade levels will be assessed and has been given guidelines for developing the assessment. Kate, Elyn and Beth reviewed the guidelines for creating the assessment last Wednesday night at the Chicago Teachers' Center. Thanks Beth and Elyn for coming out. We all agreed that the template we saw lacked a reflection piece for students to describe their process for creating work. 

In preparation for meeting with the CPS committee Kitty has been in contact with Lois via a phone conversation. Below is an update from Kitty about their conversation. Please see the link to the performance assessment developed in England that Lois shared with Kitty. This particular assessment can be a model for the District incorporating both a performance task and a reflective practice piece. 

Kitty's notes:

Lois and I had a great conversation about assessment for Chicago. Here's a list of topics we discussed.
1) She steered me toward the work of Richard Kimbel and Kay Stables of the University of London, Goldsmiths. This performance assessment asks students to design a product. The assessment measures  various stages of design development. For example step 1-  Develop idea, etc.

Click on Assessing Design Innovation to read the document. 

2) We also talked about the idea of the three dispositions that Lois often references, including: skill, inclination and alertness as being important ways to measure student arts learning. If we are interested in an assessment that includes students ability to reflect on their practice we need to look at inclination. 

3) We talked about the idea of  choosing some of the habits, we looked at envision, observe, develop craft and reflect. The assessment should include a) how teachers reflect on students work, b)process skills- finding, developing, refining, finishing, and c)having an idea, growing an idea, and proving an idea.

4) Finally, she suggested we look at Arts Propel and their idea of a process portfolio assessment.


Back to Kate's voice. We would like to send a letter to Mario and the Office from our group supporting the importance of having a reflective piece in the assessment. Matt and I will draft a letter that you can all review. We'll send something out by the end of the week. This process is happening very quickly. Please post comments and questions on the blog so we can have a conversation about this very important assessment. 



  1. First of all, thank you to Kitty and Kate for stepping up and taking this important work on. I feel better knowing that they are involved and trust them and their expertise to create something that is actually a useful reflective tool, not just another CPS mandate. Here is my thoughts/concerns about this whole process. I work part time and only see students two out of 4 quarters. Throughout a whole year I may see them 15-18 hours for art. I know there are many others in this same situation. I am concerned about being able to fairly use this performance task when I have such little time with the student. It would not be fair to expect the same results from the students who may go to art 5 times a week all year long. Is this being taken into consideration at all, or will it be a one-size fits all mandate? I agree that a reflective piece would be critical, but wonder how that could be objectively assessed and scored.

  2. In the group of 5 art teachers planning the assessment- how many are elementary and how many are HS? I agree with Julie very different situations. Will there be a HS assessment and an elementary assessment? Right now we are working on an essential skills chart for each quarter for Art 1 - Following in the format of Common Core. Skills will be tied to assessments. We are including SHoM skills. Is anyone else doing work like this at their school?