Assessment for the Arts: A Methodological Review Name: Institution: Instructor: Course Code: Introduction Over the past decade since the enactment of the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, there have been increased resolution among policymakers and educators to ensure that the arts subject has a solid foundation in schools both in its teaching and assessment…
Arts assessments whether in visual, music, dance and drama arts, has often been performance based where the students show case their abilities and skills in art forms (The Arts Resource Guide, 2011). The methods employed by art educators to assess art skills and abilities and evaluate performance in such subjects has mainly been based on their experience and training as educators and as artists, that is the shared understanding of the level of standards required in each art form and the level of achievement that is required and expected of students in each art form at various development levels. Lindstrom (2011) noted that the knowledge base of artists are different from those of art teachers in the sense that while teachers may know little about a lot, artists understand a lot about a little (pp. 8). The basis of this argument has been the main centre stage in the controversy that has surrounded assessment in arts, as most educators and policy makers fear that art subjects may be reduced to "just another academic exercise” (Schonau, 1996, pp. 157). Over the years different scholars have studied assessment methods used in art, trying to understand their viability and validity in effectively measuring achievement and performance in arts. Notable conclusions have been Gardner’s 1989 work which emphasized the use of student portfolios to assess their art work (The Arts Resource Guide, 2011), and the Arts PROPEL program in the US, and Stockholm’s Specialist art which emphasize process, perception, reflection, experimentation, peer review and self review in assessing performance from Lindstrom’s work (2006). The purpose of this paper is to conduct a methodological review on the studies that have been in arts assessment area and draw conclusions on the most compelling questions and methods that previous research study has covered, concluding on the most typical and fruitful method useful in studying assessment of arts within a given context. Topic area under investigation and scope of the review Art offers unique combinations of imaginative, emotional, intellectual and physical experiences that are completely different from other subjects. The emotions in the face of an actor, the stroke of colors in paintings, the moves in a dancing body and even the sounds and intricacies of music all define different languages, and capture different feelings and ideas for learning and communication that simply are beyond mere words. Each artist is unique in their own ways, and art continually evolves and develops in newer forms. This presents challenges in the methods used to assess arts as the assessments need to expand the idea of performance to include “measurement of higher order thinking abilities and skills” (The Art Resource Guide, 2011, pp. 2), which take into account both the art product and the processes use in arriving at the given art. Arriving at effective assessment methods for such art requires experience, insight, artistry expertise, and knowledge. As noted above, this article reviews selected research on assessments in the arts that have already been published. Art subjects in this sense primarily focus on pure arts such as drama, music, dance, visual art, and poetry, (that is creative arts that inspire emotion) (The Art Resource Guide, 2011). Trends in assessment of arts mainly focus on performance, and also are based on explicit ...
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