The Day of Reckoning Has Arrived

Standards Based Assessment and Recording has been a success this semester. There are always bumps with any system, but talking to kids today and yesterday as part of our final grade reporting has made me think that the students get it.

I’ve read a couple blog posts on recording semester and quarter grades in the Standards Based system. My system is incredibly simple, but is based on a complex relationship that is developed during the semester’s conversations.

I ask students two questions, “What do you want?” and, “Why do you want it?”

Most kids are honest about their progress. They know how hard they have tried. They know what each of their projects looks like, and what they wanted it to look like. They also know better than anyone else what their artistic limitations are.

The conversation usually progresses like this:

Me: What do you want?

Russell: How ‘bout an 83

Me: Why do you want it?

Russell: My drawings look real good, but my watercolor projects are not stellar. I do all the assignments, and…

Me: I agree, but I’m also interested in how you do in each standard. Looks like your composition standard is low. Can you tell me how to use the Rule of Thirds to add interest to your focal point?

Russell: It has something to do with dividing the paper, and placing the subject on the intersections.

Me: Great! Maybe this standard should be a 3 instead of a 2. Do you use the rule of thirds in any of your work?

Russell: No.

Me: OK, we’ll just leave it as a 2 till you prove it in an assignment. So you are comfortable with an 83%? Me too. Be sure to let your mom know that you wanted the %83.

How do you do it differently? How would you change what I’m doing?

Critiques and Comments are encouraged.


About Mr. Miller

I teach Visual Arts in La Junta, Colorado. I am also an artist and printmaker. But more importantly, I am a husband and father to a beautiful and inspiring family.
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