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Development Strategies

Arts Tasks in This Report

A note about reading burden

One of the challenges in the arts assessment was finding a balance among telling students exactly what was expected of them on assessment tasks, creating context for student performances, and not requiring students to read too much. The Arts Assessment Development Committee was especially concerned about this issue given that some students who are able in the arts may not be as able at reading. Measurement experts worked with the arts committee to find ways of diminishing reading burden where possible.

For example:

  • Every attempt was made to use simple language and to avoid complex constructions.
  • Complex scripts for theatre, music, and dance creating and performing tasks were read to students. Lengthy directions for visual arts tasks were presented to students on audiotape with which they could read along if they wished.
  • Arts terms students might not know were defined in exercise directions, unless students' knowledge of a particular term was being assessed.

When scoring students' written responses, every effort was made to avoid penalizing students because they could not write well; instead, the emphasis was always on knowledge and understanding of arts content.

BACK TO: Engage Students by Focusing Their Attention


Last updated 7 March 2003 (HM)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education