Skip Navigation
Development Strategies

Arts Tasks in This Report

Overview of Strategies for Developing a Successful, Authentic Arts Performance Assessment

A note about field testing exercises:

NAEP tests all exercises for its assessments in the field (that is, in schools) before creating final versions of exercises. In this way, exercises can be tried out and improved based on field-test results. In 1995, NAEP field-tested dance, music, theatre, and visual arts exercises at grades 4 and 8. In 1997, NAEP field-tested dance, music, theatre, and visual arts exercises at grade 12.  [More]

Strategy 1: Devote as much time as possible to arts exercises. To solve the problem of balancing assessment depth with the time that could reasonably be spent assessing students, NAEP created different assessments for each art content area and employed streamlining techniques to reduce assessment time.

Strategy 2: Use authentic stimuli to build valid, engaging exercises. If students are to respond deeply to works of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, they must be offered stimuli (works of art) appropriate to the tasks they are being asked to do.

Strategy 3: Focus students to get them engaged in assessment exercises. One means of encouraging students to respond meaningfully to assessment exercises is to give them the opportunity to focus on particular problems, themes, or works of art.

Strategy 4: Create context and guidance for student performance. Students who take NAEP assessments receive no advance assessment preparation. Yet responding to, creating, and performing works of art demand intellectual, emotional, and often physical effort for which students must be prepared.

Strategy 5: Encourage students to be creative while making tasks clear and standardizable. The arts assessment was meant to elicit students' expressive, creative abilities. But assessment tasks also needed to supply students with clear directions that would yield scorable, comparable responses.

Strategy 6: Take into account practical constraints that may limit what students can be asked to do. Practical constraints, such as the varying facilities available in participating schools, set important limits on how tasks were developed.

NEXT: Strategy 1: Devote as Much Time as Possible to Arts Exercises

Last updated 7 March 2003 (HM)