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Development Strategies

Arts Tasks in This Report

Engage Students by Focusing Their Attention

Educators developing arts assessments can consider tasks to be completed in one session or those that continue for several weeks or months.

A note about reading burden

One of the real 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 closely with the arts committee to find ways of diminishing reading burden where possible.     [More]

In a classroom, for example, students can work on artistic problems over time, sometimes with the use of portfolios. But NAEP can spend only limited amounts of time in schools. To enable the collection of meaningful data about student knowledge and skills given limited assessment time, members of the Arts Assessment Development Committee worked with Educational Testing Service staff to craft tasks that would focus students on particular problems, themes, or works.

For example, in a visual arts task for grade 12, students are asked to respond to two interior spaces, one by Edward Hopper and one by Jacob Lawrence, and to create an interior space of their own. The task gives students the opportunity to study two approaches to the interior space theme. Because students do not have to switch their attention to other works or themes, they are able to build understanding as they move through the exercises and take the time to look carefully and repeatedly at the artworks. This process was useful for leading students toward creating work.

Explore the Interior Space task exercises to see how students were asked to explore the theme of interior spaces.

NEXT: Strategy 4: Create Context and Guidance for Student Performance

Last updated 7 March 2003 (HM)