K-12 education in America (or maybe I should only make claims for Virginia) is starting to recover from years of over-testing under No Child Left Behind. Schools are able to identify alternative assessments to replace some state Standards of Learning (SOL) exams, and are being tasked with developing Balanced Assessment Plans which include performance assessments. In addition to these adjustments in assessment format, schools are being asked to consider how they can assess growth in the 5 C’s addressed in the Profile of a Virginia Graduate rather than just the disciplinary content addressed in all those SOL tests.
These five C’s have been an important part of art education for ages, even before everyone else started focusing on them.
So, What does this all mean for art?
Art educators should rejoice! Things are turning our way. In my school division, more and more art teachers are being valued as experts in performance assessment. At the division level, work is being done to design ways for schools to assess growth in the 5 C’s over time. Art teachers can help with this too. After all, to show growth over time you need to collect evidence over time. If that doesn’t sound like a portfolio, I don’t know what does.
Parallel to this work, art teachers have been exploring ways to vertically align portfolio expectations so that elementary, middle, and high schools in the same community can teach technology and portfolio skills sequentially to help students create digital portfolios which can follow them across courses, teachers, and schools.
For us, the technology is in place to use Google Apps for Education. Perhaps you would use a different tool. Our student can create portfolio presentations in Google Slides, at a lower level, and in Google Sites, at a higher level. (In fact, some schools are experimenting with students creating multi-yer portfolios with Google Sites as early as the third grade!) In a single document, we have organized a draft approach to building technology skills sequentially while having students document their learning over time. At multiple grade levels from elementary to grade 12, we have identified:
- Platform and skills
- Image expectations
- Reflection expectations
- Five C’s reflection expectations
At this time in education, art teachers have an opportunity to have a strong voice in our assessment practices. This is the opportunity many of us have been waiting for! An opportunity to be valued for what we do. I hope we can take advantage of it and become leaders in our schools.
This is a summary of a presentation presented at the 2019 VAEA Conference. Go to tiny.cc/VAEAPortfolio to view the presentation and access additional links and resources.