Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Art Assessment for Non-Readers

UPDATE 9/2/2013:   Here is a link to my dropbox wherein all of these rubrics are located. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y35whhxuhzg1vv4/69QIZ8hWk1

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about assessment. Even though I give constant feedback and rubrics to my K-2nd grade students I always get a chorus of shocked voices (whenever I mention "grades") saying: "We get a grade in Art?!"

Uh, yeah. You do.

Their response makes me strongly believe the current assessments I use don't have much impact. When you think about it, that makes sense really. Rubrics are typically text-based and these are students who are new to reading. As someone who teaches a visual subject, I inherently understand their academic absorption is strongest when the materials is image-based.

So, why am I not using their lexicon instead of my own?

I've developed a general, image-based rubric that I have just begun to use. There are four categories on the rubric: Craftsmanship, Completeness, Creativity, and Clean-Up. Each category is represented with a picture and with text. Next to each category is a set of grading smilies worth 1-5 pts. The category smilies are represented with a smile and the following grade categories: Excellent, Very-Good, Good, Developing, and Try-Harder. Since this rubric is for my youngest students who are still new to art, it is important this rubric have an overall friendly feel; I feel this has been accomplished.

09/22/2012 update:  This is one of my most popular posts. Scribd now requires users to register in order to download, a $9 fee. However, you can still screen-shot the image and/or right-click-and-save and voila! you will have the rubric. 

You can also download a copy of the visual rubric on SmArtTeacher here.  Please do not email me for any copies of the rubric. Since I work very hard, for free, to make anything I upload here available to you, I no longer email out any extras unless it is part of a contest etc. etc.

So far, the response has been super-positive. My students really like the smiley system, and when they have something less than "Good," they want to discuss it. I like that a lot. It gives me another opportunity to talk with them about what I think they could do next time.

I also believe this will help parents to understand how grading works in my classroom. Furthermore, I think this kind of system allow parents to know how seriously I take what the students do in Art class, and in this way creates more value for what the students and I do inside of class.

This morning, Hannah over on Art. Paper. Scissors. Glue! is discussing her current assessments as well! It must be that time of year; you should go over and check out what she has to say as well.

**you are welcome to share this rubric on your website or blog but please credit Artful Artsy Amy as the source. Please do not re-publish this lesson plan for profit or for a grade. Images for the rubric originate from illustrator Michael Hicks from Discovery Kids Clip-Art. The clip-art is free for educator use, but cannot be used for monetary profit in any manner.*


  1. GREAT idea. I have also posted on grading and have started to develop portfolios for my little ones. This will be a great addition to the pages. I will add behavior to your list, but I love the visual concept. I like that you touch on "still developing." I think that is huge in art class! Thanks!

  2. Lori, First, LOVE your blog and awesome ideas. Second, glad you like the rubric. And third, I like your idea to add behavior! I don't have "behavior" on mine because I grade behavior separate from projects.

  3. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for that rubric! It's much better than the one I was trying to put together... I really appreciate it!

  4. Ms. Amy... I can't print out your rubric : (. For some reason the smiley faces, the Title and the teacher comments don't print out? It's weird because I see the whole page in the print preview, but only the lines print out and the category pictures. Any help?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Amy, did you receive my e-mail? I sent it last week... just wanted to make sure : )

  7. I'd love it if you could email me a hard copy of the rubric, toomeyer@mail.orange.k12.nj.us
    I just started teaching 1st grade and this would be perfect.

  8. Would you mind sending me a hard copy too? Scribd is not working right now and I am trying not to be annoyed :P

    erica 873 at gmail dot com


  9. I borrowed this Visual Rubric idea! I am using it to finish my teaching degree!!

  10. Hi

    Hi your rubric is so outstanding. I tried to print it but it comes in small
    print . Is it possible to have a zoomed illustration


  11. Sure! Here is a link to my dropbox wherein all of these rubrics are located. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y35whhxuhzg1vv4/69QIZ8hWk1