Thursday, May 12, 2011

end of the year "art test"

Traditional "pencil and paper" tests are agonizing in Art Class. "Why, Mrs. Davis, why?"..."When are we going to draw?"...."Isn't this ART class?"....

Agonizing I tell ya!

I've developed a great 12-question DRAWING TEST which I use at the beginning of the year as a skills-readiness test, and at the end of the year to compare, contrast, and show growth.

I had these grid papers (11"x14"--legal size paper/vellum) printed, though I've used plain folded papers, too. In each of the spaces, the students will draw one of the following:

Box 1: Draw me something BLUE

Box 2: Draw me an OLD shoe

Box3: Draw a picture of your Mom or Dad

Box 4: Draw me someone who is really MAD

Box 5: Draw me a picture of a road with no end

Box 6: Draw me a picture of your best friend

Box 7: Draw me a frog on a log

Box 8: Draw me a FUZZY dog

Box 9: Draw me something you can't reach

Box 10: Draw me a day at the beach

Box 11: Draw me a window with a VIEW

Box 12: Draw me a picture of YOU!

Because we have 55-minutes, I allow 3-4 minutes per drawing, adding as MUCH detail as possible in that time frame. They may go back and add to a previous "answer" if they have extra time.

What does this teach the kids? Well, for one, they don't realize they are being tested. Secondly, it shows me how students can use pencil to visualize or conceptualize concepts like texture, perspective, emotion, proportion, form, etc. For example, in box 8 I ask them to draw a FUZZY dog. They need to manipulate their pencil to show the fuzz. If they simply draw a dog, their answer is wrong.

I should also add that I only allow pencil on this "test" with question #1 (draw me something blue) their answer could be anything from a sad person to a blue crayon. This test emphasizes the importance of imagination, too.

This is a great wrap-up lesson for the year, especially in second and third grade (where I typically see the most artistic growth in my students) or a great filler-lesson if you're like me and some of your classes are on different schedules here at the end of the year.

Do you use drawing tests to assess your students? Do they love them or hate them? Do you use them to determine grades or growth? I'm curious to know since I feel this is an area I am lacking in my classroom---I tend to focus on DBAE art minus the "assessment" because I feel all students should feel accomplished and proud of their work. Testing usually makes them resent coming to art...except when I do sneaky tests like this!


  1. cool idea! what are the other concepts you look for in each square?

  2. Our district has a written assessment we are required to give to second and fifth grade. I hate giving it. I wish it was more like your grid test. I think it allows the students to show what they have learned. I generally assess the projects after they are completed based on the criteria given at the start of the lesson. Other than that I am with you. I want my students to feel good about art even they aren't going to end up in a museum!

  3. Hi, do you have to write SLOs at your school? If so, do you have any leads?? PLEASE.
    I need help figuring how to do this!
    Thanks, Nancy