About this Course


Why Assessment in Art Education?

Is it really possible to assess achievement in the arts in a meaningful way? Howard Gardner answered this question with the following statement,

“Even people who are strong advocates of the arts in schools are very much in conflict about assessment. To some extent, they feel that what’s most important in the arts is difficult to assess: arts have personal meaning, they deal with emotional content, they’re often very subjective. So some people, including people involved in the arts, feel that assessment in incompatible with their purposes. Others, though, feel that we must assess results if we are to justify the expense of offering these experiences in schools. But they often make the opposite error of trying to assess the arts in the same way other kinds of learning are assessed with multiple-choice tests and so on” (Brandt, 1987/1988, p. 31).

The purpose of this class is to explore the space in-between the two views described by Gardner. Engaging in discussions around carefully selected readings and in collaborative work with colleagues, we will attempt to find assessment methods that uphold “what’s most important in the arts” without assuming the common methods we use in schools are sufficient for doing so. We will experiment, debate, practice, and envision ways of assessing visual arts learning.


This syllabus and course schedule is open to revision at the instructor’s discretion and based on student needs/desires throughout the semester. Changes to be announced during classes.

Course Description

This course will examine various theories and methods of assessment of why, what, and how to assess art. Students will work together to identify assessment dilemmas present in their classrooms and using texts, each other, and their own experiences, work together to create potential solutions. The aims of this course are to help students build relevant and immediately applicable tools to use in PreK-12 classrooms and to build a learning community for art educators in which they can explore assessment issues particularly relevant for their subject matter. 

Academic Integrity

Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the university’s academic dishonesty code. By registering for this course, you have acknowledged your awareness of the academic dishonesty code, and you are obligated to become familiar with your rights and responsibilities as defined by the code. Violations of the academic dishonesty code will not be treated lightly, and disciplinary actions will be taken should such violations occur. Please see the instructor if you have any questions.

ADA Compliance

The university will make accommodations for persons with disabilities. Please make your needs known by contacting the instructor and by contacting the Office of Learning Services 717-871-5554 or learning.services@millersville.edu.  Sufficient notice is needed in order to make the accommodations possible.

Disposition Statement

If you are seeking initial certification to teach in the state of Pennsylvania, there are professional dispositions and behaviors that our field expects you to be developing. This course is an opportunity for your colleagues and professor to observe your professional dispositions and behavior and provide you with feedback meant for your growth. As a teacher education candidate at Millersville, you should be aware that undesirable professional behaviors can result in a formal review. For more on Millersville University’s policies related to teacher candidate behavior and dispositions, see https://www.millersville.edu/education/files/teacher-education-handbook/teachereducationhandbook.php.


Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Office of Financial Aid for support. Furthermore, please notify me if you are comfortable doing so. 

I have observed an increasing number of students struggling with issues of mental health. Others face serious physical medical issues. Both of these can sometimes prevent students from fulfilling the course requirements and put them in danger of failing the course. If you are struggling, I encourage you to approach me with your concerns. I will help direct you to campus or community resources that may be available to you (some are listed below). If prioritizing your physical or mental health leads you to be unable to fulfill course requirements, rather than failing the course, there are other options available to you:

  1. You can withdraw from the course and take it again in the future using this form http://www.millersville.edu/registrar/files/studentforms/withdrawal-card.pdf. You will need to make this decision based on the deadlines for withdraw published on the registrar’s website each semester. A “W” (withdraw) on your transcript will not affect your GPA. However, it may affect your eligibility for scholarships and loans depending on the percentage of courses you are able to complete successfully. Consult financial aid for more information and individual guidance about how withdrawing might affect your financial aid/scholarships. 
  2. You can pursue a medical withdraw by contacting the registrar’s office. In order to qualify for a medical withdraw, you have to have completed one or more semesters at MU with a 2.0 GPA. The difference between a medical withdraw and an academic withdraw is that a medical withdraw can be back dated to an earlier point in the semester. You will then work with financial aid to determine how much of your aid has been earned versus what must be returned, if any.

Title IX Statement

Millersville University and its faculty are committed to assuring a safe and productive educational environment for all students. In order to meet this commitment, comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq., and act in accordance with guidance from the Office for Civil Rights, the University requires faculty members to report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator incidents of sexual violence shared by students. The only exceptions to the faculty member’s reporting obligation are when incidents of sexual violence are communicated by a student during a classroom discussion, in a writing assignment for a class, or as part of a University-approved research project. Faculty members are obligated to report to the person designated in the University Protection of Minors policy incidents of sexual violence or any other abuse of a student who was, or is, a child (a person under 18 years of age) when the abuse allegedly occurred. Information regarding the reporting of sexual violence, and the resources that are available to victims of sexual violence, is available at www.millersville.edu/titleix.

Attendance Policy

The university attendance policy is available at https://www.millersville.edu/registrar/faculty/attendance-policy.php. The university policy supports departmental and faculty class attendance policies that are reflective of and consistent with University approved guidelines. The attendance policy for this course is demonstrated by completing the work by the posted deadlines. Manage your time appropriately so that this can happen and contact me if you have extenuating circumstances that necessitate an extension.

Technology Use

For this class, you will need a stable internet connection, the ability to take and upload digital photos and videos to a website, and a device with a working webcam/microphone for synchronous class sessions. 

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