Art Education to Have New Assessment Policy

by ekramer on October 16, 2009

Art education policies are a major topic at this weekend’s annual conference Kentucky Art Education Association in Lexington.. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Last spring, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 1, which changed reforms enacted with the Kentucky Education Reform Act; it scrapped the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System or CATS.

Now, arts teachers are looking to the state for new policies that assure the arts a place in the K-12 curriculum. So says Judy Haynes, president of the Kentucky Art Education Association.

Haynes says educators will hear from Kentucky Department of Education officials Saturday about a program review it’s constructing to make sure art is taught and student performance is evaluated.

“I think the program review will help ensure our place in the educational system,” she says. “I think we have made some strides here, but I think we have some more to make.”

Haynes says many arts educators were not satisfied with the CATS test.

“We were assessing how well they understood vocabulary, how well they could write and address open-response questions,” she says. “And now, I think that performance will factor in as a key role in music, theater and dance —  and in the visual arts.”

Haynes says arts education was fairly strong in Kentucky already, but this new program review promises to improve it.

“In Kentucky, we are a leader in this area in the nation, and many of the states and national organizations are looking to us to see how this works,” she says.

Haynes says the DOE is expected to complete the review in November and pilot it in several schools beginning in January.

Comments Closed

{ 4 comments }

Valerie Trapp October 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Yes, we are leaders in arts education. We wait- sometimes not so patiently- for the DOE to share the new review in November. Dr. Haynes has been an important part of arts education for the state and our voice in Frankfort.

Jennifer Sims October 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm

We have been leaders in the area of art education for many years by making the arts accountable. While we wait for the new programs review to take place as art educators we often feel uneasy as to how and if we will have a place in the school environment. I feel confident that once the program review is revealed we will have a stronger presence in schools where we can grow creativity and nuture our future…. our students with art production, not just art identification. I am proud to have Dr. Haynes as a voice for arts at the state level.

Kathy Skop October 18, 2009 at 8:49 pm

After hearing what was proposed at the conference it seems like nothing has changed. I just wish that as an art teacher, I could just teach art, not writing, not music, not drama, not dance. Every school needs an art teacher to teach Art.

Marcia E. Goss October 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

For the past 7 years the number of freshman in our foundations class who have either made or studied the color wheel has dwindled. This year less than 1 in 5 freshman demonstrated knowledge of basic color mixing. In a world where image is king, it has become apparent that we are raising generations of visually illiterate children who can not decipher the most basic of visual information. And while they maybe able to regurgitate the facts of art, they have little exposure to actually making Art. Even the most artistically inexperienced person knows that looking at drawings is incredibly different than learning how to draw, just as listening to music is different from making music. And based on my own experiences, if you teach a student to draw or sing they are more likely to initiate their own critical analysis of works. It does not work the other way around and a text based humanities curriculum cannot provide this experience alone.

The Arts are the only areas that encourage the type of problem solving that our industries in all fields are sorely missing. These higher level thinking skills and areas of growth can be observed but will always difficult to measure using quantitative data. Years ago it was proved that participation in the arts improved test scores in other subjects. Little did this information do to secure Arts place in the national curriculum. However when it comes to the creative problem solving of our nation and state’s worst issues we simply can’t “think like an artist” and find new perspectives.

Students need to have opportunities to focus on discovery, invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, “creative play if you will” or as one arts think-tank describes “teaching for artistic behavior”. Students need a forum in which failure can happen so they can learn to cope and adapt from mistakes without academic penalty.

A recent article praised Arts programs where students were treated like apprentices and teachers facilitators of artistic exploration. These were the top programs in the nation. And no, Kentucky did not have a school listed among them.

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