In 1996, Ohio's then new curriculum framework, Comprehensive Arts Education: Ohio's Model Competency-Based Program, called for ongoing classroom assessment of student learning in the arts and standardized administration of annual district-wide, grade level evaluations of student progress in the arts. Supporting this challenge, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) began laying the foundation for the Ohio Arts Education Assessment Project (the Project); a project to increase the capacity of practitioners to plan and implement assessments of student learning in multiple arts disciplines in Ohio's K-12 schools.
Developing capacities to use and master appropriate assessment measures, tools, and best practices is a process. Therefore, the Project partners defined the following five long-range goals prior to the initiation of Phase I, "Introducing Assessment," which resulted in the publication of The Power of Arts Assessment in Teaching and Learning: A Process Guide for Teachers in Ohio Schools and its companion video, and the professional development and revision work of Phase II, "Making Assessment Work":
- Educators, artists, students, and parents have more accurate and detailed information about student learning and assessment in the arts.
- Students experience the arts as an essential part of their academic and personal lives.
- Schools, school districts, and arts organizations hold themselves accountable for student learning in the arts.
- Communities know their investments in arts education are yielding the best possible results.
- State and local education and arts policies support arts assessment as an important area of study and an essential component of programs offered through Pre-K - 12 schools, higher education, regional professional development centers, and arts organizations and agencies.
These goals were achieved through ongoing research, development, and dissemination of assessment exercises including instructional aides in each arts discipline; professional development workshops for educators in foundation, intermediate, and advanced levels of arts-based assessment; and the Education Assessment Congress.
Since the initial distribution of The Power of Arts Assessment in Teaching and Learning: A Process Guide for Teachers in Ohio Schools (The Process Guide) in 2000, more than forty training workshops in foundation and Intermediate levels of arts-based assessment have been conducted. These workshops have enabled 2,000 teachers directly and more than 12,000 indirectly to integrate arts-based assessment in their respective classroom plans. Workshops are designed as an accompaniment to The Process Guide and its companion video. An advanced assessment, action research course as well as an Internet-based "assessment practice and reflection" course were offered during Phase II, with credit awarded through the University of Rio Grande.
Additional opportunities continue to be explored with those now working at advanced levels. Trainer enhancement workshops and learning labs to explore revisions to The Process Guide and workshop content have been conducted to maintain the quality and relevance of the Project's work. The Arts Assessment Mentor Program, an extension of the Project, funded chiefly by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, focuses on practical, one-on-one implementation, pairing arts assessment mentors with their knowledge-seeking peers.
Administration, Staffing and Support
A twenty-seven member Steering Committee with representatives from the three consortium partners, higher education, elementary and secondary education, local and regional arts agencies, and consultants from public, private, and political sectors provide the "think tank" responsible for the Project's design. Professional development components of the Project are conducted by state and national educators with demonstrated proficiency in the field of assessment. The Project is continuously evaluated by an independent evaluator. The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education serves as the Project administrator on behalf of the project partners.
The Ohio Arts Education Assessment Project is made possible, in part, by grants and special assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts , The George Gund Foundation , the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation , the Ohio Arts Council, the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Taking Action and Getting Involved
To request your copy of The Power of Arts Assessment in Teaching and Learning: A Process Guide for Teachers in Ohio Schools, its companion video, a copy of the Project evaluation report, or to schedule an arts assessment workshop contact the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.