Utilizing ungraded portfolios for evaluation in fine arts

Date created: 
Carolyn Mamchur
Education: Faculty of Education
Fine arts assessment
Fine arts evaluation
Letter grades
Ungraded portfolios
Authentic evaluation

In this thesis the use of portfolios to assess and evaluate fine arts students is examined. It is argued that the best and most authentic form of evaluation in the fine arts is the ungraded fine arts portfolio. A philosophical overview of the debate is presented by examining traditional versus progressive models of education. Literature reviews present the background of research surrounding both portfolio assessment in education and the use of letter grades. The argument for ungraded portfolios proceeds with an examination of how art is assessed and evaluated ‘authentically’ within the field outside of the educational context, a review of the history of assessment in fine arts within and outside of the realm of public education, an examination of the interplay between creativity, student motivation and assessment and an overview of curriculum theory as it relates to assessment in the fine arts. Examples of the classroom use of ungraded fine arts portfolios are presented, with concrete suggestions on how to proceed. Discussions include the use of digital formats, what to include in the portfolio, collaborative planning with the students, emphasizing metacognitive processes, goal-setting and self assessment in the portfolios and creating a culture of art in the classroom with the portfolios as a central component. In conclusion, there is a discussion of how to adapt the ungraded fine arts portfolio for use should letter grades be required institutionally.

Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Document type: 
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