Please Don't Eat the Artwork


Assesment in the Elementary Art Classroom


My state has an evaluation system for teachers called TKES. Part of our evaluation involves assessment. Last year, when this syetem was inagural (and so was I!) the prospect of assessment in the art room left me with a millionย ?s. How could I assess artwork which is a mainly subjective domain in an objective way? How could I find the time to assess each and every piece of art created by each and every of my (give or take) 700 students? How could I assess in a way that made sense to the kids so that they could also be a part of the assessment process?


Just like the minion above, I was totally baffled.ย UNTIL I CAME ACROSS THIS. I have no earthly idea who originally came up with this (I wish I did so I could thank them!) So if you know please tell me. This rubric is based on national standards and it is written in a kid-friendly manner! I wanted to tweak it a bit for my classroom and simplify it to go along with my Artwork Checklist:


So I created a rubric that can be used for ANY project for ANY grade (I would suggest 2-5 because the graphic organizer structure might be kind of tough for the little ones.) I made a poster size version of the rubric and posted it in my class so students can always see what they are being graded on.


Students will also take ownership of their grade by filling out a rubric for each project. They can award themselves points and even leave me a comment (did you like this project? what was your favorite part? what would you do differently?)


So far, this process has gone really well. Most kids are very honest about the grade they deserve and the ones who are not will get the reality check when I fill out the teacher column. I’m really excited to have this new assessment system in place, hopefully it will make my students think more critically about their work.


Author: artwithmsk

Hello! My name is Ms. Katzin and I am an art teacher at an elementary school near Atlanta, Georgia. Teaching art is my passion and I love what I do!

10 thoughts on “Assesment in the Elementary Art Classroom

  1. I love this idea. And you use this with elementary effectively? I did something similar, if not more complicated with my middle schoolers but I have been hesitant to bring this element into my elementary students because I don’t know what to expect. But this shows me that at least 2nd-5th grade could be involved in their grading process! GREAT!

    • Thanks! It has been A LOT easier than I thought it would be. Most of the kids have filled out rubrics before in their home room classes so they had some prior knowledge to help guide them. If I had more time with my students I would love to create the rubric as a class and have a whole discussion about what it means to be successful in art. If you implement this with your kids, let me know how it goes! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Great idea, girl! All of this seriously brings me back to school (in my mind, not for real – I’m not typing this on a yellow bus somewhere). When you post things like this, I still can’t believe you’re a real teacher! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not real yet so I’m excited that you are. I โค minions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Dude this is the coolest thing ever – I love that you made such a ridiculous assessment situation into a really powerful learning experience for the kids.
    But the best part? The does of reality check you’ll give em when their grade doesn’t match yours! HA! GET IT GIRL!

    • Thank you! After speaking with another teacher I decided that if a student does not like their grade they can make it up and earn back their points. I think this will reinforce responsibility and be a good lesson learned ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi there Miss K, I really love your passion, thoughtfulness and commitment.

    I realise there are many limitations inherent with teaching large numbers of students every day in a classroom, and that classroom control and student behaviour is a big issue for an art teacher, but I don’t agree entirely with the assessment categories you have come up with. It worries me that the students are receiving a message that artwork should be neat, colourful and detailed to be good, as there are many forms of art recognised for their beauty that are neither neat (how about Jackson Pollack?) nor detailed (example minimalists).

    Following directions is important up to a point, but I hope you acknowledge that it’s only when truly creative people go beyond following directions that great work is done (example Einstein, the impressionists, pioneers of any new movement). I hate to think of kids believing that to be creative is to follow directions; and in fact to expect them to be original and also to follow directions is almost like asking them to do two mutually exclusive things. Even accomplished artists find it very difficult at times to be totally original, and all art is in some way a product of what has gone before.

    Putting in effort; being brave and trying something new (fearlessness is such a key challenge for the artist); care of art materials; respect for fellow students and teacher and attempting to complete work within the available time are all valid assessment criteria. Most of all, I’d like to see children receive encouragement in their art lessons to express themselves and try new things. It’s an activity that should bring them joy, not performance pressure. They get enough of that elsewhere.

    I really wish you well as you are putting a whole lot of heart into your work. The administrative side of teaching must be very challenging. Cheers, Judy

    • Judy, thank you so much for your well thought out comment. Worry not that “the students are receiving a message that artwork should be neat, colourful and detailed to be good.” If you explore the rest of my blog I’m sure you will find that the core of my teaching philosophy is to help foster imagination and creativity in my students. Doing this requires some structure — especially in the American public school system. I agree with you that “Itโ€™s an activity that should bring them joy, not performance pressure” but unfortunately elementary school is a performance based activity in general. I’m sure most of my students would agree that my classroom is a place where joy blossoms and creative self expression is encouraged.

      My students learn how to work “inside of the box” so that when they are old enough to understand and fully appreciate such innovative thinkers such as Jackson Pollock and Albert Einstein they will be able to break the rules knowingly and purposefully. (An 8 year old is a bit young to be a pioneer of a new movement) After all, one must know the rules before they can break them ๐Ÿ˜‰

      You are indeed correct that artwork does not have to be neat to be considered art HOWEVER in an elementary classroom, doing your best work means doing neat work. For example telling a kindergartener details and neatness don’t matter will yeild disasterous consequences!

      As an artist you have an interesting and unique perspective about what an art classroom should be like and I appreciate the challenge of my own ideals. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Pingback: Grafitti Names | Art With Ms. K

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