Ideal Assessment

On this page I am shaping terms of an ideal visual art assessment, updating it as I learn.

Criteria for the ideal visual art assessment:


The ideal assessment of student learning in art would not only relate to the what is taught, but to what is demanded of working artists outside of school, including dispositions, knowledge, and skills.


The ideal assessment would include performance measures. It may also include traditional multiple choice items.

Item Grouping

Ideal assessment items would be grouped by categories of disposition, knowledge, and skill. Achievement data would be reported within each category.


The ideal assessment would celebrate successes and recognize growth of all students, including those who are intellectually advanced beyond that of average grade-level peers and those who function intellectually behind that of average grade-level peers.


The ideal assessment would allow for standardization across demographic subgroups, comparing students who have had similar opportunities to learn.

Quantitative and Qualitative

The ideal assessment would report quantitative data, as simple as binary measures of accomplished or not accomplished for any given criteria. It would also collect narrative data to enhance the phenomenological understanding of individual cases which may be key cases, random sampling, outlier cases, etc.

Digital and Internet-based

The ideal assessment for visual art will take advantage of the Internet’s characteristic strength in storing, collecting, and analyzing a variety of data. Computer data analysis may provide insights about student learning. Digital and actual portfolios have been shown to yield consistent assessment results. (Dorn, 2006)


The ideal assessment would disperse the problem-solving task of evaluating student achievement across a large number of evaluators united by an online platform.


The student would exercise executive function in choosing what to assess and how, with which criteria. In most cases, this attribute would help to differentiate assessment, allowing students to select for their areas of strength.


The ideal assessment tool would show levels of progress toward multiple artistic purposes and varying aesthetics in diverse media and techniques.


The student would self-evaluate, and the level of agreement between the student’s evaluation and professional evaluations could also become a measure of domain-specific critical thinking.


The quantitative data resulting from the assessment would be shown to be reliable across multiple raters (inter-rater reliability would meet testing standards).