Student Achievement Assessment Committee
School of Art
A. Learning Outcomes (as listed in Undergraduate Catalog 2005-06)
Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts (Studio), Bachelor of Arts (Art History) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Studio) degrees, students are expected to:
- Demonstrate basic technical abilities within the studio media.
- Engage in and apply scholarly and/or creative research in visual, written, and oral contexts.
- Apply knowledge of art history, criticism, and theory to their chosen field of study.
- Demonstrate the ability to contextualize their art experience within their chosen field of study.
Upon completion of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education degree, students are expected to:
- Examine the relationship and influence of the visual arts in social, historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts.
- Demonstrate proficiency in technical, conceptual, and critical abilities within studio media.
- Plan and teach art curricula, based on theories of child development and first-hand experience with individual students for pre-kindergarten through young adult learners.
- Design art curricula that reflect the purposes of art education, the breadth of art, and the goals of a general education.
- Demonstrate critical and reflective thinking, oral and written communication abilities, and management skills.
- Exhibit professional behavior when working with students, parents, other educators, and community members.
B. Assessment Activities 2005-06
In the School of Art, successful assessment practice faces unique challenges. Unlike most academic programs in which student work is primarily text-based, the great majority of academic work produced in the School is visual, and often fully three-dimensional. Preserving it for subsequent review leading to curricular and program development is logistically difficult. In an effort to overcome this difficulty, during the past year the School has extensively revised its existing assessment procedures to pursue opportunities presented by developing digital technology -- specifically BGSU's new Digital Asset Management System (DAM). We have also realized that our previous "one size fits all" approach, making no distinction between the BFA, BA studio, and BA art history degrees is inadequate. If we wish to meaningfully improve the quality of our curriculum, the School must design a cluster of assessment activities capable of yielding insights specific to each of our degree programs.
Because of the scope of the logistical and technical hurdles we face, and our increasing awareness of the ineffectiveness of our previous assessment procedures due to their lack of program specificity, we suspended the collection of assessment material for 2005-06. Instead, through a series of meetings throughout the year, School faculty focused on wholesale revision of our assessment activities -- some will be new, such as the collecting of digital portfolios -- others have been in place since the beginning of our assessment activities but must be improved. Our goal is to complete and implement our revisions by December 2006, at which point we will resume collecting assessment material.
The following is a list of the School of Art's existing assessment procedures, their limitations, and proposals for improving their effectiveness.
1. Incoming Student Portfolio Review (after revision will apply to BFA Studio and BFA Art Education degrees)
Current Practice - The incoming student portfolio review is required of all students planning to pursue a BFA degree, including art education students (it is not required of BA studio and BA art history students and will not be used as part of assessment practice for those degrees). Faculty members participate in a three-member portfolio review committee that interviews the applicants and reviews their artwork. Quality of student work is evaluated according to ten criteria. These have a loose relationship to student learning outcomes listed above.
Critique — As we currently do not retain or otherwise document full portfolios, we do not have an opportunity to compare incoming students' work with work they subsequently make while progressing through our degree programs. In addition, because the review committees each evaluate only a part of all work submitted, their awareness of its overall quality is limited.
Proposal for Improvement — During next year's portfolio reviews we will collect a sampling of portfolios to be digitized and archived using the DAM system. We will reexamine the portfolio evaluation criteria to identify closer correspondence to learning outcomes and make changes to the former as necessary.
2. Senior Exit Survey (after revision will apply to all degree programs) —
Current Practice - A survey/questionnaire has been distributed annually to all graduating seniors. The surveys provide students with the School of Art learning outcomes and corresponding questions to be scored in one of five categories ranging from "excellent" to "insufficient." General information questions are also included in such areas as quality of advising, study abroad, and post-graduate goals.
Critique - While useful to a point, the exit survey has several flaws. Because distribution was not tied to a formal class setting, it was difficult to assure they reached all students. The return rate was low and few students chose to provide written comments, preferring instead to simply fill in the ratings boxes. This yielded a "raw" score, but provided little specific insight into students' perception of program quality.
Proposal for Improvement - In the future the survey should be distributed and returned as part of the coursework in our Professional Practices classes, as well as the capstone course being developed for Art History. Since all BFA students are required to take the Professional Practices course specific to their discipline prior to graduation, we would be assured of virtually complete student participation. Faculty could use the surveys as a vehicle for substantive class discussion thereby gaining insight into students' perception of their education.
3. External Evaluator Questionnaire (will apply to all degree programs) —
Current Practice - The External Evaluation of Undergraduate Exhibition Questionnaire was created for visiting artists and jurors to evaluate the work in our annual student exhibition. The document asked evaluators to respond to questions about the technical proficiency, creativity, concepts, and presentation of work in the exhibition -- criteria loosely fitting our learning outcomes.
Critique - As with the senior exit survey, the Evaluator Questionnaire is potentially useful, but its effectiveness was impaired by erratic distribution, uneven rates of return, and difficulty in correlating the results to assessment at entry level. The voluntary nature of the Undergraduate Exhibition also means that the evaluators are not necessarily evaluating a balanced sampling of student work. The Undergraduate Exhibition includes freshman, sophomore and junior work, creating an uneven playing field for evaluation. The Undergraduate Exhibition rarely includes artists' statements, and is therefore also not a good venue for evaluating students' writing skills.
Proposal for Improvement - The questionnaire should be revised and broadened to pertain not just to the Undergraduate Exhibition, but also to "capstone" activities such as the BFA exhibition (which is also evaluated by outside jurors and reviewers), and also to activities in art history in which outside lecturers and jurors might participate. The capstone evaluation criteria should be aligned with evaluation criteria at entry level.
C. Proposed Undergraduate Assessment Plan (to be implemented December 2006)
The School of Art's revised assessment plan addresses the shared learning outcomes of the BFA, BA, and BA in art history programs, while also yielding program specific insights. The main element in the plan is the creation of a digital archive of student work from "checkpoints" during students' progress toward graduation. The School believes that a digital strategy is superior to earlier assessment techniques because it allows us to collect, archive, and directly assess student work. Our previous methods relied exclusively on indirect measures of achievement -- presenting us a very limited view of student success. Development of a digital archive will at last give us a direct assessment technique allowing for side-by-side comparison of work from various phases of student progress. Previous indirect assessment tools, revised to better reflect program diversity, will compliment and amplify conclusions reached from direct evaluation of work. The revised assessment plan will require formal faculty approval during the fall semester.
Our revised assessment plan calls for collecting, archiving, and evaluating a representative sampling of visual and written work from BFA Studio and Art Education students
- when they pass the portfolio review for admittance to the BFA program,
- upon completion of the First Year program
- when submitting final work for BFA exhibition just prior to graduation.
Checkpoints for BA Studio and BA Art History are yet to be precisely determined. They will be in place by the December 2006 target date. Broadly speaking, they will follow the same format as the checkpoints for the BFA degrees, and include an entry, middle, and a capstone point.
The "checkpoint" strategy emerged over the course of the past year from faculty discussions and meetings, culminating with a meeting between School administrators and staff from the office of Digital Asset Management (DAM) in May 2006.
At the meeting, DAM staff presented us with a credible solution to issues of access and storage that had prevented earlier implementation of a digitally based assessment strategy. While we must still decide on some of the specifics (for instance how much work to collect to create a representative sampling, standardization of format), whenever possible we will build assessment mechanisms into our existing curriculum. The collection of student work will be incorporated into the structure of the portfolio review, first year program classes, and our Professional Practices courses. We are committed to finding methods to incorporate assessment methods into the BA curricula as well.
Building assessment into the curriculum is a vital component in the success of our plan. Previously, our assessment procedures were extra-curricular and consequently suffered from a lack of academic "infrastructure" leading to fractured and erratic use. During the past year we experimented with the collecting of digital portfolios -- requiring students to submit them (in CD ROM format) as part of the required work in our BFA Studio Professional Practices courses (a group of discipline specific capstone classes). We found few, if any, problems with the actual creation of the CD's; students either created them on their own or were directed to existing campus resources for assistance. Our only difficulty was instituting and maintaining a standardized format assuring future access and storage. The DAM staff has agreed to assist us in standardizing an appropriate and easy-to-use format for all levels and courses.
Subject to revision this coming fall, in summary the School of Art's revised assessment plan will consist of:
- Collection and digitization of a sampling of visual and written work taken from incoming BFA student portfolios.
- Collection and digitization of entry/introductory level work in BA programs.
- Collection and digitization of a sampling of visual and written BFA student work from First Year Program courses
- Collection and digitization of a sampling of BA student work made in intermediate level courses.
- Collection and digitization of student work approved for the BFA exhibition.
- Collection and digitization of student work made in BA capstone experiences/courses.
- Program evaluation by visiting artists, speakers, and jurors.
- Graduating senior surveys.