The Problem: Many students freeze when confronted with an essay assessment prompt.
I recently walked into Noah Heath’s room. Noah teaches Psychology.
I noticed some interesting art work on the wall. I asked about it. The next 10 minutes simply evaporated as Noah described his recent assessment experiment, “I have a lot of students who are uncomfortable with traditional tests. I wanted to give these kids an option. I let them opt to use art to demonstrate mastery of altered states of consciousness. They were to compare chemically altered consciousness (through drugs) and non-chemically altered consciousness (through hypnosis, meditation, and biofeedback). Traditionally, I give students an essay asking them to compare and contrast. Students who participated in my experiment still had to include a writing component, but it was to explain their artwork. Their creation did the job of comparing and contrasting!”
The Solution: Allow students to demonstrate learning through an art project.
What You Can Do Tomorrow?
- Create an art-worthy prompt.
- Expose students to a famous work of art and enlighten them about its deep meaning. An excellent example is Pablo Picasso’s Guernica.
- Challenge students to brainstorm ways demonstrate learning other than essay writing.
- Call for student proposals.
Many students suffer with traditional assessments. Experiment with allowing them to demonstrate deep understanding with art.