AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



ACA Week: Don Glass on Improving the Work of Educators and Students with Educative Assessment

Hi. I am Don Glass, the Co-Chair of the Arts, Culture, and Audiences TIG, and curator of ACA week on AEA365. In several of my recent arts education evaluations, building assessment capacity through the design of local tasks, rubrics, and scoring procedures have been at the center of my technical assistance and program recommendations. Good assessments can increase the quality and consistency of the student impact data for program evaluation, as well as provide educative opportunities for educators and students in using data to improve their work.

Lessons Learned:

  • Be clear on the learning outcomes. Most arts education and professional development programs use some type of student learning outcomes to measure impact. Having clear goals is a solid first step in designing fair, aligned, and quality assessments. Educational standards documents contribute clarity and focus in defining these outcomes.
  • Use a wide range of student work. Reviewing real and varied responses to assessment tasks provides evidence to inform and validate your assessment criteria descriptors, as well as gives you feedback for refining the assessment task.
  • Learn from assessment design and scoring. Consider the assessment process as a form of professional learning, ongoing formative feedback for your work, and an opportunity to learn how a range of students learn.
  • Be inclusive and explicit. Involve students, educators, and outside content experts in assessment design and use. Broad perspectives and shared understandings of performance expectations can help guide the teaching and learning process towards clear goals and new, innovative solutions.


Rad Resources:

Hot Tips:

  • In one project, we used inter-rater reliability comparisons among students, educators, and teaching artists on assessment scores as an indicator of the level of “shared agreement” on performance expectations. If the scores varied greatly, then additional instructional work was needed for students, and/or professional development work with the educators to get everyone moving towards similar goals and expectations.
  • Keep an eye out for the National Core Arts Standards Model Cornerstone Assessments, as well as the NYC Department of Education’s Common Core-aligned tasks, units, and student work that may feature the arts as an option for demonstrating knowledge and understanding.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Arts, Culture, and Audiences (ACA) TIG Week. The contributions all week come from ACA members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.



  • Kylie Hutchinson · November 25, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Don, I’m interested in the rubric that you included. Do you have any more detailed examples you could share with me?




  • Ashlee Lewis · October 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Hello there!

    I am so glad that AEA is having an arts assessment week! I am genuinely enjoying these in my inbox each day! I don’t know if anyone will see this, but I wanted to point out that Robert Johnson’s Assessing Performance book features examples from the South Carolina Arts Assessment Program (SCAAP), not North Carolina. I work with the SCAAP, and when I noticed this, I felt compelled to let someone know in case they went searching for us. I put our URL above, but here it is again:

    Thanks so much!
    Ashlee Lewis


    • Don Glass · October 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you Ashlee! I will get the blog post corrected and include the url.



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