RTTT Performing Fine Arts Assessment Project

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Hard To Measure?

Hard-to-Measure PERFORMING Fine Arts

The RTTT initiative charges the Florida Department of Educataion to measure INDIVIDUAL Student Achievement.  The Performing Fine Arts are Hard-to-Measure because most classroom work includes teams of students (dance, ensemble, band, chorus, orchestra, acting troupe), and the students are involved in Performing/Creating activites, rather than Responding activities.

Hard-to-Measure?  YES!

  • Performance-based tasks
  • Collaborative activities
  • Creative outcomes

Higher-Order Thinking

“Fine Arts, when well taught, provide children with opportunities to use their imagination to create multiple solutions to problems, and to rely on their own judgment to determine when a problem is solved or a project is completed.  In the arts, children must rely on that most exquisite of human intellectual abilities – judgement."                              Elliot W. Eisner

The Performing Artist 

Performing Fine Arts:  the representation of human actions and connection – express, create, empathize, inspire.  
Artist:  one who is courageous, compassionate, connected, and vulnerable –  a storyteller, a soul-searcher.

Connect and Communicate As Humans

Performing Fine Arts curriculum provides students with an opportunity to develop their ability to connect and communicate as humans, as well as to create moments to express their inner most thoughts and emotions.  Authentic human connection occurs with the guidance, supervision, direction and assistance of a highly qualified Performing Fine Arts educator.  


The value of a Performing Fine Arts experience in school is student learning which results in a confident, forthcoming, compassionate and intellectual young adult, who is experienced working in an ensemble (team) and is self-directed, self-reflective and has developed good time-management skills.  A Performing Fine Arts student will be able to demonstrate higher-order thinking skills and will be able to communicate well in many circumstances - business, higher education, community, etc.

Performing and Creating Activities

Ask any Performing Fine Arts educator and they will tell you that the majority of activities in their classroom are PERFORMING AND CREATING - as much as 70% to 80% of their classroom time.

  • A dance student needs to communicate physically with sincere feeling.
  • A music student needs to perform music with expression and meaning.  
  • A theatre student needs to present a moving monologue with astuteness, insight and compassion.
Performing Fine Arts historical context or background information are important to know and can help to improve the skill and performance of the student artist, but are not essential for a true human connection through the arts.  A responding assessment of multiple-choice test items does not adequately examine the level of achievement for a Performing Fine Arts student.

Performing Fine Arts Assessment

A reliable and valid Performing Fine Arts assessment must reflect the Performing Fine Arts classroom.

PERFORMANCE TASKS (Performing TEST ITEMS) are essential to an authentic Performing Fine Arts Assessment.

Performance Tasks – prepared, on-demand, improvised (individual and ensemble)

  • Demonstrates several benchmarks simultaneously
  • Requires higher order thinking at “Depth of Knowledge” levels 3 and 4
  • Represents the work in the Performing Fine Arts classroom
The great news is that the standards call on so many things the arts do well. The tradition of careful observation, attention to evidence and artists’ choices, the love of taking an artist’s work seriously lies at the heart of these standards.
- David Coleman, CCSS architect,
President, College Board
ARTSblog, 17 September 2012

Requirements of a PERFORMANCE TASK assessment using 21st Century technology
  • Registration or logon for the student
  • An on-line release form with electronic signatures for the student and parent/guardian
  • Test location without the distraction of movement or sound
  • Video and Audio capture of the performance
  • Student self-evaluation score based on the rubric


  • Registration or logon for the scorer(s)
  • On-line scoring rubric
  • Ability to average scores on-line for multiple scorers
  • Server space to store performances for least four years in order to demonstrate progress

FROM: Teacher and Leader Effectiveness /Standards and Assessment Community of Practice: Seminar on Non-Tested Grades and Subjects Brad Jupp, Senior Advisor on Teacher Initiatives, US DOE August 28, 2012

Considerations and Challenges

Selecting Appropriate Measures

Quality, rigor, consistency across classrooms in a district or classrooms statewide

Data Quality

Attribution and student-teacher links; roster verification

Financial Resources

Cost of developing and administering additional assessments

Classroom Time

Equity of instructional time.  Performing Fine Arts students in Elementary classrooms must have time to learn the content and skills being tested prior to being assessed.

Human Capacity

Staff needed to develop and implement assessments now and over time; sufficient to ensure fidelity of implementation

Professional Development

Training everyone involved in using rubrics (e.g., for grading student work or performances) to ensure reliability

System Capacity

System to support collection of data – video, audio & graphics

State and District Priorities

Statues, regulations or other factors that would affect the design or implementation of assessments


State curricular organizations that can join forces with the DOE to assist with reciprocal scoring.  This approach contributes to greater comparability because teachers will be using the same measures across schools, districts and regions.

Stakeholder Engagement

Work with those closest to the students to ensure commitment and interest.  Provide opportunities to involve educators in the process by seeking their input and expertise in the design of the assessments.  Be transparent by documenting every step toward decisions related to selection of measures so that decision can be tracked, explained and communicated publicly.


System leaders should use information to inform continuous improvement and adjustments.


Websites, Outreach efforts, Opinion research, Publications

Quality Control

By having a vetting process, states can help to ensure that districts make good faith efforts to measure teacher performance in a fair and reliable manner.

Based on information from the Reform Support Network, Measuring Student Growth for Teachers in Non-Tested Grades and Subjects.

NOTE: This information was developed under a grant from the U. S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U. S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.