This week I was reminded of a truth that I have known in the past: Art is subjective. The students in my Junior High Technology class turned in their first big project this week, which was the front page of our school’s newspaper created in Office Word. When I made the assignment, I also created the grading rubric and thought that it was brilliant. However, when I actually sat down and applied the rubric to the student’s projects, I was soon lost. I find that I cannot grade students like a math teacher would because the work is not wrong or right. It is instead complete or not complete. I have some students who gave a 100% effort and were working hard the entire time, but their work cannot compare to the gifted students whose design looked better even though they kept goofing off during class. This bothers me. I want to award students for their hard work, but I also want to teach them what they are doing wrong rather than stamping gold stars on everything.
Where am I at right now with my viewpoint on grading? I tried to collaborate with other teachers at my school about this subject to learn from the wisdom of my peers. The teachers that I talked to said that this is just a hard subject and it should be something that should constantly be assessed and modified. I found that the teachers who had subjects that allowed for concrete answers had an easier time putting together grading rubrics. With that said, the best advice came from a fellow art teacher who told me to grade for completion of the project, class participation, and the effort that the student put forth in class.