UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Goh, Tricia Su Ing
National Institute of Education
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

An Academic Exercise submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for Bachelor of Arts (Hons)


The debate about the validity of assessment as a measure of student learning in art is undoubtedly a longstanding one. Historically, research literature relating to art assessment has not sufficiently emphasized or fully addressed the issue of student assessment. In a survey of Studies in Art Education, Boughton (1997) reported that only 5% of the articles published between 1959 and 1974, dealt with evaluation, of which were addressing mostly program evaluation rather than student assessment. Gruber and Hobbs's (2002) informal survey from the same publication also reported that only 18 out of 376 articles, published from 1988 to 2001, dealt with assessment or evaluation.

This extends to the context of Singapore, where there are no known resources or concrete methods of assessment employed in the evaluation of lower secondary art. This lack of research could account for prevalent narrow perceptions and limiting approaches of assessment in the visual arts, where assessment in art education is seldom more than a form of statistical accountability, lacking any broader pedagogical significance. Munro's (1956) caveat that the awareness of "how purely individual, unique, and capricious" our methods of assessment are in the field of art instruction, remains largely unaddressed.

The aim of this study is to review the current assessment practices of lower secondary art educators in Singapore through an examination of theories in relation to the educational value and significance of assessment in the visual arts, complemented by a qualitative appraisal of the range of art assessment practices adopted by 10 lower secondary art teachers. With an informed analysis, this study uncovers a plethora of issues confronting the assessment of lower secondary art and puts forth a framework which will emphasize the pedagogical and instructional concerns of assessment in relation to student learning.

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