Assessing Student Learning- Critique Resources

The vehicle used most often to assess student learning in studio art classes is the critique or work review.

Many students are afraid of speaking up or saying anything negative in reviews, because they believe that to do so is equal to attacking their peers personally. Students do not initially know what a critique is for, nor do they know what constitutes useful feedback. Students need to be taught on an ongoing basis how to talk about art work, and some critiques, especially those in intro and foundation level classes, should have that specific focus in mind.

Most studio art faculty in higher education learned how to critique student work from their own teachers. What little formal pedagogical training they may have had was probably directed towards creating a syllabus and executing lesson plans, not towards learning how to conduct an effective critique. If you feel like there has to be a better way to conduct your critiques, one starting point would be to read Terry Barrett’s Criticizing Art, and Buster & Crawford’s The Critique Handbook. Then try applying some of their principles into your own classroom critiques.

This entry was posted in Critique, Evaluating Student Work, Sources for Teaching Support and tagged , , by Jane Alden Stevens. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jane Alden Stevens

Jane Alden Stevens is a photographer and educator who is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati. An active artist, Stevens has exhibited and published her work extensively both in the US and abroad. She is the author of “Tears of Stone: World War I Remembered” (2004). In the course of her teaching career, Stevens taught courses in film, photography, and professional practices for fine artists. Her interest in teaching practices was deepened when she started teaching the "Graduate Teaching Workshop", a required graduate level course for fine artists and art historians that prepares them to teach the courses they will later be assigned. She was also involved in the Preparing Future Faculty program at the University of Cincinnati, which prepares masters and doctoral students across all programs for teaching at the university level. She has conducted pedagogy workshops for a variety of universities, as well as participated in academic practicum panels at educational conferences. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Stevens was honored with the all-university Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and Professor of the Year honors in her college in 2011.

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