Assessment strategies in Art and Design education

Year: 2012

Author: Goh, Suhan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Using tested assessment models for Art and Design, this paper discusses the use of various effective assessment strategies to measure the creative process and outcome of art and design works at degree level education, to achieve various learning aims and objectives.

The assessment strategies are based on the pedagogy and philosophy that there are 2 broad categories of skills and knowledge in Art and Design education.  The teaching and learning of 1) practical skills such as drawing, model making, sewing, drafting, digital illustration, etc. and 2) creative skills such as design thinking and approach, methods of idea generating and conceptualizing.

Category 1 skills are practical skills that are measurable whereas category 2 skills are less quantifiable and are often perceived to encompass a certain degree of subjectivity in terms of what they represent and the creative processes involved in arriving at the final outcome. Teaching and assessing category 2 skills require a more holistic and conceptual approach.  

There exists in the process of creativity and innovation (conceptualizing, problem solving, functional analysis), a list of elements that are common in any creative processes that generate effective solutions and outcomes. These common qualities can be made measurable so that creativity as a skill set can then be delivered and assessed objectively in a coherent and rational fashion.

In identifying this distinction between the 2 sets of skills is a big step in enabling us to establish a set of guidelines and methods directed at deriving more effective assessment strategies. More importantly, is the development of a set of measurable criteria and qualities that will enable the assessment of creativity and innovation demonstrated in an assignment or project to be conducted with optimal accuracy and parity.

The paper also discusses the use of numerical marks versus written comments to reflect and represent the quality of Art and Design work in an assessment, how the weighting of assessable components can be developed more effectively to achieve the various assessment of learning outcomes, aims and objectives, as well as the averaging system used in the case of a panel of assessors, to calibrate numerical marks to achieve optimal coherence.