Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kindergarten Portrait Assessment

Last fall the K-6 art PLC was given a morning to come up with a common assessment. We decided to start with Kindergarten and chose portraits as a focus. We thought it would be best to do a portrait at the beginning and end of the school year and use a rubric to assess them. I wanted to be able to display them side by side as a keepsake so that became the plan.
 At first, I gave students a sheet of computer paper, had them fold it in half hamburger style, and tried to get them to write their name and draw a self-portrait on one half, while I added "September". Next year, I will just give the students a half sheet because many drew over the crease or switched sides of the paper after I'd written the month. For the May drawing, I gave the students a half sheet and later glued it onto the "empty" half of the paper from September. Of course, in between the pre and post assessments, there were multiple opportunities to talk about portraits and observation. I know that observation is a difficult task for young students, but we meant it more as awareness- all body parts and facial features present- than photorealism. 
I would like to revamp the rubric. The items we looked for were if body parts were present, if body parts were in the right place (ex: legs connected to the torso instead of the head), if facial features were present, and if colors were selected thoughtfully. Other than the color item, there was no consideration given to aesthetics, emotive qualities, etc. I know those are harder to measure, but they're important enough to try. I would also like to add an "advanced" category instead of just going to "proficient".

Here's what we used this year. I have not yet revised the rubric.
Beginning of Year
Description of Assessment/Key Traits
Body Parts Present
Missing several parts
Head, torso, arms, legs, hands, feet
Head, neck, torso, arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers
Body Parts Positioning
Many body parts in wrong position
Ex: Legs attach to head
Some body parts in correct position
All body parts in correct position
Facial Features Present
Only eyes and mouth
Most facial features present
All features: eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc.
Color Choices
Only uses one color
Little thought given to color choices
Student thoughtfully selected colors

 I will also do my post-assessment in April next year instead of May. Some of the students' drawings scored lower on the post-assessment because they were wound up and just didn't want to work on their drawings more than a couple minutes. It was a rough May around here!
Despite a little backsliding, the majority of students showed a lot of growth. Some showed huge improvements! Now, I know that kids would naturally develop their drawing skills and awareness of self as they grow but I see growth beyond that and beyond what these rubrics show. I'm glad to have a starting point for next year's assessment anyway.


  1. I used portraits for assessment as well. Can you share you rubric?

  2. Thanks for sharing. I do the same with my first -graders. It is amazing to see the growth.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I do the same with my first -graders. It is amazing to see the growth.