Art History Assessment for 2008-09 and Plan for 2009-10

 

 

 

Art History Discipline Objectives [from the UMM Catalog]:

1)    To develop students’ understanding of some of the historical traditions in the visual arts.

2)    To teach students methods of analysis and interpretation of works of art.

3)    To help students discover the rich and complex relationship of art to other aspects of culture.

4)    Students are encouraged to have direct contact with art by means of studio art courses, class field trips, gallery internships, and study abroad experiences.

 

 

I.  Gen Ed Assessment:

    ArtH 1111 (fall sem.) and ArtH 1101(spring sem.) were assessed again this year by means of student performance on specific exam questions which relate to objectives #1, 2, and 3. These results were tracked throughout the semester, and compared to results gathered in previous years.

    Findings: see reports from J. Schryver for these courses, which are appended. 

 

 

 

II.  Discipline Assessment:

     Our discipline assessment occurs each spring semester when we require senior majors to take

ArtH 4901, Capstone Assessment of Art History (1 credit).  The students write an approximate 5 page essay, responding to topics we provide (appended here); this past year we also had them respond to a questionnaire (also appended), in order to obtain more pertinent information. For both of these assignments, students first submitted a draft, to which their art history advisor responded, before turning in a final paper.  They also compiled a portfolio of their art history papers and essay exams.

     In addition, the art history faculty met with all 7 graduating majors* at our capstone discussion session, which occurred Tues. April 28, where we obtained additional feedback. One change we made was to give the students the discussion questions (appended here) in advance so that they could prepare their thoughts; this was welcomed by the students and yielded more fruitful results in terms of insightful responses.

 

[*We might note that 7 senior majors is significantly above our average of 4 majors;  2 of these were double majors with studio art.  This in itself is an indication of the strength of our current program.]

 

In 2008-09 we focused on two aspects for assessment of the major experience:

 

1)    Students’ abilities to articulate and implement methodological approaches in art history (relates to objectives #1, 2, and 3).

Direct measure:  faculty review of senior major portfolio of papers.

Indirect measure: student responses to Senior Assessment Survey, questions 7 and 8.

 

Findings:

    The capstone survey draft responses from all 7 students demonstrated a lack of understanding of methodological approaches.  The students did find it helpful to read L.S. Adams’ Methodologies of Art, and their subsequent responses reflected this, but we felt that their comprehension and discussion of methods was still insufficient.

 

 

2)     Students’ abilities to identify and articulate skills they have gained as a result of their art history studies and experiences (does not relate to a current objective, but is something that we have perceived as a weakness in past Capstone assessment discussions with our majors).

        Indirect measure: student responses to Senior Assessment Survey, questions 2 and 3, and responses in Capstone discussion session.

 

Findings:

       Students were able to identify 9 different skills (total) in the Assessment Survey. The most-identified skills were improvement in writing skills; public speaking abilities; and analytical skills (of both visual and verbal media).  The Capstone discussion of skills yielded better results than previous years, probably because we gave the students the discussion questions ahead of time. Nevertheless, students needed some prompting and encouraging to more fully identify and articulate skills. Only 1 student took notes on this discussion;  we should more strongly encourage this in the future.

 

 

 

ASSESSMENT PLAN for Art History, 2009-10

 

 

I.      Gen Ed:

 We have regularly assessed student performance relative to discipline objectives in ArtH 1101, 1111, and 1121 for the past three years, and since we are not finding evidence that there is need for improvement in achieving those objectives, we will be scaling back this part of the discipline assessment.

Prof. Dabbs will again implement a pre-test/post-test in ArtH 1101 (fall semester) to gauge student comprehension and application of formal analysis vocabulary, since she has tested her intro courses less often than Professors Eisinger and Schryver;  she has also found it useful to do for students’ awareness of learning achievement.

 

II.    The Major

 

The evidence from last year’s assessment demonstrated a need to continue improving  student learning in these areas:

 

1)     Students’ abilities to articulate and implement methodological approaches in art history (relates to objectives #1, 2, and 3).

 

Direct measure: 

Š      Faculty will make an effort to talk more explicitly about art historical methods in our upper-level courses whenever pertinent, and assess student comprehension of methods by means of an exam question, or by asking students to address methodological approaches in a research paper or reading critiques.

 

Indirect measure: student responses to Senior Assessment Survey, questions 7 and 8.

 

       Other actions:  we will add one or two discussion sessions for students taking the Capstone Assessment in which we will review various methodological approaches.  We will continue to make use of L.S. Adams’ The Methodologies of Art  for the capstone, and require other readings that describe and/or illustrate the use of particular methodological approaches. 

 

 

2)     Students’ abilities to identify and articulate skills they have gained as a result of their art history studies and experiences.

 

Direct measure:  faculty will provide feedback on a draft of their advisee’s resume, and meet with each to discuss their art history experiences and possible future application of their skills.

 

Indirect measure: student responses to Senior Assessment Survey (questions 2 and 3), and Capstone discussion.

 

 

 

 


APPENDICES

 

ARTH 1111 (Schryver)

Fall 2008

 

The learning objectives are

 

1) to become familiar with important works of art

 

2) to develop the ability to analyze the formal properties of works of art

 

3) to develop an understanding of the relation of art to its social context.

 

 

Learning Objective

Exam #1

Exam #2

Exam #3

#1

85.8

76.4

71.1

#2

73.6

66.8

70.4

#3

73.0

74.5

75.7

 

Learning objective #1 (Exams 1, 2, and 3)

 

Six slide pairs were shown for identification.  Students were asked to identify the following:

                        the name(s) of the artist(s) if known;

                        the name of the work of art;

                        the date of the work of art

 

            Comments:  These results are as expected. After the assessment of this course from last year, I added an ID quiz before the first exam to help the students get into the habit of studying their IDs.  At the beginning of the semester, students are not always sure how to study for the ID portion of the exam.  The more and more we practice this on quizzes and in class, the better they get at it.  The percentage score on the next exams reflects the fact that the number of images they were responsible kept increasing each exam.  This is also reflected on the study guides I provided them, which listed a longer list of images from which I would draw the ID questions.

 

 

Learning objective #2 (Exams 1, 2, and 3)

 

Students were asked to analyze and articulate the significance of a work of art. 

 

            Comments:  Here too, I think that as the students become responsible for more and more images, each exam is more difficult for them.  However, the numbers may also simply reflect scores on the particular questions that I chose for this assessment exercise. In general, I found that the quality of their answers did increase over time.

 

Learning objective #3

 

Students were either asked to compare and contrast works of art from different socio-cultural contexts or to discuss the development of a particular media through various socio-cultural contexts.

 

            Comments: It appears that although students did improve their comparative abilities from Exam I to Exam III, even though they had a bit of trouble on Exam II.  We did more of these kind of questions together through in-class discussion this year and this seems to have really worked well for the students in terms of improving their abilities and confidence.  We will continue this the next time I teach this class.

 

Despite the low grades on the particular questions I chose to assess, a number of people did get A’s in every exam.  Also the SOTs for this class were very positive and so it seems that these numbers do not really tell the whole story.  I will continue to monitor student progress regarding these three learning objectives in this class. .  Interestingly, although there were circa 50 students in this class, they were very interested in class discussion.  I adjusted my teaching style accordingly once this became clear, and it seems to have helped them in their understanding of learning objective #2 and #3.  As we continued to assess our curriculum within the discipline, the issue of keeping our 1000-level classes at 50 students versus splitting them into two classes of 25 should be talked through in regards to these learning objectives and the set-up of the rest of our curriculum.

 

 

ARTH 1101 (Schryver)

Spring 2009

 

The learning objectives for this course are for the students:

 

1) to become familiar with important works of art

 

2) to develop the ability to analyze the formal properties of works of art

 

3) to develop an understanding of the relation of art to its social context.

 

 

Learning Objective

Exam #1

Exam #2

Exam #3

#1

76.3

90.9

97.1

#2

70.3

56.4

93.5

#3

77.9

81.9

71.4

 

Learning objective #1 (Exams 1,2,and 3)

 

Six slides were shown for identification.  Students were asked to identify the following:

                        the name(s) of the artist(s) if known;

                        the name of the work of art;

 

            Comments:  These results are as expected. Students are not always sure during the preparation for the first exam how to study for the ID portion of the exam.  The more and more we practice this on quizzes and in class, the better they get at it.  The percentage score on the final exam is extremely high and most likely has to do with the students making serious use of the study guide I provided them, which listed a longer list of images from which I would draw the ID questions.

 

            Results of assessment:  I will develop and administer an ID quiz before the first exam that will allow the students to practice this sort of question so they can figure out effective study techniques earlier in the semester.

 

Learning objective #2 (Exams 1, 2, and 3)

 

            Students were shown an image of a work of art and asked to analyze its formal properties. 

 

            Comments:  There was not so much to ask them about on the first exam since we had not really covered the visual elements and the principles of design yet, so the question on Exam I was not as complex or difficult as that on Exam II.  The grades reflex this difference I believe, although the drop is a bit alarming.  However, we continued to practice the skills of formal analysis after Exam II and the results can be seen in the improved scores earned on Exam III.

 

            Results of assessment:  I will develop and administer a quiz before the second exam that will allow the students to practice this sort of question before they see it on an exam.  We will also go over the quiz in class after I have graded it so that they can gain a better understanding of what it is I am looking for in an answer.

 

 

Learning objective #3

 

Students were either asked to compare and contrast works of art from different socio-cultural contexts or to discuss the development of a particular media through various socio-cultural contexts.

 

            Comments: It appears that although students did improve their comparative abilities from Exam I to Exam II, they had trouble with tracing the development of a medium through time (the focus of this question on Exam III). 

 

            Results of Assessment:  I will attempt to work more examples of this kind of analysis into the class the next time I teach it.

 

This was the best version of ArtH 1101 that I have taught yet.  The students not only came, but they paid attention. Their ups and downs on the questions for which I collected data only demonstrate the incredible complexity of teaching a rich and varied set of ideas to 51 students at once. As always, I think about what they seemed to have understood and what they didn’t and how to explain things next time in ways that will make the ideas accessible and head off common misunderstandings.  Interestingly, although class discussion seems to have helped them in their understanding of learning objective #2, my personal evaluation forms indicated that the students in this class were not interested in class discussion.   This particular group just wanted me to lecture apparently.  As we continued to assess our curriculum within the discipline, the issue of keeping our 1000-level classes at 50 students versus splitting them into two classes of 25 should be talked through in regards to these learning objectives and the set-up of the rest of our curriculum.

 

 

 


Art History Senior Assessment Survey

 

Draft due Thurs. Mar. 12, 2009

Final version due Thurs. Apr. 16, 2009

 

Please respond to each of the following questions.

 

1)    What opportunities did you have for direct contact with works of art as part of your art history coursework or extracurricular activities (including study abroad)? 

           

2)  What skills have you gained or improved specifically as a result of your art history studies/coursework?

 

3)                                How might you apply these skills in the future, whether in further education, employment, or your personal life? [You might find it helpful to consult C. Maranci, A Survival Guide for Art History Students, Prentice-Hall, 2005, esp. the chapter “What Do You Do With a Degree in Art History?,” on reserve]

 

4)    How have you used your art historical skills outside of regular coursework (for example, as a tutor, T.A., a MAP or MSAF, UROP, internship, URS presentation, volunteer, etc.)?

 

5)                               Were there skills or experiences that you wish you had gained, but did not? 

 

6)                               Was there an area or chronological period of art history that you wish you had been able to study here at UMM?

 

7)                                What methodological approaches have you been exposed to in your art history coursework?  (You do not need to indicate which course or professor.) [If you are uncertain about this, take a look at Laurie Adams’ The Methodologies of Art, Westview Press, 1996, on reserve.]

 

8)  Which methodological approach(es) did you find most interesting and why?  In your response, mention a specific example of something studied in a course or a reading that you found especially illuminating.

 


 

Assessment Paper

 

Draft due: March 26, 2009

Final paper due:  April 16, 2009

 

This paper is to give you an opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize your experience as an art history major at UMM as well as to give us feedback on the program of study. Simply craft a thoughtful, three- to five-page (double-spaced) narrative essay in which you address the questions below (or anything else relevant to the major):

 

-     Why did you become an art history major?  At what point in your college career (or earlier) did you make this decision?

 

      -     What is your main area(s) of interest in art history, and why?

 

-     What art history electives did you take, and why?

 

-     Did your classes in the major create a coherent picture of a portion of art history?

 

-     How did your art history classes relate to courses you took in other disciplines?

 

-     How did your studio art experience impact your understanding of art history?

 

-     Discuss some of the paper assignments (or other projects) you undertook and what you learned from those experiences.  Do you feel your written work has progressed or matured?  Which of your papers do you feel is your best work, and why?  Similarly, which of your class presentations do you feel was your strongest effort?  What helped you to improve (or would you have liked more feedback)?

 

-     Have you shared your knowledge of art history with others, whether formally or informally? (explain)

 

 

[*Note:  please email your draft paper to your art history advisor;  email the final version to all of us (dabbsj@morris... eisingj@morris... and schryver@morris...)

 

 

Discussion Questions for Art History Capstone (2009)

 

 

1)             How would you describe the field of art history to someone who had never had an art history course, and was curious about what you studied?

 

 

2)             If a politician were arguing that we could cut the budget of the university because we don’t need to teach impractical subjects like art history, how would you respond?

 

 

3)             If you were applying for a job that is not directly related to art history, how would you characterize your skills, drawing on your experience as an art history major?

 

 

4)             How did you feel about the writing demands in our discipline – were they too heavy, or too light?  Did you get sufficient feedback on your writing?

 

 

5)             Do you think we should have an expanded senior seminar (rather than the 1 credit assessment course), that would include more discussion of art history methodologies?   Or what might we do to enhance the comprehension of methodologies by our majors?

 

 

6)             What might the discipline do to further a sense of community or camaraderie among students who are majoring or minoring in art history?

 

 

7)             Is there anything about the art history program that you would like

to bring up?

 

 

 

8)       Do you have any questions for us?