Art History Discipline Assessment 2006-2007


Scope of assessment activities

         ___√__Course-embedded assessment

                     ___√___ Pre- and post-testing

         ______ Outside the classroom

         ______ Across the discipline

Direct measures of student learning

         ___√__ Capstone experience

         ______ Portfolio assessment

         ______ Standardized tests

         ______ Performance on national licensure, certification or

                     preprofessional exams

         ______ Qualitative internal and external juried review of

                     of comprehensive senior projects

         ______ Externally reviewed exhibitions and performances in

                     the arts

         ______ External evaluation of performance during internships


Discussion and Description

Discipline goals, direct measures, and improved student learning


         1. Art History discipline goals. The purposes of the art history curriculum are to

Š      develop students’ understanding of some of the historical traditions in the visual arts

Š      teach students methods of analysis and interpretation of works of art

Š      help students discover the rich and complex relationship of art to other aspects of culture.


         2. Course-embedded assessment. Pre-test/post-test.

         Principles of Art and Renaissance to Modern Art. Both are required for the art history major and are also taken by non-majors for general education credits. Principles is the first course in the major. Neither has prerequisites. Both have the same learning objectives, which reflect the discipline learning goals:

Š      to become familiar with important works of art

Š      to develop the ability to analyze the formal properties of works of art

Š      to develop an understanding of the relationship of art to its social context.

Student learning was tracked with three exams in Principles and four in Renaissance. The two courses together provided six opportunities for measuring improved learning of the course objectives in moving from one exam to the next. In moving from the first to the second exam, improvement was detected in five of the six objectives, and in three instances the improvment was quite dramatic. In Principles, the instructor attributed the improved learning to “an increasing focus on stressing these data in the classroom” and on implementing a study guide. In Renaissance, students achieved high marks on the first exam on two of the objectives. The instructor notes that the relatively poor performance on the third objective seemed due to a confusion of material, which was cleared up in subsequent class meetings, as revealed by a strong performance on the second exam. Generally students possessed correct information and any weakness in their written work was due to lack of precision or thoroughness. He concludes his report with the happy observation, “This was the best 1000 level class I have ever taught.”[1]


General education categories spanned by the discipline


            Art History courses all bear the FA, fine arts, general education designator with the exception of directed study, Italian Renaissance and Baroque Art in Context, and the Capstone Assessment of Student Experience in Art History, which bear none.



[1] All quotes are from the art history assessment report in the appendices, which also contains all of the numerical data collected as well as the instructors’ observations and interpretations.