Performance Assessment

The following table shows performance assessment formats appropriate for documenting student achievement of the Fine Arts TEKS. The first column is for grades K-6, while the formats in both columns are options for grades 7-12. Multiple assessments provide more complete information on student achievement than any one assessment alone.

Performance Assessment Formats for Grades K-12:

  • Observation
  • Inquiry
  • Class discussion/group critique
  • Interview
  • Portfolio
  • Demonstration
  • Journals/logs
  • Self-assessment
  • Checklist/rating form
  • Projects
  • Oral critique
  • Written critique

Additional Performance Assessment Formats for Grades 7-12:

  • Oral test
  • Written test
  • Oral research report
  • Written research report
  • Critique by experts
  • Products

Teachers should align their assessment practices with the following principles:

  • Assessment provides information on various aspects of how students create fine arts projects.
  • Continual monitoring of student progress provides formative evaluations so that students learn self-assessment and how to explain their thought processes.
  • Teachers assess students only on content or skills that they have had an opportunity to learn.
  • Criteria for satisfactory performance are made explicit before students begin a new task, and students themselves often participate in generating the criteria.
  • The teacher clearly communicates student achievement to students, parents, and other professionals.
  • Targeted feedback (more than non-specific praise) results in improved processes and products.
  • Evaluation does not rely on the grading of the final product; it also includes student self-evaluation.
  • Fine arts teachers provide descriptive evaluation to supplement rigid numerical or alphabetical grading systems. They do not record grades directly on student products.


A rubric is a tool that helps teachers implement effective assessment of the Fine Arts TEKS. Rubrics communicate a clear continuum of performance levels and help students learn to critique their knowledge and skills and to assess their growth. Though rubrics can take many forms, they are often shown in a table.

The first step in developing a rubric is to determine the critical dimensions of the performance or project. As shown below, these dimensions are placed in the far left-hand column of a table. Next, decide on the appropriate number of performance levels. This number determines the total number of remaining columns in the table.

Now provide the criteria for each performance level. This is easiest if a sample of products is available. Group samples by level of knowledge and skill demonstrated and describe common characteristics of each level. In the absence of samples, teachers make their best predictions. Involving students in this process can create a great deal of buy-in on the part of learners. Students can provide descriptions of successful and unsuccessful projects. After using a rubric, make any adjustments for future use. Teachers should also retain sample products that illustrate desirable demonstrations of knowledge and skill. Using multiple samples of strong performances shows learners that there are multiple ways to demonstrate high standards.

Some characteristics of effective scoring rubrics include:

  • A scale based on criteria that reflect the knowledge and skills assessed
  • Specific information about learning that helps the teacher make instructional decisions and communicates to students what they have learned and what they still need to learn
  • Clear and easy to understand descriptors
  • Ease of use
  • Examples of student products
  • Reliable scores (i.e., ratings of various scorers are fairly consistent).

Teachers who have not used a rubric before will experience a learning curve. The development and use of rubrics will become more efficient and effective over time. Here are some cautions for first-time users:

  • Don’t expect to get the rubric exactly right the first time. Like all assessment tools, a rubric must be tested and adjusted based on use.
  • The rubric is not a checklist. The rubric is a guide for analyzing the total project.
  • A student project may not fall neatly into one level. It may have characteristics of more than one level of performance. In this model of scoring, the score assigned should be the one that most closely resembles the performance or project.