International Journal of Art & Design Education

Reflections on Art Assessment Practices

Volume 9.3   1990



Ronald MacGregor's reflects on assessment practices in Holland, Canada and Britain. He notes that Canadian teachers enjoy the sort of curricular autonomy seen in Britain in the 70s and 80s, and that this is the case also in Holland where agreement on a national framework would be difficult because of the great diversity of political interests. But his main theme is that the real unifying force in art education is not in imposed patterns of teaching but the activity of assessment, because it is in the service of this responsibility that teachers discount their differences of age, experience, social background, individual taste, and so forth, and combine their perceptions to form a consensus. In one of its dimensions this activity seeks to establish a proper valuation of the individual student's efforts; in another dimension it is the professional conduct of assessment that ultimately determines a school's creative ethos﷓to use Ronald MacGregor's term, its `collegiality'. Proper assessment accommodates diversity and encourages multiform cultures within institutions; communities of such institutions sustain a multiculture in society at large. This view presents assessment and evaluation in a rare and convincing light.